I should like to write a thank you note to people. To people I know, the people I don’t, those from afar that have been influences in my life.
People are so fascinating. So many kind of people, so many souls out there searching and making connections. As I sit my rickety desk and stare at the postcards and greeting cards on my wall, I feel so infinitely blessed by the presence of all these people, these wonderful collections of atoms that have sought out my frequency from miles and miles away. So many people I who I can relate to at different levels.
I asked a friend on Tumblr, today, how she’s making it through medical school. Mandy is an Australian, in her 5th year, a fellow fan of Bones, the TV show. I wrote to her today because I wanted to ask how she survived the years. It is immense pressure as I am sure most of you are aware of, to some degree or another. There is so much pressure to perform and I often crumble. So, why not ask someone who has made it quite far?
This is an excerpt of what she wrote back to me:
In my first few weeks of med we had a camp for the first years called O-camp. I went along thinking it’d be a good opportunity to make some friends etc. The second and third years ran it, and one of them sat us down and gave us some advice about how to get through med. I can’t remember anything he said except one thing.
He said that we would question why we did medicine every day. And that it was totally normally. And totally okay. And didn’t mean we weren’t up to the job or that we shouldn’t be doing med.
She goes on to write that everyone goes through it, it’s a daily struggle no matter how smart the other person is:
How did I get through it? I wish I knew. Mostly, I just put one foot in front of the other and one day found myself in the final year of my degree. You just have to soldier on, keep focussing on the next horizon (holidays! A particularly fun placement!) and make sure you have things in your life that are totally separate from med (for me, that was mostly fandom, which I spent far too much time indulging in tbh).
I cherish these words because on the days that I’m going mad, it helps. One foot in front of the other. I can do that.
There are so many people who make a difference in the world. I have wonderful friends who are my stronghold, I have my family who keep me rooted no matter how dysfunctional we get, I have my faith in God and in my religion, the saints that inspire me to move forward. There are successful people outside of my field, like designers and singers and photographers that simply inspire me by seeing the world in a different way.
I was listening to this talk by Andrew Solomon, where he speaks on how the worst moments in our lives form who we are. There’s this particular bit:
We don’t seek the painful experiences that hew our identity. But we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bear a pointless torment but we can endure great pain, if we believe that it’s purposeful.
(It is a lovely thought-provoking talk that you should listen to)
I find that I gain so much from hearing people like him talk. From people who have something to share with the world, to help broaden our understanding of who we are and what life is. If you stop for a moment and just think, think of who you are, where the world is in this universe, of people who have created so many of the amenities around us, people who have shaped and guided our nations, that have guided ourselves to where we are… isn’t it mind-blowing?
People. People are amazing. No other creature is as emotional or as violent or broken than people. The people who write songs, who act and dance. The people who write sonnets about the universe in the way they study the movement of particles. The people who reach out their hands to heal others through any means possible. The people who love so much and give so much for the sake of their families or their countries.
People. Just, people.