Between the Sun and the Shadows – Reflections on IFMSA and the Medical Profession
The feeling of a Mexican GA (see previous posts) was that of amiable yet chaotic manoeuvers, a route with unforeseen pitfalls and obvious breakdowns, a constant attempt to maintain a stable posture, or save a sinking ship. Yet, one still carries on this task of « disaster management », as I have called it, with good will and composure, distracted it seems by the playful streets of Puebla, the flowery scents of summer, and yes, tacos.
Now I indulge in post-Mexican GA feelings. The Puebla days are over, and I stand here, by a window, reflecting on how this experience changed me: for better or for worse ?
While the previous IFMSA Meeting had given me unprecedented drive and passion to pursue my investment with the Federation, and push my implication as far as possible, the current AM left me mostly humbled. Contemplating the zeal and discipline, and the terrifying amount of institutional knowledge the administration of the Federation requires, from making sense of plenary procedures to framing delicate political and international situations of the national members, I realize how different yet wildly enriching the journey with IFMSA extends. Compared to the story laid out from the pages of medical student texbooks and faculty curricula, it feels one is stepping out of his « good doctor » study room, and into the blinding sun. As my eyes habituate, the world appears vastly different; and so, coincidentally, are the yearnings and responsabilities of my profession. Discussions on social privileges and stigmas, collapsing economies and solidarity funds, health advocacy and reversing a status quo, reveal a wholly new picture of health and wellbeing, ethics and care; and as our eyes adjust to the light, the dim glow of the medical library feels removed from the warm and radiant zest of life, much like words transfigure the reality they portrait.
The journey amongst the IFMSA is daunting still, yet it offers such a rich picture of physicianship, and of the doctor’s responsibilities towards society, that I find myself quietly melancholic. I mull over the thought that very soon, I will need to return to the study room, and away from the sun, as my 2nd med school year awaits. However, with my position as Vice-President to External Affairs, I believe I will have ample opportunity, as my mandate so impels, to tilt my head away from the dry textbooks and manuals of pathophysiology, and gaze intently through the window, and confidently into the sun.
Until next time,