By Anuja Mali
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the truths about choosing to study Medicine is that, from the moment you decide to go down that road, you are bombarded with the same question.
“Why medicine? You’d think that once you get into medical school, you’ll never be asked that question ever again, but you are.
I am a first-year medical student aspiring to become a surgeon. I know I know- SURGERY? And how are you so sure about it? You have just started your med school. You haven’t even seen the patients. Do you even know how much time and hard work it takes to become a well-renowned surgeon?
So, how do I respond when people ask me if I’m scared about how long it takes to become a doctor? There’s the classic “you’ll get older anyways so you may as well be a doctor! For me this is different. “There is a special joy that comes with the practice of surgery. Surgeons, indeed, are distinguished by the art and craft of their ability to perform surgical procedures or operations.”
Medicine is different for different people. Most likely, it’s something along the lines of you love patients; you are an obsessed huge geek about the body. Most likely you care about social justice issues and strongly believe in the right of health for all. You probably are passionate about innovative care, observing the microscopic organs, maybe discovering treatments, and giving your time for the benefit of others. The main thing you’re missing out on is being the leader and the paycheck of course but those things come with time. And as a disclaimer: the length of training is a non-issue to me. We live our dream every day and if it’s what you want and what you’re passionate about there is no reason to elude your calling.
Each person defines success in different ways. To know even one life has been improved by my actions affords me immense gratification and meaning. That is success to me. I want to have the ability to provide care and treatment on a daily basis as a physician. I hope not only to care for patients with the same compassion with which physicians do but to add to the daily impact I can have by tackling large-scale issues in health. And not to forget the day when I’ll do my first surgery when I will treat my first patient or listen to the heartbeat of the first child I will deliver as a doctor. To me, empathy is the essence.
There is something sacred, and empowering, about providing support when people need it the most. I think medicine is rewarding and eye-opening but simultaneously challenging and helping people at their most vulnerable times is a privilege.
My reason for sticking with medicine from 6th grade for all these years is due to my intrinsic and fierce desire to help and save the lives of others. I want to be a hero, not with weapons or superpowers, but with a scalpel. The knight in shining scrubs. It’s such a profound feeling that it’s quite hard to explain what it’s like. It’s not something that can be learned; you can’t be taught to want to be a doctor. That intense thirst for medicine, it just is, and there is truly no other way to put it.
Truth be told, it’s not something you can explain in simple terms. It’s a very personal dream; a very strong dream. And the desire to help others is unexplainable. But you’re the only one who knows why you go into medicine. And why you want to pursue the hard journey. And why you want to go through it all. I have no doubt that the next ten years will be similarly unpredictable, but I can assure you that no matter what obstacles I face, my goal will remain the same. And I know with certainty that this is the profession for me. Medicine is personal; deep down in my soul.
Anuja Mali is a first-year medical student aspiring to become a
trauma surgeon. She is driven by curiosity to understand human health,
especially in women! She is also passionate about academic research and
can’t wait to approach clinical practice.
Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and, as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.