Experience by itself does not necessarily promote learning. But experience can provide the “raw material for learning”. Community exposure is an important activity every medical student of Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine should embrace as we grow up in our medical calling. Doing community exposure, a medical student will be able to find oneself and will be expose to the lifestyles of other people with different culture and variation which tends to make us more aware of the needs of the less fortunate. Accordingly, people inhibit different parts of the world and lead different types of lives. Their lifestyles change across the various regions on Earth and so do their mentalities. The resources available in their regions, the plant and animal life that are native to their area have a direct impact of their way of living. People all over the world have been divided into two distinct groups by this marked line of difference between an urban and a rural life. The questions imposed in our minds before we left in our city life were “How are we going to survive for 30 days?”, “How can we adapt to these changes?” and “Will it bring an impact to our lives?”
Prior to going to our assigned communities, our emotions fluctuated between excitement and curiosity, to uncertainty, fear, apprehension and trepidation. “I was excited, but also pretty overwhelmed,” said one. Another described the experience as “a rollercoaster of emotions”. This plethora of emotions was fuelled by fear of the unfamiliar, our own concerns about community health care outside of academic institutions, and feedback from past students. Uppermost in our minds was the feeling of uncertainty about what was expected from us as freshmen medical students.
It was early afternoon when we arrived in the site. I was very excited as I stepped down the bus with all the things needed for the exposure. I saw the welcoming faces of the elders and the heart-warming smiles of the children as we approached. Their expressions seemed to be welcoming a long-time member of a community who just came back, but the truth is it was our first time there. The experience was very heart-warming and an unforgettable one. With this exposure that I joined for the first time, I fully understand why it was called a “community exposure”. It was to throw and absorb ourselves into the situation of others. Because of this, I was exposed to the other possible lives other than the ones I know. Before they were just discussed in our lectures, but now I could somehow envision them. I have witnessed them through all my senses.
After the exposure, I realized that I am far too lucky to have a family like mine and to have the things I need and I want. The lifestyle there was very simple; having food on the table to eat was enough. I realized that I should be thankful of what I have instead of being fretful and unsatisfied. I was lucky that I could go to the best school and develop my skills up to the best of my abilities because there are teenagers like who wanted to do so but they are hindered by their situation. I also realized that these chances that I have should not be taken for granted, I should strive and work so that the efforts of my parents would not be wasted at all. Most of all, I realized that happiness does not count on material things alone, it is the time you spent and share with the one you love and with God. Even if I realize all these things, it would be wasted if I will not apply it in my life. These things are futile if it will not be applied and work for. When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. Happiness is not really on material things but it is more on love and support from people especially from the family. Simply having a complete family can be the greatest happiness that we can achieve. Being contented is better than being rich, simply because contentment means happiness and rich means more material things.
Lourdes Ursula O. De Villa
Visit her page: https://www.facebook.com/lourdesursula.devilla