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Medical School – Working Hard but Rarely Bored

Medicine can be pretty tough, but boring? There is always something interesting to see or learn.

Although I was busy during my undergraduate studies, I can still remember days or weeks where I would be bored with school. If I was particularly on top of my school work, I would often take the weekend off and do absolutely nothing productive and instead something fun. I would slack for weeks at a time and know that I could catch up. I remember studying for chemistry intensely until I knew the periodic table and each element’s properties down cold. There were tests where I could recite dozens of physic formulas without the need for a cheat sheet. I remember having to find extra work to do to challenge myself, get involved in clubs, and push myself to go beyond class expectations.

On the contrary, nowadays it seems like work always has a way finding me. It’s rare to have a spare moment just to read leisurely or contemplate about life’s big mysteries. There’s always more diseases to study, new terms to look up, clinical opportunities to be involved with. And I know as soon as clerkship starts and residency, it’s only going to get busier.

Medicine is challenging. Compounded with my initial dislike for rote memorization – though it has improved a lot – I often find learning everything overwhelming. When I peruse the titles on the library shelves, there seems to be a textbook for every imaginable disease possible, irregardless of how obscure they may be. There’s such a variety of subjects to learn, ranging from anatomy to epidemiology to each specific specialty. For a curious person like myself who likes to know everything about anything, I find it hard to have the same confidence of knowledge as I did in undergrad. Even for common conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, there is a wealth of knowledge out there that keeps changing.

I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to go to medical school. Long hours, grunt work and a whole lot to learn. It can get draining, mentally, emotionally and physically. There will be days where going to the washroom and taking a nice hot shower will become a luxury. Sleepless nights, angry patients, grieving families. Life long learning until the day you stop practicing.

There’s always something to do, something to learn, something to challenge you. It’s a trade-off I can live with.

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One Comment

  1. drcharles
    drcharles February 10, 2010

    I agree with many of your thoughts here. Carefree days of not thinking are rare indeed, and with so much to learn and be stimulated by, it is hard to go blank for long.

    I think free time really vanishes with children, enjoy it while it lasts 🙂

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