a young pakistani doctor blogs...
Monday, June 06, 2005
  Its hard.
After a huge cup of coffee, I’m still feeling fat, sluggish, slow and useless. And I’m also feeling bloated. It’s a new morning, but a sound night’s sleep and lots of cable last night did little to rejuvenate me. Sometimes I wonder if my state of mind would improve if I had really good, fun friends I could relax with. Or having somewhere to go to hang out. As it is, my greatest hope for relief from the tedium of books and pressures of exams is watching cable. But I hardly know anyone here in Islamabad and there is little one can do in Peshawar for recreation. Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

But mebbe I’m just trying to rationalize my feeling when that’s not really possible. I mean I find this study stuff difficult. I get fed up quickly and have to force myself onwards. But maybe that’s how it is! Let me tell you something two friends of mine told me, both independent of each other, both scoring 99s in their Step 1. The older one told me that when he studies for long periods (like 10-12 hours a day for weeks), he feels suicidal. He says the depression is almost unbearable and went on to elaborate on how much he hated studying. Yet here was this guy who scored so highly in his step 1 and studied incredible periods of time to achieve that. He also said something that made a lot of sense. He said that if studying medicine were fun, everyone would be a great doctor. Its only because medical school and the material we have to cover for it (and for the Steps) is so difficult that few people get into medical school in the first place, and even fewer of those go on to become really good doctors.

The second once saw me staring mournfully at my book. We were sitting at the same table. He was studying for the Step 1, and would go on to get a 99. A very hard worker, this chap. He told me never to wait for the day when I’d actually enjoy studying or feel motivated to study. He told me that day would never come. He said this very eloquently with an emphasis on the word ‘never’. Hearing that cheered me up because it meant that I was not the only one to find this material mind-numbingly boring and tedious to the point of being torturous. It means that I don’t have some inherent defect regarding self-motivation. It just really is that hard.

Who can honestly say that they would be able to actively memorize material for 10-12 hours a day for 5-6 months without ever getting depressed and overwhelmed. You’d have to have the emotional range of a carrot to carry on like that without feeling down about your situation.

Lets have that second cup o’coffee and get back to work! It’s 9:15 am. I’ll have a cuppa, then start the study-break-study-break routine again.
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Recent med school graduate from Peshawar, Pakistan. Started blogging when in throes of final year exams. Currently studying for USMLE Step 1. Aiming for the 2008 Match. I blog about my studies, my worries, and my thoughts on life. I live in Islamabad.

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