Test on Tuesday, paper due Friday, shadowing on Wednesday, volunteering on Thursday, health fair on Saturday… and the list goes on. I look down at my notepad, unsure if I’m ready to face the numerous tasks ahead of me. As raindrops begin to beat against my dorm room window, I can’t help but feel as though I’m falling into a monotonous, endless cycle. It is then that I start questioning myself, my identity, and my career path.
I think most premedical students go through a similar moment at least once on their path to medical school. I, for one, am no exception. I had always believed that these moments were low points in my life, making me feel unsure of my future. However, I have come to realize that it is these moments that make you stronger. They make you think, and this thinking is what ultimately shapes you into the doctor that you finally will be. Most importantly, they make you truly realize the answer to the critical question, “Why medicine?”
These thoughts didn’t start to click in my head until one day during my freshman year. I was walking back from class to my dorm room, ready to take some time to relax after a hard day. But, as soon as I got to my room, I froze. I suddenly realized that I had completely forgotten about the volunteering activity that I had planned to participate in that day. I quickly calculated that I could get there in 10 minutes, if I left immediately. I wouldn’t be late and I would even have time to grab coffee at my favorite shop along the way. With my plan carefully laid out, I took my things and ran out of the door. However, after taking a few steps, I stopped without meaning to. I tried taking a few more steps, but I stopped again. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I started to feel as though my mind and body were in different places. My mind wanted to move, but my body didn’t want to come with it. Frustrated, I marched back to my room, unaware of what was happening.
My mind raced and questions started arising out of nowhere. I kept hearing the word “why” reverberate through my ears. “Why this career path? Why this activity? Why now?” With my subconsciousness completely taking over, I grabbed sticky notes from my desk and started writing down hundreds of different thoughts and phrases. Many of these words were my attempts to answer the questions about medicine that filled my head. In the beginning, it seemed as if my reasons were weak or not heartfelt. However, after a couple of minutes, I started feeling differently. I realized that it was because I began to remember why. I remembered the experiences that first made me fall in love with medicine. I remembered the people who had believed in me and who had taught me to never give up, no matter the situation. I remembered the patients, the ones who had truly inspired and invigorated me to take on a lifelong career of helping. And that was enough for me to get back on my feet and start walking.
Inside my dorm room now, there’s a wall of sticky notes, filled with my reasons for pursuing medicine. Each note that I’ve made is a symbol of who I am. It’s become another integral piece of my development into a physician. Although it may feel as though it is too early to become burnt out or that you shouldn’t feel mixed feelings about becoming a doctor, I truly believe that the questioning that I have done through these notes has made me stronger. They have revived an energy in me that keeps me from forgetting why I chose this path. Having doubts but then coming back more determined has, in a way, made medicine that much more special for me.
About Anisha Guda
Anisha is a rising junior majoring in biology in the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Facilitated Acceptance to Medical Education (FAME) Program. As the President and Founder of the Unite For Sight chapter at her university, she actively works to provide free eye care services to underserved populations through Zoe Eye Clinic in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In addition, she serves as a Blood Drive Coordinator for the American Red Cross and provides services to disaster victims in her area. Her passion for writing has led her to take on several initiatives including the establishment of a blog that allows for the distribution of ideas amongst students in other BS/MD Programs. Additionally, she has launched a pilot project that works to integrate creative arts programs into hospitals and clinics in her community so that she can share her love for the arts with others. She is presently searching for resources to implement her ideas in other communities across the nation. Anisha is also a research intern in the Department of Neurosurgery in the School of Medicine in San Antonio.