a young pakistani doctor blogs...
Friday, November 11, 2005
  Tough as nails.
Near the middle of my final year exam – and this exam lasted about 40 days – I once reached a point of utter exhaustion. It was before the 4th paper, one of the surgery papers I believe. I remember sitting in my spartan, depressing room with its poor light, chipped walls and humid heat and thinking how I finally reached the last limit of my endurance. It was 8pm, the night before the paper. I had been studying for 16 hours straight, and had only 3 hours of sleep the night before. I still had a lot of work left and I needed to stay awake till 3am at least. There were some really important topics left for me to do.

I took a big sigh and looked up very depressed at the discolored wall in front of me. Then I decided that I wasn’t going to give up. I had work left to do, and no matter how damn tired I was, I was going to keep sitting to meet my targets. For the next 7 hours, I worked through my sheer mental exhaustion. I just stopped thinking about how fed-up I was and I just did it. It was a remarkable mental triumph. The temptation to give up and go to sleep never left me throughout the 7 hours. I just didn’t give into it. I was scared of what the next day might bring but I didn’t give in to that either. I just gritted my teeth and kept going.

This exact thing was to happen four times again during the next month of my exam. Each time I persevered. Each time I pushed the boundaries further and every time I did so, I came out more confident of my abilities. I was very proud of myself later on and even marveled at what I had managed to do. I almost wanted to be in the same position again so I could see if I could come out on top again. I was operating in an altogether different realm of endurance.

It was experiences like these that made me so confident of doing well in the steps. I have the strength and guts inside me to really do well. I’ve done incredible things before and can do them again, and I will.

Today was a good day of studying. It still evening as yet, I’ll be awake for another 5 hours, but I’ll definitely meet my target for today. I just dove into today - all guns blazing, determined not to fail my targets. From now on, I just have to be tough on myself like I was today….like I was during most days of my final year exam.

Thats the life we have chosen. Studies finally seem fun, not an activity imposed on us...Same feeling though a bit earlier, I guess a stage everyone passes through.
Well, I don't think studies ever seem fun 'finally'. I think what drives us after we pass thro this kind of a situation is the feeling of accomplishment and confidence attained as we plough thro the material. A friend of mine once told me the biggest motivating factor is a previous accomplishment. You want to stay there, at the top.
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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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