Why medicine? (one student’s thoughts)

One of the more pessimistic medical blogs that I read while trying to decide whether or not to stay in medicine defined it well – this course is Nerd Everest.  In my experience, the most rewarding things to study are usually the ones that seem to actively repel any attempts to understand them.  For a long time I hated learning piano, until one day it mysteriously clicked.  Studying physics for the Leaving Cert was the same – at some point the thing just stops kicking you in the brain, and decides that you’ve earned a shot at real comprehension.  Both required discovering a new way of thinking about the material, and I don’t think medicine is going to be any different.  Some day, what seems like a melisma of clumsily co-opted greco-roman, just a whole shanty town of syllables, may turn into something intrinsically meaningful and intuitive (I hope).
I can’t say I’m not disappointed at the lack of anything to just sit around and ponder, because that’s how I imagined college to be since I was old enough to imagine it.  A possible exception is ethics, though instead of meandering philosophical chats, it’s a case of playing at being lawyers for a few hours, since one traditionally prestigious career wasn’t enough.
Medicine gets stuck in my head to a much greater extent than any other subject I’ve ever studied, in a sometimes literally visceral way.  When I was on my way home at the weekend the moon was shining over the Suir as brightly as I’ve ever seen, and the first thing I thought about was how the texture of the river’s surface looked remarkably similar to that of the mystery hernia discovered at my anantomy table earlier in the week.
This year I live in the city, at the back of an old Georgian house with a view of a community centre from my bedroom window.  While I’m glad that I don’t get tormented by traffic noise, there are drawbacks.  This past week there have been exams going on in the centre, which have been giving me the fantods.  It’s an environment that’s getting more and familiar, comfortable even, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  So what if the only thing I’m good at anymore is taking exams (and even then, it’s hit and miss)?


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