Undecided Yet?

Today was one of the busiest days of online clerkship so far. But I should say today was also one for the books.

I’m on Otorhinolaryngology Department this week which is my last rotation before the phase 2 of online clerkship next month. We had a discussion today about Maxillofacial Injuries and Reconstruction Surgeries with one of the most inspiring doctors I’ve ever met.

I knew Doc because she handled one of my small groups back in third year. I was excited today when I learned she’ll be handling our case discussion on maxillofacial trauma. At the end of our discussion, she asked each one of us what our career plans are (the most difficult question at this point of my career). I answered honestly saying I am still undecided between nothing. I have broad interests about several subspecialties and I really have no idea yet which one to pursue.

She then went on telling us motivational stories about her career, how she came to specialize in this field, etcetera. We were all awestruck with her stories and none of us left the meeting room uninspired or unmotivated.

Having this short motivational talk with Doc today made me realize how much I need an actual hospital exposure during this 365-day clerkship. Abraham Verghese in his book Cutting for Stone said, “There was nothing like personal experience to tilt a man toward a specialty…“. I really need that personal experience. I need to experience actual hospital work and have at least one major turning point that will make me say AHHHH THIS IS WHAT I WANT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. It’s difficult to gauge specialties in this online set-up because it just feels like classroom all over again. So I/we really need hospital exposure. Hoping that would happen soon, if the pandemic restrictions would already allow us.

Another thing, PGI-ship. Last week, our adviser announced that the hospital matching for Post-Graduate Internship begins next month. That’s another thing I am undecided about. There were so many hospitals I wanted to train under and the pros and cons are too difficult to weigh. But today, I was able to decide my top 3 hospitals. Thanks to Doc’s motivational speech!

Doc talked about how many of us lack courage. She observed that our generation easily backs out with just a small sign of intimidation, which was true. We love to stay in our comfort zones and that is what limits us from achieving more. Doc also mentioned that talent and intelligence are all insignificant. What we only need is grit. We only need to apply (send that application, write that essay!!!) and see what happens next.

Her words were soul-piercing. I loved my comfort zones and I’m always fearful of intimidation. I felt like she was talking directly to my heart. But she was right!!! We need not limit ourselves. We can be more.

She also said that once in your life you’ll meet someone who’ll show you that you can be more, you can achieve more and you can always go beyond. How blessed am I because I met that person today, again, for the second time.

Today was indeed exhausting. And yes I’m still undecided about what specialty to pursue but one thing I am sure of: today I gained renewed grit.

I guess I am good to go for the next few months.

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