The Abuse. Or…Bragging.
Post our White-Coat ceremony, I found myself complaining frequently of how showy people became on Facebook about the fact that they stated medical school. It came after someone’s status update “Call me Dr. Blahblah….in 4 years” and was perpetuated by people who had a million pictures of themselves in their short white coat (In front of the bean….Wow. Creative.). One of my favourite examples is probably the student whose facebook profile picture is a professional photo of him in his short white coat. Yes, professional.
But, while their sense of self-worth may be misguided, I needn’t struggle to see how their hearts are in the right places. My friend attempted to remind me. He told me this:
(Actually, he didn’t word it like that because he is way more kindhearted and calculated).
“You can look at it from this angle. For you, medical school is just a stepping stone. You are using your education and work as a doctor to help you achieve another goal. You want to go on and do bigger things outside of the States. This is just a means to an end. However, for many others, this is their final destination. They have worked so hard for this opportunity because they want the plushy office and sense of entitlement. (Okay, I’m exaggerating again. He was much kinder.) They want to work as a doctor because that’s their ultimate goal. That is what will give them fulfillment in life. So, yes, they are proud of it and like to show it off. No, perhaps they are not being the most humble, but they are about to achieve something that they think will complete them. You may not be able to understand that because you would never be happy by just working as a doctor. You want to do more. But for them, this is it. That is how they define themselves.”
No matter how true this is, it will probably always be a bit hard for me to stomach people’s obsession with turning to social media for self-validation.
Because, as someone who needs to use social media to stay in contact with people across the globe, I am constantly inundated with their pretentious posts. And I want to gag. Constantly.
Furthermore, to be honest with myself, I harbor a great fear. This fear is the possibility that I won’t actually do or be more than a doctor in life. I wake up scared that I might settle for less, become complacent or lack the skill to strive beyond my means. However, I’m most afraid of trying and not succeeding. Of giving it my all, and then failing. That sort of failure would be very hard to forgive myself for because it would mean that I wasn’t enough.
I remember vividly the fear that I awoke to every single day in Tanzania. That pit of dread that would be pulling at my innards and begging me not to leave my bed. My mornings are much more pleasant now adays. I can hardly explain the pure joy I get from knowing where I am in my life and how lucky I am to be here. But, even being at medical school, while I’m no longer in Peace Corps, the only thing that truly scares me is that fact. Of making nothing happen beyond my small measure of a bubble, erm, world. Peace Corps doesn’t really count if you don’t make use of it, right?
So yes, for me, medical school is a means to an end. Personally, I could not have it any other way.