So yesterday I went to go see my director of my former internship program at the hospital where I interned for during neurosurgery and developmental pediatrics. As I entered I got this feeling. To start with before entering I was nervous, why..I am not quite sure but I was. As soon as I entered I got this feeling, I don’t know what feeling , sadness or nostalgia maybe? Or happiness from coming back soon to the place where my medical career started? I had no idea all I knew was that I was alive. I went to the first floor where the operating rooms were and the college of medicine, I entered the college of medicine and nothing felt the same, I saw students, undergrads that I knew come in and out in and out. I saw them and they looked so fixated on their books, with coffee next to them, kids passed by the speak to them and all they said was, “No man I am studying” then it hit me. I don’t want to be like that, I am not like that.
Now, many of you know I am studying for my MCAT I know the rigor of medical school, I am living the rigor of applying to med school right now, so I knew that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore, it was that I didn’t want to be obsessed with getting into med school. Now before any ideas jump, my goal is to be a doctor a surgeon, a neurosurgeon but I want to do more than study, more than put a checkmark next to my AAMC app saying I did summer research program. That is exacty what happens. Students start off with this goal, this passion. Next comes seeing what they need to complete this goal. Well as we know for med school we need a handful if not 2 handful of things. Research, shadowing, volunteering, good grades, good mcat score, extracurricular activites and the list goes on. We start off with this love this passion for it. I recall my first day in surgery man…I will never forget that day. I had never felt such beauty, such art in front of me. The thought that we were removing a part of the brain to fix it was just awe stricking to me. After surgery I had so many questions for my mentor. How does this work, how can I see that in an MRI, what will the patient feel, why isn’t there any mental deficits. Man questions were running around like never before, it felt amazing! That was my first day. After a year, it was different. I had 7 classes, 6 science, 1 externship, family from long distance, research, surgery, patients. The last times I was going to surgery it became like a chore. Okay patient is fine, lets move on to the next thing. My curiosity had shriveled. And it wasn’t that I didn’t love medicine, I did and do. It was that I had so much to do, so much check marks to check that I just wanted to get things done, having time for questions was out of the picture now.
In march I went home for spring break. I was in the car with my mom, she was taking me to starbucks so I could stay there and study while she went to the store and there it hit me. I started crying like a 2 year old. “Mom I can’t mom I can’t, I miss you guys, I am tired, I am breaking, I haven’t done that well in my classes. Mom I don’t know what to do.” I remember like if it was yesterday. I decided that same day that I was going to come home with my family, still study at my university but, at home and change my major and extend my graduation date, instead of graduating the following year, graduate the year after that. And so I did that. My advisor also told me not to do any clinicals or surgery time for the whole year. I did just that. Some days were hard it felt like withdrawal, I wanted to go back to bad, I cried some days because I felt like I was doing the wrong thing, like I had failed or regressed but I kept forward. Now about 6 months later I realized I made one of the best decisions I could have made. I learned of who I was. I had no idea what I liked besides medicine and the common things like music, food and so forth. Now I do. And most of all, I didn’t realize the errors I was doing. I was moving at such a fast pace, trying to check everything that I didn’t reflect. I cried but forgot the next day why I cried. Schools emphasize you need this, that, and don’t forget this, you need ot check mark this.
I got C’s in Ochem. That was one way I realized that I needed to change things. I also realized that being in surgery wasn’t as relaxing or beautiful as when I started so that fear set in. These things happened to me, but some people that are naturally science smart (because I am not lol) can get A’s regardless and not stop to reflect. But eventually there comes a time where you realize you are tired, you don’t want to be on call, you do bad in med school and can come all the way to suicide…Look at the doctors, we have so many that are burned out, that don’t want to see patients or they do but they have lost their passion for it, so they don’t treat them well. I believe everyone who enters medicine starts with a passion for medicine because we all know we have to give our life to this career, but with time it wears off if we don’t sit back, and enjoy the ride.
We feel strain and pressure, and sometimes it makes me question if they prepare us well, and my answer is no. Yes we need this that and this but we need to remember that we can never loose the love for it, and overworking is just not a way to do it. Remember those arent just checkmarks, those are things that will make YOU a better doctor. So, don’t just get those check marks, take your time, enjoy what you do, ask questions, don’t loose your curiosity because medicine isn’t just a career it is an art, a beautiful one where you can do anything, but you can’t do anything if you loose the love and curiosity for it. Sit back, reflect, think, ask questions, and love what you do ALWAYS. The day those things start to dim down, take a step back.
Marvalous Premed 007