Suffering. I’m a medical student in a developing country and have seen quite a bit of suffering. My parents are both doctors and when either of them had a night shift, we would get some take out and go have dinner together in their room in the hospital- it was a nice bonding experience. Every single time, I would see people in the corridors wailing and crying over their dead loved ones, or patients lying on makeshift beds in the corridors with IV drips running into them, and doctors and nurses all running around doing their job. I remember thinking “Yeah, math is my favourite subject, and I love physics and chemistry too- it would be great to be an engineer or a scientist scientist some day- but I would be lucky to be able to be a part of what these doctors are doing.”
The entrance exams for medical and engineering schools are crazy competitive in my country (India) and the trend is to take extra classes right from middle school- so I did. In 11th and 12 th grade, I used to sleep for 4-5 hours a night and study the entire day, 6 days a week. In India, you get into med school after 12th grade, so I was 17 when I joined and will graduate a little before my 22nd birthday. I’ve done pretty much nothing but studying (and a few extra curriculars in school) all my life. I’ve managed to keep a few hobbies (cooking, baking, reading, art, working out) but I rarely find time for those. I’m finally managing to find some time to go out and watch movies and travel a little, so that’s great.
It’s been a long journey, but I have loved every second of it. I cannot wait to be done with my finals in a couple months and to actually start real life as an actual doctor. Actually being in medical school for the past 4.5 years has been an experience unlike any other- I know nothing I will ever do will free all people of their suffering- but I am proud to have a small part in making a positive difference in someone’s life. The sacrifices were large, but my inconvenience is nothing compared to the suffering illness brings. When my sick patient who was on the verge of death walks out of the hospital, or when I perform my first surgery- it will all be worth it.