There are a lot of things I’ve sacrificed for you. I’ve given up sleep in favour of seven-thirty ward rounds and the excitement of having fifteen doctors ignore me every morning. I’ve said goodbye to normal relationships, finally acknowledging that not only do these need time, but most intelligent people recoil at tales of surgery gone wrong and how you scored your first PR exam. I’ve learnt to eat irregularly and infrequently, scheduling surgary snacks between studies and surgeons. I’ve discovered that caffeine is a food group and that one can survive for days on nothing but black coffee.
But I’ve also watched myself and my colleagues fall into your trap and be consumed by you. Sucked into your vortex so strongly that help seeking becomes an impossibility. Found my reason to wake up and take notes on ward rounds slipping from me, a descent matched only by my grades. I’ve been alone at night, numb and exhausted. Meetings with the faculty in failed attempts to make everything okay.
Dear med school, remember this: I will not give up. I will become a doctor, and I will become a good doctor. I will change this world, despite the obstacles you challenge me with. I will grow up and grow strong and dedicate my life to make sure that no one has to feel this low.
Once upon a time, med school was thought to sort the weak from the strong—I don’t believe this for a minute. Med school isn’t designed to set us up for failure, and nor should it. Call me naive for thinking I can change the system, but I will never stop believing.