Friday, June 16, 2006

The start of A Life of Medicine

May 15, 2006 was the best day of my life so far. It's the day I found out that I got into medical school.

In a few months, or years, perhaps someone will stumble upon the latest post in this blog and come here wanting to know why this blog exists. Here's the story.

If a life of medicine is a journey, getting in to med school would clearly be considered passing through the gate. But getting to the gate is a hugely significant portion of the journey itself, almost as important as was deciding to start on the journey ten years ago. Since that day, every major thing I've done has been influenced by my journey towards medicine. The most obvious items on this list include gaining experience in medicine, taking the MCAT and applying for med school. However, there are countless other aspects of my life, both major and minor, that have been irreversibly affected (for better, worse, or neither) because, for the last ten years, nearly every decision I have made has been influenced, in one way or another, by my choice to chase my dream of medicine: choosing my high school courses, deciding what summer jobs to pursue, planning my free time, listing the things I look for in a serious relationship.

The last ten years have been years of hard work, uncertainty, and a lot of questioning. Do I really want to become a doctor? Will I ever make it? Will I have to apply in other countries? Are my marks good enough? Should I become a nurse instead? Should I give up and become something entirely different?

May 15 changed all that. All my work had finally paid off. The biggest dream I had ever pursued had finally become a reality. And best of all, the feelings of joy and elation that washed over me drowned all the voices in my head telling me I might not be good enough.

Since that day, I have been standing in awe in a place where few people are lucky enough to end up: face to face with my lifelong dream. The door to my future has been opened wide. And as I run towards it, I am looking beyond as much and as far ahead as I can, trying to learn anything and everything I can about the remainder of my journey, with nothing to hold me back. You see, it was different when I was pre-med – back then, any reading, book, article, or television show about medicine would simply be a reminder of the competitiveness of the admissions process or my discouraging odds or my application’s drawbacks, and it would take over my thoughts and cut down my dreams at the knees. I wanted it so bad. And now I’m here, and I can’t read enough about it.

That's why this blog is here. While reading anything about medical school that I could get my hands on, I was drawn to online med student forums, then later to medical blogs, where I scaled the virtual mountains of electronic discussions and blog posts that exist on the world wide web. As I did this, I was so deeply stricken by some of the writings of the medical students and brand-new doctors on their blogs. They drew me far in to their experiences of endless hours, thankless shifts, incredible joys, inspirational mentors, and the indescribable rewards of medicine. I loved every word of it. I was so engaged by the writing, blown away by the honesty that anonymity affords, and how none of it was sugar-coated or censored or dumbed-down, and it soon became apparent that I had to record these feelings for myself.

Now that I’m finally beginning this dream that I’ve chased for so long, I want to savour it, harness it, and package every exciting moment and bitter disappointment so that whenever I want to go back and re-live the highs and lows, I can. And I want it to be online so that whenever anyone else – perhaps a friend, a fellow student or physician, a dreaming pre-med – wants to experience or understand the highs and lows of one more medical student, they can too.

So now it really begins, this journey that I’ve been walking for the last decade. I’m at the start line, and I’m ready to sprint full ahead with everything I’ve got.

Read the rest of this entry »