My brother once told me (in a loving way of course) that I was the type of person who only required 140 characters to say whatever it is that I need to say to the world. This was in response to me questioning why it seemed like every person I knew suddenly had a blog. What made them think that their thoughts were special enough to require their own website? At the time, I agreed with my brother’s teasing because I believed that I really didn’t have anything to say. Could I really have a thought original enough to necessitate writing down and sharing in such a format? What could I possibly have to articulate to attract subscribers other than my mom?
Probably nothing, but that’s not really the point.
I am writing this on the first day of my third year of medical school. This is the year where we enter the hospital and start to do real doctor things. It has been called one of the hardest years of medical school because it brings aboard a whole new set of challenges. Instead of sitting in a cubical or coffee shop surrounded by fellow classmates all with our heads stuck inside of First Aid; we are split up, isolated, and pimped by the Residents and Attendings. Not to mention the added pressure of actually being responsible for real people with real problems and real lives.
This is the year in which they have documented a sharp decline in the compassion of medical students. Where in the words of Jack Coulehan “professional socialization alter[s] the student’s beliefs and value system so that a commitment to the well-being of others either withers or turns into something barely recognizable.”
Sounds fun right?
This was the moment that I had been looking forward to during the thousands of hours of studying over the last two years, but now that I am here I am scared. I’m scared that I am going to lose my compassion and with it a piece of my humanity. I’m scared that I will become jaded and cynical. I’m scared that I will see so many bad things happen and witness so much pain that becoming numb and detached is the only way I will know how to cope with it.
So that’s where this blog comes in. I’ve started this not because I really think there are many people out there who are interested in the things I ramble on about, but because there are things that I will experience in the next few years that I will need a place to talk about and express my feelings. I need a place to experience the weight of the suffering I will encounter.
And the weight of it all deserves more than 140 characters.