November 15, 2021 360 dvomi

A two-piece advice – Dean´s editorial

Facultas nostra 2021, 10 (October)

Not long ago I have received a visit from my colleague from Prague. His daughter had recently fulfilled her childhood dream. She was accepted into our faculty´s general medicine program. A well educated girl, she was a straight A student in high school. She was in the top third of our acceptees – she didn´t fulfill the requirements for admission without entrance exam due to her high schools focus on the humanities. The colleague wanted to know what advice I could give her to start her studies on the right note. I pondered the question. I asked myself, 'What could I say that wouldn’t be either too cryptic or too silly? After an oh-too-long period of awkward silence I started to remember how I had started my first year of medicine. My first lecture ever was anatomy with professor Kos. The professor came in dressed in a peculiar lab coat - his one had a mandarin collar. The first thing he told us was, that anatomy was an incredibly large field of study. So large, in fact, that none of us had any idea how large it actually was. Just the knowledge of Latin nomenclature would take up as much space in our overwhelmed heads as learning a brand new foreign language would. Professor Kos also gave us two pieces of advice. Firstly, if we came from out of town, to not return home too often. He knew that the moment we returned back into our cozy homes, we would be surrounded by our caring mothers and proud fathers and that we wouldn’t learn a thing during the weekend respite. Secondly, he told us not to give up on our hobbies. We were told that keeping occupied with things other than just one´s studies makes for a full, harmonious personality. He then spoke about examples of eminent physicians, mostly professors of our alma mater, who excelled in activities other than medicine. I recall professor Josef Thomayer, an influential internist and a writer, who had the respect of such wordsmiths as Jan Neruda or Alois Jirásek. Also professor Ivan Lesný, who was the son of one of our leading indologists, professor Vincenc Lesný. Ivan Lesný specialized in children´s neurology, but he too was an acclaimed writer. Many more examples followed, but I can´t remember any of them. At the time I was too shaken up, pondering what fellowship I was getting into. So, looking at my guests, I was thinking about some advice for them. I recommended keeping a regular schedule, eating well and getting vaccinated against covid. I saw a question in the eyes of the young lady. Could I really not tell her something she didn’t know already and was supposed to know? Also, if not, why did she even waste her time with me in the first place? I came to the conclusion that one should be careful when giving advice. Every generation, young medics including, has to create their own personal experience in their lives. They have to do that on their own. There really is no good way to pass on the things we have learned. They have to be lived to really teach the lesson. I felt I had to give the young lady at least some useful advice. I felt the need to give her some advice. Not only to ease the pains of struggling through the first year, but also to feel like I actually gave her some useful advice. I told her to not spend the weekends at home too often and to not let go of her hobbies.

Jindřich Fínek

translation: LFP

 

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