Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Blog Rounds 31st Edition (March 2009): Dear Medical Graduate

More than ten years ago, you were just like me. Perhaps. You are no longer the doe-eyed freshman that you might had been when you set foot on medical school for the first time some four, five, or six years ago. You spent grueling hours mastering the human body, its compositions and its afflictions, dodging dagger admonitions from your seniors, ruminating the implications of your chosen career...I can go on and on, yes, and you will likely be telling me: Come spit it out, don't tell us what we already know.

If you were more spiteful, you would go on and say: We now more or less share the same happy and bitter experiences of medical school, and you can no longer claim monopoly on them.

Maybe, my dear medical graduate. Your time is definitely different from ours, and for me, no generation is better than the other. Don't you just effing hate it when someone tells you, "During OUR time..." ad nauseum? Our specific experiences are molded by the needs of our times. But lessons, yes, we've learned more than enough of them, and if I may say, the only thing that truly makes me different from you is just ten or so years, and nothing more.

MEDICINE IS A CALLING. It is not for everyone. You have seen the life in the wards, in the operating room, in the hospital and the community. You've already seen patients get well and die before your very eyes. You are practically owned by this seemingly selfish profession, and your time does not entirely belong to you. Would you like to live this way for the rest of your life? It is not yet too late for you to turn your back when you recognize that this is not the life for you: it is a courageous act, not a cop-out at all.

AND WHILE MEDICINE IS INDEED YOUR CALLING, IT IS NOT WHAT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IS ALL ABOUT. Starting now, if you have not done so yet, write down and rank your priorities in life. Is it family first, money second, and career in medicine third? Or is it God first, career second, family third? Whatever the order you prefer, get it figured out in your head before you venture further.

E, R, and me, Graduation Day

RECOGNIZE THAT OUR WORLD CHANGES. History will tell us time and again that all things on earth evolve: ideas morph in various forms, species come and go. Techniques are constantly being developed and yet we need to revisit old techniques. You actually sentence your neurons to death by dessication when you start denying this change.

THE NAME OF THE GAME IS PATIENCE. Not a lot of things in this field happen by chance and in an instant. I am a crammer and many times I found myself regretting being one. There is a world of difference between getting the work done and getting the work done properly, and this I learned the very hard way.

KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO GENUINELY WANT TO HELP YOU. And once you are able to identify them, learn all that you can from them.

LOVE YOURSELF. Prepare for your future. Most doctors are so financially unsavvy (me included). Accord yourself some time for recreation and growth outside medicine. There are many people worth not only your professional but your personal attention as well. And before I forget, there exist some so-called mundane concepts like dating, sex, relationship, romance, and flirting. To this I say: feel with your senses, love with your heart, think with your head.

ABOVE ALL, BE HAPPY. For when you are happy, inspired, and driven by purpose, everything else falls into place, and no adversity can ever put you down. This, by far, is the biggest lesson I have learned in medicine and in life, and it bears repeating now, tomorrow, a year, ten years, fifty years from now.

Regardless of hard times, I hope medicine rewards you well. All things considered, I do not regret being in this field. Congratulations and I wish you all the best.

This is my submission to The Blog Rounds 31st Edition (March 2009), and I am hosting, and am eagerly awaiting more posts.

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