Earlier today, two of our seniors presented about St. Luke’s Story of Curriculum Change as part of APMC’s movements. It’s so timely to be talking about change especially in the situation where, as a third year student, I am forced to gamble my time between doing papers all week and reading transes to pass my exams (which by the way have greater weight in my GWA).

I am probably complaining about the system I am in right now. Simply because I am tired. I am tired and I can no longer understand the lectures of my professors and even the transes I am trying to study. I lack sleep. I suffer for GERD and gastritis from all the coffee I drink everyday just to keep myself awake and functional.

And every time we rant about how difficult med life is we always get the response “Ganyan talaga ang sistema. Kailangan niyong pag daanan yan. Kinaya nila, kakayanin niyo rin. (The system has always been like that. You have to go through it. They survived it, you will, too.)”

And the very timely discussion about curriculum change ignited my inner desire for change once again. Partly because I don’t see it as effective and partly too because there is always a better way.

The better way is to change the curriculum entirely. The presentations of our two seniors are what we need to focus on and aim for as the new and incoming agents of change. We even put “agents of change” in 2019’s batch pledge because I believe it is possible and the next best thing to do – initiate radical change.

And this radical change is by all means the presentation earlier: the flipped classroom, the independent learners who only meet their peers and professors two to three times a week to discuss important topics and clarify confusions, the learners who engage in active and healthy discourse and not simply sit in their chairs from 8 am to 5 pm listening or simply existing in the classroom, the learners who apply the theories in the textbooks in real life or simulated scenarios.

The most pressing question at this point in time is this: Can we actually stir and disturb the ongoing school year? Can we actually change the curriculum that the administration has worked decades for? The answer is of course no. We simply cannot risk changing everything all at once now that we see it effective as reflected in the most recent PLE results.

But you see we should never just stop there. What is effective 10 years ago may not be the case now. What is effective right now may not be the best case scenario five years from now. The fast-paced reality that we live in i.e. technological advancements, research here and there, updated guidelines and such, make everything that we worked for in the past irrelevant. And we have to accept the fact that the millennial doctor has to be flexible and open to change.

Therefore, I implore you, my fellow Lukans, be the agents of change. Do what little things you can today and watch out for the cumulative effects it will create in the years to come. You do not have to be a total scholar to initiate change. You don’t have to be the class top notcher or the class leaders to create change. You just have to believe that you will be, one day, part of the work force who will influence the next generation of doctors.

Too tired of doing papers? Do your best anyway. Failing your exams? Study some more and ask for help in concepts you do not understand. Do your best anyway. Can’t understand the lectures? Ask your professor to repeat the concepts or ask for examples. Do your best anyway. My point is, be the best you can today. Aim for a 75, a passing mark, and this will be your ticket to the medical profession. It’s not about getting high grades. It’s about passing your exams and making sure you understood how it is to save a life.

Moreover, it’s about being the future physicians who do not only worry about how to get high grades, but how to work for the betterment of medical education. It always starts with day 1, with the very first moment that a medical student sets foot in a medical school to become a doctor.

Your whole life as a medical doctor will be influenced greatly by the environment in your school, the academic curriculum and the values that the people around uphold. So, uphold the value of openness to change, the value of not being afraid to go “radical” in pursuit of knowledge.