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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On being a doctor...


I was asked to speak at my old high school to the "Pre Med Group."  I accepted (with excitement!!).  I was asked to talk about "my path" to being a doctor.  Ok, that is broad.  And then the planning began.

Should I talk about how I (apparently) always knew I wanted to be a doctor since I put this on my SAT?  Should I talk about the time when I got a 37% (yes, 37) on my organic chemistry test and saw my dreams washing away?  Should I talk about all of the tears I shed about every test, every grade, not thinking it would be enough? Should I talk about all of the times I left my [then] boyfriend at my apartment, alone, in the middle of the suburbs of Illinois so I could spend the ENTIRE day at the library?  Should I share the details of how I decided which field of medicine was right for me?  Should I tell them about missing countless events because I was on call?  About the debt? (well...I did mention this one...briefly)

No, I should not tell them about this.  No one wants see a sausage being made.  They just want to know about the end product.  Unless maybe you are going to be the sausage.  Then, you may want to know the gory details of what you are signing up for.

Instead, I told them the sunny side of what I do.  That I work 3 days a week as a part time doctor and full time mom.  That I go to work, I am fairly compensated, and go home without much stress.  That I am a better mom because of what I do.  That I affect peoples lives.  That I can help people make changes that keep them healthy. That I can counsel new mommies on how to feed their babies, the best way to help them sleep and that it is ok to break the rules every once in a while.  That people will listen because of the fabulous education and hark work that I, yes I, made happen.

And they sat there.  They (mostly) listened.  They had blank stares.  They don't know what they are getting in to.  And they don't know what they want.  And that blissful ignorance is ok, in fact, it is age appropriate.

In reflecting on the day, I decided that I wish I had a time machine.  They did not have a pre-med club when I was in high school.  But if they did, I surely would have been there.  I looked out trying to find a girl like me in the audience.  I would reach out and tell that girl to take a good look.  Look at yourself.  And stop worrying.  You are smart enough to do this.  You are determined.  That despite all the tears, insecurities and questions, you will persevere.  You will find out who you are. You will have a amazing group of old friends who will support you. You will be loved by an amazing man.  You will have a family to be proud of.   You will be proud of yourself.  And you will continue to have struggles, and tears and angst.  Tons of angst.  Because that is who you are and you would not have gotten here without it.

I would beg her to listen.  But she would not.  Because she is me.

 

 

 

22 comments:

mfenton said...

You made your mother cry remembering all the things that led up to your goal, a goal that you never veered from. How wonderful to feel that comfortable that you were making the right choice for your life.

Anonymous said...

testing comments

Anonymous said...

wow, well I have just finished school in England, and have just like you, wanted to be a doctor for ages. Lol its kinda funny hearing about what I have been going through from someone else, although I had less confidence and applied for chemistry. I have recently decided to instead have a gap year and re apply to Medicine, and had all the same worries rushing back to me. I am so happy I have stumbled across this page and really appreciate what you have said. I am so happy things worked out so well for you, from the sounds of it you deserved it to.
Best wishes
Jenna

M said...

That was amazingly powerful. If there was a pre med club in my high school I would do it. But there is not, so I do not. Either way, that was inspiring.

Kait said...

I was recently accepted to medical school and I have been struggling with imagining what my life will be like, and how I will have a family, etc, etc...In an act of silly desperation I typed into google "being a mother and a doctor" and this post came up, and made me cry in the best way possible. It was beautifully written, and reminded me of where I've been and where I hope to be when it's all said and done. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

^ Right there with ya.

Anonymous said...

beautiful <3

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