a young pakistani doctor blogs...
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
  wanting to be ridiculous

Its been more than 2 days since I’ve done a significant amount of work. I didn’t study today or yesterday and the day before just clocked in about 3 hours before tiring out. Today, I felt really really tired. I was incredibly sleeply throughout the day. Ironically, when I had decided the day was a waste and quit worrying about it, which was sometime in the evening, I stopped feeling sleepy.

The greatest feeling in the world is when your hypermotivated to accomplish a difficult task and go about doing so with unbridled alacrity. You breath, eat and sleep your ambition and you feel the world is just a stage that plays out your destiny. There’s nothing like that feeling. Despite the insomnia it causes, despite the stomach acidity, its worth it.

For me, the thrill here is knowing that if I do the USMLEs in 10 months I’ll be saving a year and going to the states far sooner than I ever previously would have considered feasible. Before, the USMLEs seemed to be an enormous undertaken that had to be approached with months of rest, no small degree of trepidation, and lots of praying muttered along an uncertain road. It just seemed like such a huge deal. Almost like planning to have a baby!

To reduce it to a year-long roller coaster ride is a novel concept to me. 10 months on Step 1 and Step 2 CK. Another month in Pakistan (August, 2006) preparing my application. Going to the states in September for the Step 2 CS and the Step 3 and finally the interviews in November/December – the whole thing will be over quickly.

I feel thrilled to think that the end of my student days can potentially come quickly. After the Steps, my days of cataloguing the number of hours spent studying, and lamenting that those hours never seem to extend to double digits will be over. There’ll be no more poring over books with the same sense of urgency. I feel thrilled that I may be making this exciting journey soon. Getting my stuff packed up before I leave, landing in the US for the very first time, making my own observations of that place, traveling thousands of miles inside the US as I go to different places to attend the interviews, seeing old friends who’re settled there… and finally landing that residency position! Once the studying is over and all that’s left is traveling and interviews, the process seems exotic and immense fun.

I seem to have lost that ‘fire in my belly’ over the last few days. I’ve reduced my sleeping hours down to 5 hours, and although that sets me up for an epic battle against fatigue, I have to learn to get by on that much. The ‘family problem’ that upset me for a couple of days has been resolved, and when it was, I felt the enthusiasm returning. I woke up fresh at 2 am after sleeping for just 2 hours. I immediately started thinking of getting some work done.

I need to keep that enthusiasm going. It overcomes fatigue, it brushes uncertainty aside, and it provides the energy to forge ahead with ‘almost ridiculous enthusiasm’. If my stomach acidity, which had also waned these last two days with my enthusiasm is a measure of how hyped I am at any given moment, then I guess right now I’m back to being hyped. The acidity is back which comforts me a little.

I’ve got to visualize the rewards - always keep them in mind and use them as the fuel. Indeed if all fear of failure were kicked out of my psyche and replaced by an eagerness to work towards my dreams, then life would seem to be full of promise and excitement. I want to hang on to the hope that the state of mind I was in just a couple of days ago is mine for the taking and not a quirk. I need to just pack up my fears and anxieties, kick them out, throw caution to the wind and forge ahead in the belief that success is only a matter of time.

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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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