There are many reasons to judge yourself in medical school, and few opportunities to check in with reality. On many occasions I find myself surrounded by excited med students who want nothing more than to compete with classmates, follow around the most important physicians, get in on the best electives and research opportunities, and smooze with the right program directors. Many med student worlds’ revolve around getting the best grades, arranging the right sequence of rotations in clerkship, impressing the right doctors, and studying for national exams that aren’t until 2010.
This is a weird environment to try to keep a hold on the real world, and to think about my wider community. On rare occasions, such as this evening, I temporarily allow myself to cave into these pressures and consider if I should be living differently on this path. Spend less time teaching yoga? Less time reading and writing and learning about global health issues? Less time with family and Mat? And more time focusing on the medicine? The decisions are difficult. I have been told, there are phases in life where you have to give up some of your passions in the short-term. Is this one of those times? When do you give into the rat race and put your creative endeavours on hold temporarily, for the sake of moving ahead?
All I know is that I thrive in the land of dreaming and creating. Thrive on openness, connecting, community and diversity. Oh, this culture of medicine. The jaded, sad, neurotic, inspiring, hopeful, awkward and crazy people within it. What will you do to me in this lifetime? And what might I do to you?