I wanted this blog to be real. Honest. No sugar coating it.
Med school sucks sometimes. There I said it.
Its three days into a new semester and I’ve already hit a wall so hard that I can’t even sleep. Usually when I don’t want to study, I can sleep, or at least binge watch something while simultaneously “candy crushing” until sleep finds me. Here I am, though- its 2 AM and I’m Facebook stalking pictures of myself while I was in college, feeling sorry for myself.
Something is off. And it has been for a while.
I feel happy each day. I wake up, I eat, I laugh, I study, I see my friends, I sleep. Even my family is always close by when I need them.
But, after looking at my own pictures on my feed, I see I’m not even the girl I was a year ago. That girl was “pinch me” happy to be in medical school. That girl lived to go into school each day and learn. That girl was running everyday. She loved going out, even on weeknights- regardless of the sleep she’d lose- just to be with her new friends, gain the life experiences.
I loved my first year of medical school. It changed my life in all aspects for the better.
Shortly after first year started, an older gentleman in a restaurant overheard me using “first year” and “second year” terminology and leaned over and said “You must be in law school, using those words.” I smiled and proudly said, “No sir, I’m in medical school.”
“My mistake,” he smiled, “Congratulations then.” My “thank you” to him was heartfelt and beaming with pride. I was passionate that I was finally where I had wanted to get to all these years.
Last year, it was this all-consuming-love-of-my-life and I couldn’t talk about anything else because I was so enthralled.
Now, I’m this 15lb. heavier zombie, dragging my sedentary body around with my arms in front of me growling and yelling “SLEEP!!!! Where is my sleep?” and feeding on any friends and family nearby, sucking them into my darkness whenever possible.
I don’t want anything to do with going to class or shoving any more knowledge into my haggard, feeble, and engorged brain. Hanging out with friends? Forget about it. The first thing I do after class is come home, throw my jeans on the floor and sit in bed. I study when I have to and do anything else besides school that I can find when I don’t have to.
My best friend asks me how school is going “Horrible,” I say. “can we talk about something else?”
So tell me, which girl do you want to be your doctor in a few years?
I’m not the type to squander this opportunity. I truly, deeply want you to know that I know I should be more grateful. I know I am extremely privileged to be able to pursue this profession. I just happen to feel like its costing me a lot in this season of my life. I know these feelings are normal too. I know I’m human, but I hate the fact that I am already this burned out and broken down by my medical education. It’s hard, though. Its hard to go back to the honeymoon phase when you’ve seen medical school in the light of day.
When you’ve had to miss birthday parties.
When you’ve had to tell your nieces that you can’t make it to dinner.
When your jaw is throbbing from clenching it when stressed.
When you miss those concerts with your friends.
When you feel 80 years old for wanting to sleep at 7:30 PM and you are only 23.
When you have to start studying for a $600 test 6 months in advance.
When you want to be active and run and play and shop and dance and stay up until 5AM with your girlfriends.
When you want to be sore and tired from all the things you did that day, but instead you are sore from sitting on your leg too long and you have a hand cramp from writing too much and you are tired from straining your eyes.
All for a potential illness you have not yet learned in a future patient you have not met, in a clinic you cannot picture. There’s no such thing as instant gratification in med school. I have only a far off hope that someday, some rewarding case will instantly make it all worth while. Do you see what I mean?
In undergrad, I was very wary to not use the term burned out whenever I was frustrated because I knew how much longer I had to go.
But this…there is no other word for this than burn-out. I flailed through last semester and faked it til I made it but three days in to my second semester of my second year and I am having some serious trouble.
The worst part is- I don’t have a solution.
I’m struggling. I’m doing my best. I try to find the good. I don’t let comparisons to my awe-inspiring friends and classmates steal my joy. I stay disciplined to my studies. I keep my head down and work. I just keep swimming.
I guess I know I’m doing something right when I wouldn’t trade this crappy 2nd year rut, for any other experience anywhere else.