What it comes down to

I didn’t work hard enough to get into medical school in order to realise how much I would have had to struggle if this all hadn’t worked out. I’ve written on this before, and it’s something that continues to haunt me. People work their whole lives to get into medicine, they go and make a bunch of mistakes, then they go and recover from them, then they apply and reapply and reapply. I know people who have made medicine their goal and have talked about incessantly since the first year of undergrad. I know people who have gone overseas and studied in the Caribbean knowing that they’d have to work that much harder to come back. I know people who have put everything on the line, including holding off on marriage, saving money, deferring other life goals just for the hope that one day their medicine dream will become reality.

I didn’t work hard enough to appreciate what I have now. It’s going to sound braggy but it’s actually the very opposite for me: I barely worked at all. I had decent enough grades that I kept just to “keep my options open,” I participated in a bunch of extracurriculars only because I liked doing so, I never gave serious though to medicine until my last year, basically until the application deadline. I wrote the MCAT once only because my mom convinced me to “see what happens.” I studied for the MCAT during a year of doing research from home where I had all the time in the world anyway. I don’t feel like I did anything extra at all to get into med.

That’s why in my two years of preclinical work, I barely absorbed anything from it. I didn’t take anything seriously and nothing felt like it would make an impact in my future. I was a dumb, ungrateful, immature kid with the mindset of a fratboy who got into the college of his choice on his daddy’s money.

Flash forward to now, 6 months from the LMCC, 8 months from being a resident, I’m still an amotivated POS. Two weeks ago I came home from an amazing elective convincing me how important I could be to the world, how my medical foundation could contribute to a unique psychiatry practice and help build a budding new discipline from scratch. I interrupted soaking all that in by focusing on a guy, just a guy, one who won’t be part of my future, one who I considered changing my entire career plans for, one who couldn’t care less about me anymore. I did feel like that elective and that preceptor made a huge impact on me, and I felt lasting effects of that for a few days… but then I came home and had a sister talking about how much a great career can’t give you happiness forever and that she wishes she had given more importance to marriage earlier… I came back to parents who were shocked and appalled at the idea that I might choose a residency away from them by choice, rather than necessity… I came back to a best friend who insisted that nothing was more important than staying close to home and friends… and here I am on a day I took off work to get through tons of CaRMS only to struggle with the motivation to become a half-decent physician.

I wish I had had to work just a little bit harder so I could appreciate the enormous, gigantic, generous blessing that this is. Or, I wish I could practice gratitude fully and sufficiently enough to appreciate this blessing, even in retrospect. At this point, I need to work on myself, my own character, and my bad attitude before even thinking about anyone else.

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