As you are slowly woken from your deep slumber by the melodic and familiar tones of the Harry Potter opening theme, you gaze at your clock and groan. What on earth compelled you to take an 8:00 AM Organic Chemistry lecture? Countless students happily sleep in until 9:00 or 10:00, which is basically your afternoon. You grumble to yourself once more, but upon remembering the brutal hours of residency (and the fun! Oh the fun…), you suddenly come to the conclusion that sleep is for the weak. And just like that, you’re out of bed.
You proceed to dress in a manner that is acceptable and efficient. Clean and proper, yet not ostentatious. There is no time to waste on endlessly trying to perfect that eyeliner or choose the most color-coordinating pair of shoes. You have an education waiting for you and that is number one.
While you sit on the train poring over your notes with the scrutiny of a CSI agent, you can’t help but look around for a brief few seconds and chuckle to yourself because you must look downright manic, studying furiously while simultaneously eating and commuting. But that doesn’t matter in the slightest because you have a goal to achieve and social norms certainly aren’t going to stop you. So you munch and study on, fully accepting any strange looks you may receive.
During your walk to class, you see art students proudly toting their masterpieces and engineering students huddled in groups, studying hard to learn the workings of the mechanical world. You ponder the fact that most of these students will obtain their undergraduate degrees and begin in their desired profession immediately, while you will spend a minimum of an extra seven years working for yours. Then quickly you remember that it’s going to be medical school and your excitement for those long years brings a smile to your heart and a bounce to your step.
With this newfound inspiration, you walk into Organic Chemistry with a good mood and a willingness to learn. After all, once you’ve proudly aced it you can check it off your pre-med checklist, bringing you one step closer to your dream. Every assignment, every exam, every class, and every semester becomes a small step in the direction of a wonderful destination.
In fact, on your way to lunch you hear some other students speaking in a manner you do not quite comprehend:
“Yeah, dude I think I’m gonna get the B this time around!”
“Hey man that’s amazing! Congrats!”
Against your will, your nose wrinkles in the slightest as you see them high-five in the corner of your vision. What B? It’s as many A’s as conceivably possible for you. You have to keep your GPA nice and competitive so the med school people can consider you. Each to his own. You’re the one who might one day have your hands inside one of these guys’ chests or abdominal cavities or… OH! Even his brain, operating rapidly and deliberately to save his life. This thought of surgery makes you downright giddy and you cannot contain your smile.
You eat lunch with your strange group of friends. They talk about how much they want to do away with their horrible calculus professor and as they cycle through their list of ways to achieve this (hey, we already established they’re a weird bunch of people), you cannot help but remember the last time you encountered a cadaver and how badly you would like to relive the amazing experience. To most people, the thought of cutting into a dead body is disgusting to say the least, not to mention horrifying and sometimes completely outrageous. But the thought of cadavers happens to thrill you to your core and you look forward to the next time you’ll encounter one.
Speaking of cadavers, when you mention your slight obsession to others, they are usually a little taken aback but soon become accustomed to you being the “cadaver freak.” This is more than okay by you because it’s a compliment to your dedication and passion for everything medical. Besides, cadavers are pretty awesome so you’re honestly flattered to be given such a high order of praise.
After you’ve finished your classes for the day, you head over to the medical campus to work on research. Relatively speaking, you aren’t a researcher in the lab yet, but you’re definitely working your way into the upper ring. You look forward to this time of your day not necessarily for the research itself (don’t get me wrong—it’s cool and all) but rather because you are in such close proximity to the hospital. For a miniscule portion of your day, during your walk to the research building, you are submerged into your dream world. All around you are hospital staff and medical professionals of every specialty. Everywhere you look you see scrubs and lab coats. You are suddenly like a small child peering hungrily through the shop window at the sweets he so desperately craves. You often stand in place, eyes wide and mouth partly open in sheer amazement, allowing the buzz of the environment to engulf you as you attempt to soak it all in. You see medical students talking in groups and you smile broadly, knowing that one day, you will be just like them. Much to your chagrin, this moment ends and you must continue your day. But the unadulterated elation, excitement, hope, and inspiration you glean from this tiny moment can motivate you to move mountains for the sake of what you truly desire.
At the end of the day, you walk home in the last warm rays of sunshine and the pleasant fall breeze. You lift your head and gaze deeply into the soft afternoon sky, appreciating the beauty of it all and the craziness of the path you have chosen for yourself. You relish the insanity, as much as (or perhaps even more than) you complain and whine about it. You throw your all into everything you do and pour your soul out into your passion. You enjoy being challenged and put to work and you can’t imagine being given a chance to breathe or be stress-free. This is the life you willingly chose when you decided to enter the world of medicine, knowing full-well what you had ahead of you. And yet you chose it. Why?
Because you my friend, are already a doctor at heart. It’s just a matter of time until the rest of the world realizes it. And what a magnificent day that will be.