Well, it’s been almost three weeks since I heard the news, and I’ve got to say, I’m still just as excited as I was on that day. I have received many congratulations via phone and Facebook, several cards in the mail, and even a brand new stethoscope from my mother-in-law, but, for the most part, everyone has forgotten the news. Except me. I thought that once I found out I could relax and everything would be great. Boy was I wrong! I keep wavering between a state of shock (To quote David After Dentist, “Is this real life?”) and a state of panic (Can I really do this? Can I really be a doctor?). I keep checking my email thinking that they’re going to email me back and say they’ve made a mistake. We’re sorry. We were looking at the wrong file. Turns out, you are a moron. Maybe there’s still a spot open at the dental college. (I am NOT an anti-dentite!)
The truth is, I’ve been planning on going to medical school for six years, but it was always a dream, not a reality. And when I didn’t get accepted during my first round of applications, it hit me that maybe I’m not smart enough to be a doctor. I’ve spent the last year reconsidering and coming to terms with the fact that maybe I shouldn’t get in, maybe I’m not cut out to be a doctor. And then, it hits me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly I’m in, and everything changes.
I’ve often wondered what life would be like if I didn’t get in. Everything would be different. Choosing a career as a physician isn’t just a choice of professions, it’s a lifestyle choice. Med school means hard work and many years of sacrifice. It means not getting as much time to spend with my husband. It means having to wait a while before having kids. It means that, when I do have kids, I won’t get to spend as much time with them. It means stress – watching people suffer and die, getting home from work and still thinking, Did I do the right thing? Being a physician is going to be hard. And, now that I’m officially on that path, I wonder, Am I really making the right decision? Am I being selfish? Will my husband resent me? Will we be able to endure the stress this puts on our marriage? Will my kids think I’m a bad mother when I can’t be at all their basketball games? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail out of med school? What if I get done with school and realize that I don’t like being a physician, and then I have $200,000 of debt I can’t pay off?
I just finished reading a book by a physician named Michelle Au. It is called, “This Won’t Hurt a Bit (and other white lies): My lessons in medicine and motherhood.” The book was phenomenal. Au discusses her experiences in medical school, meeting her husband, choosing a residency, and then having a baby during the month she starts as a resident. She explained the long hours, the nights away from home, and the stress of missing many of her child’s first milestones. But, the whole time I’m reading, I’m thinking, What am I getting myself into? Why would anyone choose to do this?
However, the fact is, that I am choosing to do this. Being a doctor is all I’ve really ever wanted to be. I can’t conceive of doing anything else. And I know that I can’t back down just because I know it’s going to be hard. Despite the fact that I’m scared, I know I’m doing the right thing. And even when I read all these horror stories about the life of a doctor, I can’t help but smile and look forward to it. Maybe I’m crazy, but I really can’t wait. I’ve been sitting around for three weeks just wishing that I could start med school right away.
And, ultimately, I know everything is going to be OK. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful, supportive husband and amazing family and friends. I know that I’ve made this decision based on a lot of thought and prayer, and it really is what God wants me to do. And, of course, He never gives us more than we can handle. For whatever reason, this is part of His plan for me, and I can’t help but be humbled by the fact that I have been called to it.