“You are living the American dream, why would you put yourself through years of distress for a career that is filled with anxiety and politics?” I know she was only concerned for my well-being and her words were well intended, but they still cut deep; striking a nerve I have yet to perceive. The sting from the conversation lingered for weeks, and weighed heavy on my consciousness.
After much thought, I knew why the question hurt so much. I have been defending my decision, both internally and externally, for quite a while. The hardest thing, despite my education to this point, is being unable to eloquently articulate my desire to continue this crazy, sometimes uncertain, journey. I cannot describe why I would funnel my years of education and job experience into a job as an inpatient scribe, making slightly above minimum wage, while my peers chase executive salaries. Why would I devote 7-10 years of my life to work my way up the ranks in a world that seems to be more and more entrenched in a political framework?
I have yet to find the words to explain it, but whenever I am in a hospital, I simply know this is where I am meant to be. I continue to be humbled by the unparalleled nature of the doctor/patient relationship. Moreover, watching physicians tenderly heal patients so they can return home to their loved ones is amazing.
As a mother of four beautiful children, the wife of an Army soldier, a college graduate, and proud homeowner, I am living the American dream. Despite all of this, I feel alive when I study the human body. In addition, the excitement of new ground-breaking medical advances is unreal. One day, I will have the honor of utilizing these medical advances to save lives. Lives that would have been lost before such progression.
As a mother and a military police officer, effective communication is my life and was once my source of income. Yet, I have simply stopped trying to explain my new-found passion that fuels my desire to take on tremendous debt and intense studying and training.
Ultimately, I know that my pursuit of medicine is the best decision I have made. Some days the pressure to explain this is too great, yet the tears are a reminder of the underlying passion. No words need to be exchanged with my children. They know what I am pursing. My hope is that nontraditional premeds reading this, those who similarly cannot eloquently articulate their desire to pursue medicine, will be equally encouraged. Save your energy for the long days and nights ahead. In short, true passion cannot and should not be explained.
-Jessica D, North Carolina A&T (Guest Post)
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