Monday, May 31, 2010

what do you mean "why medicine?" ?

Tomorrow is the first day to submit primary applications for the 2011 medical school application cycle. In observation of this occasion, today's feature is both inspired and brought to you by round two.

It's cold and rainy and I'm happy- unmissable signs that I write you from Seattle where my mind, body, and spirit are delighting in the much needed break from Southern California. Playtime has been highly self-regulated however, as I'm here in effort to isolate myself from the "real" life distractions that make conquering the MCAT a la carte, an unrealistic endeavor. And though I recognize it to be a full-time gig, I also find that I am made more efficient by taking the time once every so often to keep mindful of the ultimate motive behind my mental exhaustion - the prospect of becoming a physician.

But why?! !

The personal comments section of the primary medical school application begs this very question, and it too, was the first of those asked during the first (and only) interview I was granted last autumn. Those who have had the misfortune to experience me during a time of emotional crisis, can attest to the value I place on self-actualization and introspection. Even so, I can't help but feel a bit less than dubious toward the suggestion that I am equipped with the adequate insight to faithfully explicate such a personal inquiry, mediating naivete and flippancy, AND within the confines of a character limit. You see, pursuing an acceptance to medical school has come to dominate my existence so profoundly, that posing the question "why medicine?" might as well request that I elucidate the meaning of life - and from the mouth of a twenty five year old, an attempt to answer would at best come across cliched, at worst, arrogant, and in any case, foolish. Following my pattern of self-defeating behavior however, I will opt to elaborate.

Shopping malls terrify me and consumer culture annoys me. In fact, I find the prospect of debt so burdensome that I would rather live, still, with my mother and escaped from the immurement of financial crisis, than with exercised stronghold over my social integrity. As a young adult, I lament the economic consequences of these sentiments not having been shared by more, but as a former seventeen year-old and imminent undergraduate, boom times and a cultivated bank account once sufficed to distract me from the irony that was my high school summer-job.

Nearly a decade ago, I worked to improve the lives of women by selling shoes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. While I cannot say enough good things about the company itself, I am unabashed to express my then hatred for this job - perpetuated less by the irremovable scent of foot on my hands, than by the dissonance engendered sensing myself contrived. Not easily defeated, I craftily learned to reconcile this imbalance by refusing to "sell" and instead, casting a diffident line into the pool that surrounded the Jimmy Choos and Christian Louboutins – shoes so great, they sold themselves.

I can draw parallels between my experience (not)selling shoes, and the esteem with which I regard medicine. Articulating the allure of a career in the medical field is about as redundant as highlighting the aesthetic benefits of a two thousand-dollar-pair-of-heels to a shoeaholic with a recent inheritance... be it shoes or a prospective career, I'd be hard convinced that advertising does anything but belie value where quality is implicit and necessity inherent.

But really, why medicine?

In an instant, I can bullet such career perks as intellectual challenge, livable income, job flexibility, and the cross-cultural perception of doctors as noble and necessary; but the weight of medicine's appeal resides in my faith that it couples more meaning than anything I can yet comprehend. It will only be once my brain has reached the terminal end of the convoluted road that leads to its very own heart, that I will be able to respond: "this is why medicine"... and so then, will it also be revealed the meaning of my life.

No comments: