Today, we had the honor of pinning the first-year medical students during their white coat ceremony. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I donned mine for the first time! It’s heartwarming to be back. I think there’s something to be said about absence making the heart grow fonder, because I truly feel like I have a family here at the med school. Familiar faces, the excitement of the faculty, hearing all of my “brothers & sisters” recount things they did and learned this summer, recounting my own tales of stress and also self-discovery. I’ve already sought insight from faculty about the comparisons and contrasts I was able to make this summer, and I’m so grateful for the time given (I didn’t know that he was also about to act as the honorary speaker for the ceremony, otherwise I would have stopped the discussion sooner!).
It’s weird to listen to the words that are coming out of my own mouth, to actually….feel so compelled to do something, to wake up and want to go do some specific task (although now it is delayed during the completion of the education required to get there). Yes, there is still much time before any such decisions need to be made regarding specialties, there is yet time to taste the wide spectrum of possibilities that medicine has to offer. Nonetheless, I have found at least ONE thing that I could clearly see myself doing on a daily basis – in fact, I feel like I can’t go there frequently enough, during the semester when we have SO many responsibilities on our plates again; and I was only able to squeeze in a handful of visits to the office, with most of them being either before or after my research position was complete. People actually get to do that everyday.
I thought for sure I would have my “aha” moment in a lab somewhere, studying a treatment, killing more cancer cells….granted, I thought it was amazing that I was able to do experiments like that this summer, and perhaps not enough of that type of experiment; however, when there’s a compulsion, this type of inner passion that is erupting unintentionally from the very core of who you are, something that makes you feel like all of the skills you’ve obtained up to that point in your life will help you to intrinsically do that job incredibly well once “let loose”…it’s an incredible and also scary thing. Mostly incredible. Well, I’m still sort of dumbfounded because I have some decisions to make. So. Many. Years. For so long, I’ve known how to put my head down, work, eat, sleep, repeat, moving towards some sort of fulfillment that might hopefully come from the hard work and dedication; yet, I kept wondering if I’d just sort of float along feeling like “I guess I’ll do this since this is what I’ve worked for, and it’s interesting…”
(enter the sound of a record being rewound)
But wait. Hold up. Hold the f— up. There is an E.M. Forster quote that strikes a chord with me, particularly since I’ve had my world turned upside down by this specific field of medicine. “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” I get it. I think I finally do. And yes, it’s a different kind of passion than being in the heat of the moment.
Someone shared with me today that, at some point, I have to start closing doors. That’s my next step. But yeah, I mean, once you find something that so viscerally connects with who you are and the set of skills that you have…and something about which you are PASSIONATE…GO WITH IT. Don’t overthink it (please, seriously? Do you KNOW who you’re talking to?). Don’t overthink it. You can’t logic your way out of passion. You can’t make yourself stop feeling something. You must acknowledge it, respect it, and decide what to do. You can logic your way into something interesting, true. But to try to “reason” your way OUT of passion is a type of intellectual and perhaps even spiritual death.