…it’d be to be more open to change and the unknown. One thing that I learned during my freshman year is that it’s okay to change your mind. At 18 or 19 years old, no one expects you to have life all figured out and it’s important to recognize that yourself. Almost a year ago I moved very far away from home and I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect that to change me. I actually wanted to change, I wanted to grow as a person and I wanted to explore who I was. I did not however expect to change what I wanted to do as a career. Being a doctor is all I ever wanted to be for as long as I could remember. Letting that idea go seemed silly, risky, and unnecessary. I know I would have been fine if I ended up going to med school, but I now know that being fine is not what I want anymore. I wish my freshman self knew that when something doesn’t exactly feel right, like going to med school did for me, that that’s an opportunity to explore things that do feel right. I wish I knew that important life decisions deserve lengthy conversations and that there’s people to help me weigh my options. I wish I knew that people wouldn’t hate me for changing my mind every now and then and that I would find support in so many places. And lastly I wish that I knew that not knowing where my life is headed, as scary as it sounds, can be pretty exciting too.
The thing that surprised me most from Dr. Zikmund-Fisher’s discussion was the idea of benefit and loss in doing things. When we think of smoking, we think of it as a bad habit that only causes harm and has no actual benefit. In Thursday’s class however, we were given the example of an old woman, dying of cancer (not lung cancer) that longed to smoke a cigarette with an old friend. The cigarette wasn’t going to kill her any faster than her cancer would, so who would we be to deny her that one smoke?
This also works the other way around. We think that many things are only beneficial even when there’s a downside that may not be as apparent. No one would argue that insulin is bad for a diabetic, it would still change that person’s daily life drastically and that may not be something the patient is willing to do. The main point of this discussion was that we oftentimes don’t think about the cost something might have to a person. The benefits may be very apparent and to many an absolute no-brainer while others may not be willing to take on such a burden.
I will try to always keep this discussion in the back of my mind in the future, especially when I’m practicing medicine. Most of the time it’s not up to me to make a decision regarding a patient’s life and it’s extremely important to present facts neutrally and let choices, in the end be the patient’s. I will usually not know the exact circumstances a patient’s in and the only person that knows what they can and can’t handle is the patient himself.
In my letter to myself I have pretty accurately predicted all of the things I will be involved with here on campus. Student organisations, research and sports. I’m proud of having managed my time so well, that I was able to fit everything under one hat. I hope that for the next semester I will be able to stay involved in everything that I currently am. Over the course of this semester I gained a lot of independence, I am a continent away from my family after all. I was facing many challenges, like making friends, but I feel like I’ve managed pretty well. The exposure I’ve had to professional relationships has grown exponentially, something that I’m still getting adjusted to, but also something that will definitely help me in the future. Two things that definitely need improvement are my sleep and exercise schedules. I want to bring some routine into both and thus make sure that neither is being neglected.
The thing that surprised me the most was that even with a C on your transcript you have a chance of making it to medical school or that even if you’ve failed a class you can get admitted into the School of Public Health. So in general, that med school admissions are not just about your grades.
In the past couple of months I’ve had the chance to talk to the one or other pre-med/BME major. A hard path, as everyone keeps reminding me, that’s even harder on your grades. It’s generally known that engineering students don’t have the greatest GPA’s, which is fine if you plan on working in the engineering field. If you, however, plan on attending medical school having a good GPA is very important. Or at least that’s what I thought. Some of the people I’ve talked to are thinking of transferring out of engineering into the college of LS&A because they think that having a good GPA is worth more than majoring in something that truly interests them. I felt anxious when having such a conversation. Was I doing the right thing, staying in engineering and pursuing a degree that might make me a less competitive applicant for medical school?
After listening to the talks last Thursday I feel a lot more confident in what I’m doing. What a medical school wants to see is that you’re passionate. I feel like medical schools have finally realized that students with straight A’s might not be the people that make the best health professionals. It’s the people that are passionate about what they’re doing and that care about their communities that make good health professionals. A holistic approach to admissions allows schools to admit students based on the values that they think make for a good health professional.
What do you think makes a good health professional? How could you try and show that you have some of those traits that you thought about for the first question?