A student, wrote this as part of her statement when applying to residency. I share her words as part of my positive story blog highlighting some of the most amazing young people who sacrifice their 20's to prepare for independent practice as a physician.
Life is short. I learned this lesson in the midst of being utterly overwhelmed by the first semester of medical school and anxious about the start of anatomy. The morning of my first day of class I received the news that a friend of mine from home suddenly died. She was only 15 years old and collapsed at basketball practice. That was it. Her death forced me to face my mortality for the first time in my life. As I stared down at my cadaver, I felt that maybe medical school was not so important compared to the enormity of life. I perceived every beat of my heart and every breath I took during that time of reflection. I questioned every decision I made up to that point in life and wondered if I truly desired to be in medical school. Â I took the time to reflect on my wants, needs, and goals in life. As dark a time as that was, it made me stronger, more compassionate and reignited my desire to learn.
"I wanted to be a physician for my entire life, although I am unsure how the inspiration was born. There are certain aspects of medicine that inherently drew me to the field and kept me motivated throughout the school. Internal medicine brought out of me what I set out to do after that first anatomy class--care for others and continue to learn. While the privilege and responsibility of caring for others can be frustrating when dealing with the complexities of human nature, I found it very rewarding when I entered my clinical rotations. Also, medicine is, for me, the perfect opportunity to be a lifelong learner. We are discovering new treatments and technologies that alter how we practice, so there is always something new to study. In internal medicine, you must know not only the breadth but depth of medical information. I will have the opportunity to consider training in a subspecialty field and become an expert in a narrower field should I desire to do so. While I am unsure of my destination after residency, I know I will be well trained and prepared to care for patients.
Ultimately, I want to be the best physician I can be, putting in the time and effort during my training to maximize my learning preparing me to better understand the complexities of the human body and our health. I want to learn from my inevitable mistakes and create ways to prevent those mistakes from occurring. As trivial as it may sound, I realize that the greatest accomplishments and the fiercest passions include things that may feel trivial one day, but define the enormity of life in the next."
Thank you for reading this young student's words. I hope these stories help restore your faith in the process that trains these young people over many years and thousands of hours. They seek to serve the "us " in the future.