Once you get into college you hear a lot of stories about roommates. Some are awesome cooks, like a clean apartment, are aware of exactly how loud they can turn up the music without bugging anybody and know how to pick their hairs out of the shower. Other stories include them running around the house naked, leaving the kitchen in a state one could only describe as A-bomb, helping themselves to your Nutella (or worse: stabbing the tin foil before you get a chance to do it – that’s the best part!) or removing all furniture from the apartment and storing it at the neighbor’s place to make room for a party. Thank God I really lucked out with my roomie, although I must say that it did take me a while to get used to living with a medical student. Here’s why.
Everything is white. Walls, furniture, kitchen table, plates, bowls, casserole dishes, lamps – I mean everything. Why white? “It looks to sterile!” Guess it makes sense that if you’re going to spend most of your life in the sterile environment of a hospital, lab or doctor’s office you would want to preserve that feeling of cleanliness at home, too, right? Wrong! It doesn’t make sense at all because white shows every single grain of dust! I come from a home with wooden furniture only and now since my new room is equipped with white Ikea furniture I have never seen so much dirt around the house in my entire life. And suddenly I’m actually required to dust! What the hell is that all about?!
One of the most interesting topics to any medical person is poop. This can be expressed through descriptions of the exact fecal textures one encountered during the patient care internship, but also in offhand questions such as “So, how was your poop today? Are those iron capsules working?”. Statements like that are preferably given during meal times, so if you’re blessed (or cursed) with a very vivid imagination like I am: Good luck keeping that food in your gullet. Same thing goes for urine, too, by the way. Did you know that pee could actually foam?!
3. Lab coats
The white (!) lab coat is essential to a medical student’s closet. Surely you have had to give style advice to your siblings, friends or of course roommates before, right? Instead of the usual “Do I look fat in this?” question, medical students have a whole different set of worries concerning their outfits. “Are your sure I shouldn’t iron it again?” “OH my God, look at that STAIN!” “Doesn’t the other coat look better on me?” Patience and understanding is required here, because all hail the lab coat! It grants authority and knowledge and is in general just the most important accessory of a medical student, no matter if they’re examining bacterial cultures in a lab or disemboweling old lacerated corpses.
Many medical students are cursed with too much knowledge about too many ailments. I blame a head ache on the weather or my lectures and just wait until it’s gone. My roommate on the other hand will pop one hundred pills and if they don’t work that has GOT to be a brain tumor! The symptoms match exactly and OH MY GOD didn’t we just talk about that in our seminar?? Sometimes it’s just better not to know what you could be dying of.
So, how many chemical structures could you sketch just from off the top of your head? I’m actually really good at that. At least I should be, since my roomie has been explaining the most complicated stuff to me, mostly just to see if she understood it herself. I’ll stick to the thesis that humanists lost the part of the brain required to comprehend that sort of thing sometime during evolution. Ask me to explain the different parts of a medieval document written by the papal office? No problem. Want me to draw the structural formula of … hydrogen carbonate? (Does that even exist?!) Forget it.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely the views of the author and surely do not apply to all medical students on the planet. Also they are not to be seen as offensive or insulting. The author assures that she is well aware of the many pros of having a medical student as a roomie and confesses that all points shown above have mostly led to a hell of a lot of amusement.
And to my dear roomie, in case you’re reading this: I couldn’t imagine anyone better to share the roof over our heads and the fridge with, than you. Don’t ever change your original and always witty self!