Read enough out-of-the-way books, talk to some rather strange people, or even visit random obscure sites on the internet and you’ll find some great advice that no other place will provide (that and then some.) I fall in one of those categories and seeing as how I don’t recall the last time someone published me, let’s then just say that this strange person would like to give you some advice.
Do not, for the love of all that is pure and good (and I repeat, do not) encourage anyone to go become a doctor.
Of course there a myriad of professions many people are advised against, Law, Engineering, Bull-fighting and Child-trafficking being in the mix, but I shall stick to what I am certain of for now.
At the end of all this you might ask why I didn’t give you this piece of information before the highschoolers applied for courses but man, with the festivities going on, I could think of little else and not for the reasons you assume. It was impossible to do anything else during this season, when guys just decide to cut themselves up with broken bottles and try to stop moving cars with their bodies. People suddenly go all ‘challenge accepted’ and try to see how much diarrhea their body can handle before their butts burst into flames and there are always those families that let their 5-year olds get drunk. That last one though, was a little funny…just a little, don’t judge me!
Now, some people actually want their friends/children to turn into some depraved and jaded human beings for a while and hey if that is you, then ignore the advice and do your thing. Let your friends bury themselves in their books, have weeks of being vegetarian as they slice up those cadavers, deal with the sexual harassment (though admittedly, this is not just limited to Med school) and come out of it all only to find, the cycle just repeats itself. They’ll have their boyfriends attend New Year’s Eve parties while they’re stuck in some emergency room dealing with those strange fellows who somehow manage to get firework burns before midnight.
At some point or the other, human beings got addicted to breathing and doctors are carefully bred for more than half a decade, at the very least, to further this addiction. The price seems to be our own sanity, though. There are a couple of things people should prepare to experience while in the profession and I’ve paragraphed them for your reading pleasure; because lists are far too main-stream.
Much like in some movie about endless dreams, they should prepare to feel like old souls stuck in young bodies and will be having ‘mid-life crises’ at 24 years. They’ll forget why euphemisms are necessary in today’s society and call spades, spades, boobs, breasts and nether-regions…well, you get the point. Discussing bodily fluids and excreta during meals will become commonplace and people in pork-joints will discretely shift their chairs away from them in disgust (true story.) Slowly, they’ll turn into those people at the movies who point out the inaccuracies of the film like how that baby has no umbilical cord attached to it yet nothing was cut and how that bullet should have ruptured his spleen; “CPR is not done like that you crazy person,” they’ll find themselves shouting. Caffeine will become a necessity and they’ll start to jump at the sound of any phone ringing, anywhere because it will remind them of people calling from the Emergency Room at ungodly hours of the night. They will hate the media as it embellishes and milks stories of medical malpractice that they know for a fact are not what they seem and will have to deal with people just calling them ‘doc’ which is a way of the world saying ‘screw you and your medical crap, to us you’re all nameless slaves that must respond to one title.’
If however, you positively enjoy having endless sleep debts that shall never be repaid and simply cannot resist the idea of not being sure whether you love your profession or not, then this is the road you should take. There are plenty of thrilling encounters with patients who’ll loathe you and assume they know everything simply because someone else in a white coat taught them the secrets of the universe when they visited his clinic in town. It’s really the perfect place for those whose hopes and dreams don’t lie beyond when their next day off shall be so they can finally catch that movie that came out 6 months ago but end up sleeping halfway through it. Indeed, you will meet TB patients in taxis, coughing and hacking away as if they’re in their own quarantined room and know-it-alls who assume that WebMD is the way to go; doesn’t that sound like fun? Sometimes you will want to scream “#$$%&**@!!#” back at your superiors but interestingly enough, your brain will be so out of tune, all that will come out will be “yes sir. And may I add how perfectly white your coat is today.”
Now, of course the profession does pay off about two and a half decades or so later and there are many patient people out there who are willing to wait for all that time.
The rest of us poor sods are quite literally stuck in an endless cycle simply because we don’t know how to do anything else anymore. I do hope I have succeeded in warning you off.
*Disclaimer: my counsel has nothing to do with not wanting to share any money and prestige that the profession affords. And all the Ugandan-based doctors ask “which money?”