Saturday, January 17, 2009
Heavy with ambition, lofty dreams, and the pounds I packed for the past 15 years, I fumbled through my first year of being a doctor. The routines of being a student have been stripped of my system, in the sense that I have ceased to enjoy the privilege and security of waking up in the morning knowing exactly where I will be for that day and the next. I am not denying though, that the profession I have chosen automatically guarantees a permanent status of “student.” I am sure that doctors all over the world will agree that this is what in fact Medicine is – a life-long acquisition of knowledge. In other words, once a person becomes a doctor, he remains a student of Life for life. I remember an old mentor who morbidly told us during brain-cutting that a doctor who stops studying is as good as dead. I must be sounding like someone condemned. Once I passed the licensure examination, there came the uncertainty. The next stage and the next step to my career as a health professional lay before me like a dark, barren crossroad without warning signs, stoplights, or even street lamps. What to do next would have been easy for others who are fortunate to have already known which direction to take even before reaching this same juncture. But for me and a few others who have varied interests, sensibilities, and priorities, it is more difficult. Compounding the situation is this dreadful factoid of my so-called life: I may have proven my worth in the class room setting but with regard to the intricacies of the real world, I feel naïve, inexperienced and, to tell you the truth, retarded. The world outside the sheltered walls of the class room is a realm to which constant practice is a necessity, if only to grasp at the edges of mastering how to live well.