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Question a Medical Student Should Ask Himself: What Do I Really Want?

Submitted by on May 3, 2013 – 10:00 PM 2 Comments

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Alot of people when come in med-school think as if it is the end of the finish-line. Happy to land where they wanted to, but as the time rolls, they realize that it was only a beginning of a never ending journey.

I asked a new, first year medical student how she felt about being in this field. She replied that she never wanted to become a doctor but was here to please her parents’ wish. Moreover, she confided, ‘’everyone told me that it is going to be easy when you get in but it does not seem anything like that”. This is the story of students who might not have opted for the profession, provided the proper guidance and career counseling had been provided to them.

Another story is about the students who have “Burden of proof” to live up to, I should say. They feel the necessity to prove that they are the best, or better than someone else, and get into this trap of expecting more from themselves than they can cope up with. To prove, that they are cool, popular and intelligent at the same time. Juggling with all this, they lose focus from their real aim; which is to struggle to become a good, professional doctor. Moreover, when they exhaust their energy and focus on these petty things, they are prone to be victim of burnout, when they get into practice.

My point here is that everyone needs to learn who they are. What they can be and what they can’t be. Every student should expect realistic things from himself. Everyone is a distinguished person, with different sets of flaws and plus-points. No one can be everything and have everything.  We all have limitations and need to accept those facts and use the strengths to cover up for them.

On the first place, being a doctor is a tough choice so when making this decision you need to know entirely about the profession, its demands and changes it will bring to your life. Then you should ask yourself: Why do you want to do it? Is there any higher cause? Do you have required passion? Can you handle it? Is there anything else you would rather enjoy doing?

And when you do enter this field, you need to be clear about what you can achieve and what you want out of these five years. Not because your best friend is a college topper, you need to be one. It is perfectly alright to aim for something less ambitious. It is perfectly okay to be yourself and be comfortable about it. Being happy and to have healthy ego is more important. For instance you try to score the highest in a subject and do work hard for it but somehow the result is not what you expected, you do not need to get frustrated about that. You should keep in trying but not to let yourself indulge in self-depreciation or comparisons with others; both give envy and destroys your moral. You should be aware of all other great things you can do which no one other can. Maybe your score might not be good but your clinical skill is or maybe you are good at communication skills. Value the skills you have and use them to be a successful person you are capable of becoming.

Another story is of choosing a specialty. Cardiology may seem like “super-hero” thing and you might want to be one, or may be emergency medicine intrigues you because you got impressed by a random TV series. But again the basic story line comes to practicality. What if you are someone who has low attention span and are not very spontaneous and quick, then how can you manage long hours in E.R?

Choices which contradict your personality can lead to burn out and a feeling of not achieving enough. This struck me when I was reading an article [1] about how doctors are leaving their profession because they think it is not what they think they are born to do. So it is important to know yourself before you make a choice in life because you alone are going to live with your decision and it is going to define who you are.

[1] Tired of Being a Doctor? Choices for Opting Out of Medicine. Medscape. Feb 02, 2012.)




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  • Muhammad Hannan Tayyab

    A very nice post indeed Dr.Ezza . Its true that the person should know himself, his strenghts and his weakness before entering into medical field.

    • Ezza Fatima

      Thanku…i m glad u liked it n agree to it.