Monday, November 30, 2009

The Beginning of my Journey through Medicine and Medical School

Monday, November 30, 2009
The lifechanging moment: Acceptance May 15 2009 ~9:00 am

Although a bit late in starting this blog, through the past few months, inspired by bloggers such as vitum medicinus and my experiences, I realized that I needed a place to anonymously talk about my experiences, to document and chart my way to becoming a MD and beyond. To share my sorrows, joys, frustrations, and accomplishments in the journey of medicine. Let me start off the blog with the happiest day of my life so far: May 15, 2009.

The start of a new life: the morning of May 15, 2009:

Pre-med in Canada is perhaps one of the most tumultuous experiences imaginable. To re-cap quickly, I realized in high school that I wanted to dedicate my life to changing the lives of others, to die with the knowledge that I spent my life changing the things I saw unfit in the world, and making a difference in the lives of the people around me.

I considered a variety of careers, including law, politics, business, computer engineering (my favorite subjects in high school didn't include only biology but I really enjoyed social studies and computer science as well). However, after a few more experiences, I settled on medicine halfway through high school. At that point, everything I did all had some relationship to medicine (not that the volunteering/leadership I had wasn't for other reasons as well such as enjoyment or interest, but at least part of the motivation for doing these things was because of a wish to get into medicine). I gave up moving away to a cool new university and opted for my hometown university because I believed it would keep me from the temptation of residence partying and allowed me to have the familiarity of living at home (thus increasing the chance of my success in undergrad). I labored for 5 hard years, endured many sleepless nights, all with the focus on medicine. I still remember the envy I would have whenever I saw someone with the ever-so coveted med school backpack (every student in Canada gets a free backpack from the CMA - they give each year a certain color and design that helps identify someone from that year. For example, the Medical Students entering in 2009 all have Red High Sierra backpacks, whether they go to University of British Columbia or the University of Western Ontario).

The worst part of it was the uncertainty, all the effort I put into the pursuit of medical school could be completely wasted. A realistic assessment of the situation showed the competitiveness of getting in and that statistics were against me, I didn't know whether I was good enough, and often times I doubted it, and thought of dropping out, applying to pharmacy, or just finding a good paying job and living an ordinary life. Continually, I would quash these feelings, and remind myself that anything was possible, that if I worked hard enough, if I believed in myself, I could do it. That every year someone had to be accepted, and nothing was stopping me from being that 'someone' except for my uncertainties and doubts.

Throughout my application year, I balanced writing applications, midterms, extra-curriculars, practicing for interviews, doing interviews and honestly, I spent at least 10% of my nights sleepless. Having worked like a dog throughout the process, I remember the crushing feeling I would get whenever I got a pre-interview rejection from schools and also the accomplishment I felt when I got my first interview invite (Interviewed 3/7 Applications). Throughout the process, I kept on asking myself the question "what if... what if I get rejected, what will I do, will I have the strength to try again?"

Then came the big day, May 15 2009. All my doubts about my future washed away with the one fateful e-mail. My heart was racing all morning, waiting for the vibrations on my cellphone (e-mails) that would signal the receipt of a life-changing message. Bringing out my phone and debating whether I should look at it, the e-mail that would give me the biggest news of my life, the e-mail that could either crush me or give me the greatest gift imaginable: the chance to fulfill my dreams. I remember staring dumbfounded at the phone when I read the e-mail titled "Congradulations" and realizing that the next step in my journey was about to begin.

So here I am, ready to continue working for my dreams, and 4 years away from the two golden letters M.D.