Original from July 22nd, 2014
Today, my Profession of Medicine professor, Dr. Haidet, emphasized the importance of maintaining our identity through four years of medical school. To jumpstart the discussion, he showed us a clip from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which Professor Dumbledore warns Harry and the other 3 contestants about the treacherous task ahead.
Before Dr. Haidet began the clip, he instructed us to “pretend that the Maze is medical school, and that the Triwizard Cup is your M.D. degree.”
People change in the maze. Oh, find the cup if you can. But be very wary; you could just lose yourselves along the way.
Upon finishing the clip, the entire class burst into hysterics. The eerie part was that Dr. Haidet was dead-serious.
In response to the clip, we were instructed to write about the perspectives we bring to medicine as unjaded first-year students, and who we envision ourselves as four years down the road. My response went something like this:
When I wrote my first personal statement two years ago, I was fully aware of the sheer magnitude of what I was trying to achieve, of how truly helpless I was as an individual attempting to alleviate human suffering in the face of ever-morphing government policies, the grisly side- effects of poverty, and the horrors that occur behind closed doors. In the past two years, my ideas have not grown any more bitter, but rather crisper and more subtle: akin to the flavor of fresh yogurt, as opposed to the oversweetened ice cream of my childhood dreams. Today, my memories are filled with the smiles of all the exemplary doctors I have worked with, who provided a listening ear for those who might have had no other source of nonjudgmental, sincere caring and advice. Because of their guidance, I now know that it does not take a genius to a make a difference in a person’s life; a kind word might outshine any medication I could prescribe.
As I progress through medical school with my colleagues, I will remember that every iota of our career is full of meaning, in unequivocal connection with the very purpose of our human existence – a gift that very few other professions have. When we feel overburdened by the incredible responsibilities of our lives – drug addicts and noncompliant patients, patients we cannot treat because of nonexistent health insurance, healthcare legislations that shift like custard pudding underneath our feet – I will remember that the worst day of my career will be more meaningful than the best day of many others’ careers. Regardless of the challenges we face on our path, this is the kind of physician I would like to become.
I may just follow through with Dr. Haidet’s advice, and keep a folded printout of this response in my white coat pocket so I won’t ever lose sight of what brought me to medicine…