One of the most important distinctions in my life occurred to me during my senior year of high school, and that was the difference between experiencing passion for something and simply living through a phase. Long story short, this realization helped me find my niche as a student and could be the means for finding what intrigues you.
Very early on, I was given the opportunity to shadow a physician that was very knowledgeable in his field. Granted, I ‘cold-called’ various hospitals around the state and physicians within them in attempt to find someone who would welcome me. Luckily, I did. For the first couple of months, however, the shadowing was not all that intensive. It was not until my first two years of undergrad that I shadowed every chance I had. After witnessing epidural injections, facet blocks, and radio frequency ablations being done on patients with chronic back pain, I was eager to learn more. It was almost as if I was star-struck after seeing these procedures done, but that simply wasn’t enough for me. After each patient interaction, we would head back to the office to talk over the procedure. Being explained the risks of nicking the dura or spinal cord while performing epidural injections and the importance of stabilizing the needle in only the epidural space are some examples of how my interest levels peaked.
I was quickly being introduced to topics that intrigued me in a way that nothing else could
The things mentioned above are what lead me to working in the dead of night in attempt to decipher the human body and all of its potential. I started to view the body as a process, not a finished product. After being immersed in a hospital setting and transitioning that experience to my rigorous studying from textbooks, I was training myself to sort concepts together. While studying for my MCAT, I was introduced to deciphering the various hormones that would be released in an applicable situation where homeostasis was compromised. I finally understood the physiological effects of diabetes, how blood pressure can be maintained at ideal values, and how HIV is contracted at the cellular level. Some of the things that I thought I would be learning in medical school are now being applied early on in my educational career. All of these things fuel my vision of becoming a physician.
Enough about me, what motivates you? Where/who did you shadow, and depending on that place or person, what did you see that intrigued you? Did a patient – physician interaction make you want to ask questions regarding diagnosis or treatment? Did the daily life of the physician you shadowed complement your ideal life as a physician? If so,
“Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.”