We all enter medical school bringing with us a bag full of hope, a heart full of fire, and a clear picture of the kind of medical student we will be. From the application process to our eventual acceptance in our desired institutions, we look forward to a breezy schooling with the warning of medical school being like “catching a deluge in a paper cup” far behind our minds or if not far behind, certainly not as affecting as it is when we are finally actually in the process of catching the deluge in our meager paper cups.
I’ve been in medical school for a year now and the number of fires put out I’ve seen exam after exam, failure after failure, backlogs after backlogs remind me of the reality that medical school, aside from the amount of study material we struggle to understand and the requirements and obligations we juggle to meet, is a battle we engage in everyday, the prize being ‘happiness’ in the form of two letters attached beside our names: M.D. In this battle, some students have it all together and walk around school day to day with their heads filled to the brim with knowledge absorbed from the previous night ready to spill information to anyone who asks. While some barely manage to get out of bed and convince themselves to go on.
We always hear about the hardworking students that work their butts off to get what they want, to “achieve the dream” as most people would say it, but we don’t talk about the beaten and tired souls that fight their demons all the while fighting the battle that is medical school. Yes, we are here. We are the ones who strive and press on not for own dreams but for other people’s – our greatest fear being disappointing the people that matter most to us. We are the obedient children and the driven students that, having already come thus far and investing so much, dare not abandon the dream. We struggle day by day to find the motivation to go on and hope that every organ or body system or disease tackled would change the way medicine would mean to us because if not for the expectations set upon us, we would have easily jumped ship.
Perhaps we were not cut out to be doctors. But here we are and we are struggling. Searching. Fighting. Sometimes, winning. Other times, losing. Because the reality is, there is no single solution to the dilemma of satisfaction. Happy in medical school is not a be-all-end-all. Happy is the journey that leads us to meaning and eventually to the creation of our definition of success. And we take it. every. single. day. Even when we are tired. Even when we would rather leave.
And maybe, just maybe, we’d eventually realize that we are where we’re supposed to be.