By now, no one reading this should think I’m in medical school because I have a burning desire to help people and/or change the world. I mean, yes, I have a desire to do both, but frankly being a doctor is probably the last route I’d choose to achieve that. For several reasons. None of which I’ll be going into (now, at least).
I am here, more or less, because I can be. I am still in medical school because they haven’t kicked me out yet. Because I haven’t failed anything (knock on wood, KNOCK ON WOOD). Because Kharif has managed to talk me out of my two very serious, very impractical plans to drop out of medical school and be a happy bohemian. Because it’s impossible to do that in Jamaica (the happy part; it’s ridiculously easy to be bohemian here).
That’s the way things are done in this country. If you’re smart and good at science – do medicine. If you’re smart and good at words – do law. People will always tell children that they talk so much they should be a lawyer, like a back-handed complimentary self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re not brilliant at words or science, you pretty much get to do whatever. In the realm of business. Or teaching. That’s if you make it to university, of course.
(No offense, businesspeople and teachers. I have the utmost respect for you. As long as you’re doing your job right).
I’m not saying I got pigeon-holed into a career path. I’ve got no right to demand the same commiseration as people whose parents pushed them into something they’re going to regret for the rest of their lives (unless you count that time my mother made me stop dancing for two years in high school. But we’re not counting that). I went into medicine fully cognizant of the fact that not following your passions will make you miserable, but I was all about the hard life. And I also figured that since I had the aptitude, didn’t that mean I was obligated to serve my country in a way that not many people could?
I have since come to realize that that was utter BS. The great thing about passions (and similarly, talent) is that they’re wildly different for a reason. Every passion or talent can be harnessed to contribute meaningfully to society. Except serial killing. Unless maybe you only killed other serial killers? THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.
What I mean is, in an ideal society everyone would be doing what they loved best and society would thrive because of it. You wouldn’t need to bribe people with fringe benefits or yell at them with sticks (ballpoint pens? Clearly I have no idea how an office is run) to get them to do work. They’d do it because they loved it, every one: doctors, artists, lawyers, businessmen, garbage collectors, butchers, serial killers. (I’m kidding about the serial killers).
In an ideal world, passions wouldn’t have to get sacrificed so you can pay the bills. Or discarded because you couldn’t get in to the programme or job because it was full of people who had to give up on their own passions to pursue yours because it was more lucrative. (Protip: medicine is NOT lucrative).
And now I’m left wondering if I robbed someone of the chance to pursue their passion because I felt obligated to pursue medicine. I’m sorry nameless, faceless genuine lover of medicine, who probably got into med school the following year anyway. Because that’s another good thing about passions: where there’s a will there’s a way*. And med school is a whore for tuition-paying suckers. I mean students.
* – what I mean by this trite cliche is: when you want something badly enough, and you are willing to go the extra mile to achieve it (I’m talking about intangible things here, not like a PS4 or Galaxy 3) the universe is propelled into granting you that desire. At least, that’s what I like to believe.