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.
8 thoughts on “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I’m looking at you, serial killers.”
This post is perfect and I am nominating you for a Nobel Prize for Literature and you are going to win and we are all going to Switzerland and then after you get the prize you are going to marry Kharif and have big headed writer babies because this post was just that good. *pant pant*
“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.” That one resonated with me. It’s what I always heard, and I went through a phase in high school where I couldn’t give a damn about being a doctor. I find myself caring less and less, but ugh people need to broaden their horizons.
It’s the culture of our country. On one hand it’s good to encourage your children to be ambitious, but those are not the only two options out there!
Wow. I’m definately (for now hopefully) in the dream following crowd and even being on that road, there are many days when I want to quit. The good news is that even while you’re doing med and (supposedly) very busy you’re finding ways to do what you love. Props to you for that cuz people with more time on their hands don’t use it as well as you do. You write really well m’dear. Makes me want to drop this academia thing, put on some chill music and type all the ramblings in my head.
But for now, I leave that to you :) And for the sake of that nameless faceless person, do your best at Med :)
I’m happy for you, in the follow-your-dream crowd! I’m trying my best (in writing AND medicine); your support means a lot. :)
I still think you should blog too!
I agree, people should be pushed in the direction they chose, not the one a parent wants which is so often the case. But also some parents give their kids no direction which isn’t good either.
I never understood the doctor/ lawyer thing. Lawyers are for the most part despisable. And modern doctors are generally inept in caring for people (not saying you are!).
Prestige and money – that’s it really, but that’s never equal to a fulfilling life.
I take no offence! I’m not a doctor yet. :)
Prestige and money matter a lot more than fulfilment in terms of survival, which is what most parents are concerned about.