Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you chose a different path? If you studied something different in college? If you didn’t attend college? That question flies across my conscious almost every day now whilst at the height of my college career.
I’m by declaration and by passion a pre-medical student, hoping one day to become a radiologist. But even my advisors disagree with my premature decision of knowing what speciality I desire to pursue. They’re right by all means. It is premature of me to all of a sudden know what path I expect myself to take once I graduate with my undergrad with the expectations of attending medical school. I was humbled, and accept that I might not always know for every moment of my life what I want my future to be.
I’m at my desk. It’s 11 PM on a Sunday night, and I’m writing this story instead of studying for a molecular biology midterm or studying more for my organic chemistry class; two big classes in which I need good grades to keep up my science GPA, in order to remain comfortable in regards to this whole medical school thing.
It’s hard. My classes are hard, but I love them....well...at least when I’m on top of it all and not falling behind like every self-motivated procrastinating college student normally does. When times are hard, and I feel as if this path is not the one for me, I always wonder what my life would be like if I wasn’t pre-med, if I had kept a more open mind towards other majors at the beginning of my college career. As I’ve gotten older, matured, received the chance to travel the world, and serve others, I really ask myself if medicine is right for me. We ALL have this type of moment in our lives. It’s no if or if not, but rather WHEN we experience it. I love photography; I’m not good at it by any means whatsoever, but what if I had changed my major my freshman year? I could’ve already had my career more laid out for me than I would if I stick with medical school. I love traveling, sports, and writing. What if I instead went into journalism or tourism or business management? My life could’ve been completely different than what it is now.
Over this recent Christmas break, I was given the opportunity to shadow multiple surgeons, physicians, and residents in their respective specialties. My back, feet, and eyes tired from observing countless heart surgeries, knee and hip replacements, and MRI and CT scans. I was exhausted, BUT I was happy. My adrenaline rushed as I watched the surgeon and nurses perform CPR on an emergent patient. I stood their numb, without feeling or emotion, as they pronounced him dead. In a way you could say I’m desensitized but not completely. I felt that adrenaline rush every time I stepped foot into the OR and every time I helped a resident read a brain or musculoskeletal scan. My mind zoned out, and for a time I forgot my problems even existed, and I received a reconfirmation that medicine is my passion; no matter how difficult and arduous right now the path may seem.
Go ahead and tell me that what I am feeling is premature, and that the more classes I take in my undergrad the more I’ll want to change my mind in regards to my future career path. You can tell me, but I’ll ignore you.
Yes, I continue to ask myself “what if?” And I will sometimes feel that I could’ve been happier if I’d studied something other than medicine, but in the thick of everything I remind myself that at the end of it all, “It’ll all be worth it.”