So you want to be a doctor…right? I would like to start by sharing with you a poem I wrote after shadowing in the emergency department at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, in 2010. It was during my sophomore year in high school. I posted the poem on a website online and years later it was picked up and published by The America Library of Poetry in their book “Accomplished,” just last year!
Walking down the narrow, seemingly endless hallway.
The faint cry of someone in pain, in agony, possibly dying; but no, being-
This wonderful phenomenon could be heard from behind the curtains.
The only wall separating this miracle form actuality.
Meanwhile nurses and doctors wait behind their desks for the “next.”
Boredom lurking, anxiously waiting.
Reality hit like heavy rain.
Could I really see this happening? Do I want this?
I can’t’ do this.
I won’t do this!
No patience to wait for that –
When I reflect back to when I wrote this poem, only God knows what I witnessed to prompt me to write it! But in any case, I request that you too reflect over this poem. As you do so, ask yourself these questions: Can you really see this happening? Do you really want this? Do you have the patience required not only as a physician, but for the process it takes to become one? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself constantly during your own journey to becoming a doctor. Every new experience you have shadowing, volunteering, and interacting with those in your desired field, should continue to solidify your answers to those questions.
If I had a dollar for the amount of people known between my friends and I that started out wanting to be a doctor but ended up on a different path…Let’s just say I would be much richer! But jokes aside, I picked up that some of those people either were not prepared to make the sacrifice or just did not have the patience to continue down that path. This also begs the question: Were they really passionate about becoming a doctor in the first place? Don’t get me wrong. I understand that college opens up your mind and exposes you to new experiences, as it should. Everyone has the right to change paths as their interests change. However, I’m referring to those that talked-the-talk about becoming a physician. Those that could swear by their mother’s grave when probed on the subject. I propose that the answer to my question is no. To better understand my reasoning, let’s look at the definition of passionate:
Passionate: having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling.
We all can probably agree that medicine is NOT for everyone. All the same, before you begin to make any progress towards becoming a physician, you should first make up your mind about whether or not you really want to pursue that path: Success has no place for indecisiveness. It is also imperative that your intensions and expectations are well founded when deciding. This is where passion comes in. Becoming a doctor is something that you should feel compelled to do. When speaking about it, you should be able to relate to your words on an emotional level. That’s how it is for me in any case. Go ahead and talk-the-talk: the tongue is a powerful tool. But you also better walk-the-walk too: actions speak louder than words. You must be passionate but also faithful, ambitious, and unrelenting in your pursuit to becoming a doctor. Regardless of your perceived intelligence, major, GPA, age etc., with just a little more patience, medicine CAN be for you!
So why are you passionate about becoming a doctor? What steps have you taken in deciding if medicine is right for you? Let me know in the comments below!