But if you’re a high school student – or otherwise at the threshold of choosing a career – you might wonder, WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE ME? If you have been told your whole life that you need simply to do what you love (and you’ll “never work a day in your life”, yada yada yada), you might not know HOW else to choose a path forward.
My suggestion? Ye ole’ trusty mindmap.
Many of ours (mine included) may have looked something like this:
I’m waiting on exam results (nail-biting!) but I remain surprised and grateful that I actually survived TWO hell-weeks this year. Our exams don’t only assess our competence as future doctors, but also our nerves. They are an emotional game, pushing us to our limits in the span of a week. I mean, they won’t admit it, but that’s pretty much what happens.
When you’re studying and it feels like you will never know it all, this helps:
My friends and I have an unhealthy obsession with T-Rex. It all started when one of the guys said, completely randomly, that dinosaurs became extinct because Rex had a tummy-itch and couldn’t reach to scratch it. (You had to be there.) There are so many funny T-rex pictures, and since then I’ve found Hugh Murphy’s awesome Tumblr, T-Rex Trying. It’s hilarious and sad and you should check it out.
Today this blog turns four years old. Technically a few minutes to midnight yesterday, but it’s much of a muchness really. Four years ago I wrote about practising speculum exams on sim-dolls in the skills lab. I was so embarrassed to do a bimanual examination on a doll in front of my male classmates. Everything was new and scary and who would have guessed that four years later we would be effortlessly sliding speculae and doing Pap smears and getting ready for the big wide world.
I’m writing to ask you please to not do that thing.
You know what I’m talking about.
It’s a Saturday morning, or the middle of the night on an overnight call, or whatever: it is a time of day that nobody wants to be working. And we are working. Maybe we are working on the same service, maybe I don’t know you from a bar of soap.
I am sitting in the doctors’ room writing notes for the latest patient that arrived in our care. You come in and sit next to me, looking for results on the computer or making notes for your own patient or maybe just drinking a coffee.
You see the design of my name badge so you know that if everything goes well, I will graduate by the end of the year and be one of your colleagues.
Then: you let out a long sigh and say loudly, “You know, it’s not too late to walk away and change your career.”
OUR INTERNSHIP RESULTS CAME OUT A WHOLE MONTH IN ADVANCE!!! Annnnnnd… I got my first choice! I’m going back to my home town!!!
South African Internship works a little differently than in for example North America. For one, it’s not considered part of specialising, but it IS considered part of further training – we are qualified doctors who GET PAID and are sue-able (!!) but we have logbooks all over again and learn new skills like doing C-sections solo. Our internships are two years long and we rotate through most disciplines again. Continue reading “I have a job! Ima be an adult! (Wait… WHAT?!)”→
It’s alive! (This feature, that is.) Today I chat to Inutti McApple (nickname) about her fifth year elective in Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, which I know next to nothing about. Inutti is now a final year student at Stellenbosch University and set to start internship in January! I’ll give the rest over to her.
Before I left high school, I compiled a book with letters and notes from friends and teachers. I still own this book, and it has served its job in reminiscing and inspiration many times. But one thing that still guts me a little is that so many messages from teachers proclaim, “You are going to LOVE university!” and well… it just wasn’t as awesome as they promised it would be.
Of course, I don’t BLAME them. How were they to know?