Tuesday, 4 June 2013

It's been a while...

I'd check when my last blog post was but I'm writing right now and too lazy to navigate to the page. It was probably sometime before the Triassic era anyway. I'd explain myself but, in short, life and medicine got in the way. That and my inability to find the energy, motivation or faith in my own thoughts to commit anything to the permanence of the internet. Which, you know, can be found, read, giggled at and never lived down should anyone at uni find it.

I had my second end of semester exam today - the paper today was great, yesterday's was a nightmare dipped in a bastard coating. The exams are designed in such a way you don't always know what they're asking you for, so you end up inventing medicine and hoping your answer isn't some absurd amalgamation of physics breaking down and all sense kicking the proverbial bucket.

Just as I was getting used to the nightmares where I'm frantically reading exam questions written in Chinese out loud (either I'm secretly fluent or I'm offending a whole country and its ancestors with my frankly racist dream-Chinese) my written exams are happily over. OSCEs next week.

They went ok overall. I mean they didn't justify the super-depressed-ness exhibited consistently over the last few months in the run up, but hey.

I'm a little disillusioned to be completely honest. I really wasn't expecting to struggle so much or find it so hard. The hardest part of being in medicine is when the initial glittery lights and rose tints fade and you realise your heart is not 100% in it. Don't misunderstand, I worked hard for this and I'm privileged to be here. What I mean is I'm starting to realise it really isn't the Great Happening you expect it to be after you've been at it for a year. The realisation follows that you hung up your entire life on something, defined yourself and your worth by it, only to find out that when you got there it was a degree not completely unlike others. Sure the job spec is different but, ultimately, medicine is a vocation NOT your representative as a person.

And that's the healthy way to think about it. I was obsessed with being 'perfect' for medicine, that I had to have all the traits and be like my friends on the course, that it should be my life. That there was some crazy list of attributes we were all aspiring to that would change our entire being. I'd cherry pick the best traits from people, put said people on a pedestal and bewail my relative stupidity, slowness, idiocy, weakness, lameness, how the med school must have made some mistake because who would ever think I could be a halfway decent doctor etcetc...
This relentlessly, as though self-flagellation would appease some medicine god from raining his perfection-demanding fury on me.

I slowly realised the pressure of believing there was some ideal medical personality to aspire to was draining and removed all joy from the subject. Not that the membranes and receptors unit isn't euphorically fun...in a parallel universe where its permanently opposite day.
I expected myself to be perfect and prepared for medicine so much so that I would not struggle - this despite being told repeatedly that I and everyone else would find it difficult because it really, really is. When I struggled it impacted so negatively on me because I believed if I were not already primed and breezing through first year then I was 'not good enough'.

Which is utter crap.

I think I'm a masochist - I repeatedly make life difficult with unrealistic expectations of myself and ridiculous pedestal-ing of other people's pretty achievable traits.

Self esteem, evaluation and awareness of worth are so important in this career because it literally has the capacity to chew your ego up and spit you back out. I'm starting to appreciate the personal professional portfolios we do with all the reflective writing a hell of a lot more.

So here I am, at the arse-end of year one in medical school and I'm a little more battered than before but hopefully wiser.

On a final note, watch The Great Gatsby especially if you've read the book - I spent most of the first hour and a half hoping it wouldn't end like it did in the book which is silly, I know, but damn it I wanted it to end on a happy :(.
Anyway, it's amazing and, even if you don't think so, there's Lana Del Ray's Young and Beautiful as part of the soundtrack which is one hell of a song.