Sunday, November 22, 2015

Medicine and Mount Everest

I successfully finished the first term of my second year of medical school, which means that last week was my vacation week, and tomorrow I go back to reality. Having the week off, you would think I would have embraced the opportunity to be as lazy as physically possible, but I managed to stay busy with board studying and an entire checklist that I had been putting off due to classes. I also spent this weekend driving back and forth out of state to drop my daughter off at my parents’ house so that she can have a fun Thanksgiving break while I attend mandatory lectures this week:-/

Despite staying fairly busy, I did make it a point to take a few hours every day to completely relax. I love movies, so I pretty much used this time every day to watch a different movie. One of the movies I finally got around to watching was Everest, and the following quote from the movie inspired me to write this post: 

“It hurts. It’s dangerous. It costs a small fortune and ruins relationships…why?”

When I heard this, the first thing I thought about was the path to becoming a physician. Technically, medical school doesn’t really hurt, but it has its moments of pain just like anything else in life. It hurts to not perform as well as you would have liked sometimes, and it definitely hurts when you have to miss important life events such as graduations, weddings, etc., but I knew exactly what I was signing up for when I started on this path. When I think about it now though, the application process was what hurt the most for me. Nothing hurt more than dealing with rejection after rejection over a span of multiple years, or having so many people not believe in me and my dreams. So yes, this path does have its fair share of pain, but the good outweighs the bad so much, and I wake up every day smiling and happy to be where I am at in life.

As for the dangerous part, I don’t think many people understand how dangerous it is to be a physician. It’s a lifestyle that involves constantly being exposed to deadly pathogens, having the risk of accidentally cutting/injecting yourself, patients that may physically cause harm to you, and the constant danger of being sued. Plus, it can be a stressful job, and we all know that stress is not a good thing for the body. Personally, I’ve always been a bit of a risk-taker, and I tend to thrive in stressful environments, so I say, “Bring it on!” LOL. Even with every single precaution taken in life, there is usually some risk of danger, so I prefer to stay positive, be as prepared as I can, and face things head on.

As for it costing a small fortune, I really don’t think that needs too much clarification. Unless you’re lucky enough to come from a wealthy background or have multiple scholarships, then becoming a physician WILL cost you a small fortune. There really is no way around it. Not only do I have loans that I will need to pay back from my undergraduate and graduate years, but you can add close to $300k worth of debt to that when I graduate from medical school. People think I am joking when I say that I will probably owe close to half a million dollars worth of debt when I graduate, but with interest rates and such, I’m really not. The good news is that it will all be paid off eventually, even if it takes me decades to do so. I don’t think it’s possible to put a price on someone’s dreams, and for me, this journey is priceless and worth every last penny. Plus, it’s not only an investment into my future, but into my child’s as well.

The last part of the quote about ruining relationships isn’t really one that I can say applies to me, but it might for other people on the same path. I’ve heard that medical students and physicians have a high divorce rate, but I was already happily divorced before I entered medical school, and school keeps me way too busy to pursue traditional romantic relationships anyway. As for ruining relationships with friends and family, I disagree. Most of the people in my circle understand why I can’t be around all the time or why I have to miss important events, so in my opinion, if pursuing my dreams leads to a loss of any relationship, then it really wasn’t meant to be in the first place. It may sound harsh, but I honestly cannot devote my energy to catering to the feelings of people who only want to be around during easy times. My focus needs to be on performing well, so the only relationships worth entertaining in my eyes are those that bring positivity, support, and overall good vibes. 

So as you can see, this quote really hit the nail on the head for me when thinking about this very long (but amazing) journey I have chosen to be on. There is no other path that I would rather be on, and I absolutely love every moment, be it good or bad, so there really is no question as to why I choose to stay on this path. I’m sure there will continue to be moments when I question my decision to pursue medicine along the way (especially when I’m sleep-deprived, stressed out, and hungry lol), but as long as I keep my sights focused on the finish line which includes impacting lives and really benefiting the world around me, then I will continue to climb my medical Mount Everest. 


  1. D Ward! It has been a while since I left a comment but this post really spoke to me! I unfortunately had to give up my 8 year relationship my 2nd semester into medical school, it was a tough decision but I was unable to manage both. When the right person comes along it will happen, until first! Congrats on making it through your semester successfully....studying for boards!?! I feel like we just started, keep up the wonderful work, I am so proud of you! xoxo

    1. Whitney! Congrats to you on making it this far as well! I guess it really is true that this all goes by super fast! And yes, school first, always! I'm proud of you as well and I still stop by your blog to see all the awesome things you stay up to and your always gorgeous pics :-)

  2. Love you blog post of course! I can definitely see how that quote relates to the healthcare profession.

    1. Thank you! It's amazing how much inspiration something that you think isn't even related to you can bring :-)


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