“When you want something the whole universe conspires to make it happen.” Paulo Coelho
Well, Mr. Coelho, I beg to differ. Let me start off by saying that I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since I was five years old, and yes of course the inevitable ballerina dream and secret spy dream did have their fifteen minutes of fame, yet that underlying yearning to be a physician was never truly over ruled by any other wandering idea. Being a doctor meant helping others, especially children, and making a bad experience such as being sick a more pleasant one. Ok, well maybe not pleasant, but at least they’d remember a smiling doctor who would hold their hand while the nurse took their temperature. Either way I wanted this more than life itself and I did everything in my power to succeed in studying as hard as I had to and putting my heart and soul into this exquisite dream that finally gave me a solid answer when someone asked me: “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?’ A Pediatrician, I would proudly and surely say.
I finally got to high school and continued my long quest, but here’s where it started to get wavy. When you get to this level teachers and peers place you in categories.
“Oh, you’re creative? Apply for an advertising internship.”
“You like writing? You should be a journalist”
Yes, this is a wonderful tool to help those who don’t know what they want and will choose based on what comes naturally, but for those of us that already knew what we wanted it could border on frustrating because no, I didn’t want to be in advertising or be a journalist. I wanted to be a pediatrician. I personally did very well in every class without trying too hard, but when it came to math and science, I had to study like there was no tomorrow. Because of this, my teachers felt the need to explain that I couldn’t be a doctor. (If you’re a teacher and reading this, don’t do this, please, ever.) All I could say is that nothing important has ever come easy. This was my mantra and I strongly suggest that if you’re heading toward a path that requires perseverance, whatever it may be, get yourself a quote that you can basically scribble down everywhere, this will help you keep your eye on the prize.
Fast-forward to college and majoring in Biology, there was still that one professor that said that if I didn’t ace calculus I wouldn’t be a worthy doctor. (If you’re a college professor please again, don’t ever do this) Just a small spoiler alert, no you don’t need to ace calculus to succeed in med school. I guarantee that you will find people in this great big world that will try to tell you that you can’t succeed in what you want, some won’t even try sugar coating it, like my kind calc professor or that one teacher in high school. Yet, it’s up to you to find that inner fire that is inextinguishable, that one reason why you truly want this, that one reason why it’s worth it. I urge you to take opposition and throw it in that fire that burns inside you and have it motivate you. Despite everything keep your eye on the goal.
Part of that goal was actually getting through those golden med school doors and to do that you have to pass the written gate, the MCAT. Oh those four letters that spell nothing, yet if you look them up in any dictionary you would find “your future” written in bold italic letters. So, if you’re thinking of going down this long, grueling, and immensely rewarding road of becoming a doctor, study for this as hard as you possibly can. I personally studied for a month from eight in the morning to eight at night and got a cool score that got me into the med school of my choice, yet this is very personal and you should find what works for you. Again, studying for this it truly the key to that med school door.
But I digress, now once you’re in the door and sitting down on that chair wearing your scrubs looking around at the people that will be with you for four years (brace yourself, this is high school all over again, but it’s like a cool do-over with better clothes and after you’re done you graduate into adulthood with a job and everything, so it’s a pretty cool do-over) you realize that everything has been worth it because you’re here–you made it. But, don’t get cocky now because it’s a combo of sleepless nights, hard tests (you are dealing with people’s lives here, so its completely understandable), and crazy schedules. Don’t freak out though, here you’ll meet new friends with which you’ll truly bond (midnight coffee runs in your pj’s are a true bonding experience) and you’ll learn so many new things that some will fascinate you or just truly gross you out either way it’s pretty awesome.
I won’t act like I know everything about med school because I’m only a simple second year, but based on these two years I can advise you to get a group of friends together even if its just two of you, trust me on this one you’ll need a support system where you can squeeze in laughs in the midst of cramming sessions. Don’t under any circumstances compare you’re performance on tests with anyone else but yourself. Believe me, as hard as med school is you will over hear people complaining over getting an A minus, (maybe it will be you getting that A minus, but if its not…) don’t let this get to you your real aim is to learn and develop a good rapport with your patients.
Even though these two years have been a mosaic of hard work, tears of exhaustion, classmate drama (back to that high school thing), and lack of sleep they have been the most rewarding time of my life. When you’re doing what you’re truly passionate about you won’t mind having to work maybe a little harder than everyone else to reach that MD and have it embroidered on your white coat in four years.
We all have that dream, for me it was med school, having to prove the doubters wrong and show that dedication and hard work will take you farther than you ever thought possible. Maybe for you its law school, art school, engineering, modeling, whatever it may be. Work hard, maybe even a little harder than everyone else because nothing that’s worth having ever came easy. Now as for Mr. Coelho and his quote, sometimes it doesn’t actually feel like the whole universe is conspiring in your favor, but if you have passion and a true fire that burns for your dream you might as well have the universe inside you because I know you’ll make it happen.
This article was originally published on BeMoxie.org.
Photo: Life of Pix