You will spend 30-40 hours a week studying. You will give up on seeing your family as they take a back seat to your career aspirations. You will choose between anything you ever cherished and instead dwell in dark closets investigating the infinite galaxies of pathology power points. You may only smile when you get a good grade on a test. You will lose any compassion you used to have for patients as you plumb the depths of human depravity and greed in the healthcare system. You will sleep less than necessary for a human being and be absolutely miserable forever.
Yeesh, that’s harsh… and not exactly what having my dream coming true of getting into med school looked like. For many students that is the grim reality of medical school though. It’s dark, painful, and in the end questionably rewarding. Physician burn out is a thing and it starts for most at the genesis of the medical education journey.
Burned out physician? Sacrifice my family? Abandon my faith? No thank you! There is no satisfaction in achievement if you have sacrificed everything to acquire an unfulfilling goal. There isn’t even the possibility of doing something for God’s glory if you have abandoned every notion of what it means to honor Him while in pursuit of yourself.
Life can be more though. More than burnout, more than exhaustion, more than self-service.
It can also be very messy, and chaotic, and beautiful because God provides grace for our challenges. My grace comes through finding meaningful things to do outside of medical school.
Being married to an awesome man who does medical school with me but also life outside of medical school has been a tremendous encouragement. Living on 3 acres gives us plenty of room to experiment with mushroom foraging, gardening, and our two dogs Willow and Espresso. Working with our church’s youth group keeps us accountable for regular attendance and is an awesome breath of fresh air to our souls as we work with the people of God and invest in young people. It doesn’t get any better!
Or maybe it does! We learn to make cheese together, started blogs to develop another professional skill-set to use when we (Lord willing) have our own practice, we go camping together, we spend time with our families on weekends we don’t have tests, and drinking lots of coffee. And we do study because we want to save lives in the future. Our goal is to be physicians, and business owners, community members, a family, and to chase many other dreams. But, our identity remains in Christ – NOT in just where we are in life. That’s the real secret to fulfillment and joy.
Life can be difficult, but we also have tremendous blessings and opportunities to enjoy the journey regardless of our occupation. Some jobs are hard and relatively joyless while others are exciting, but we all have the choice to glorify God with our life and find fulfillment in our work. Blogging was just another creative outlet for me to avoid the ordinary and make life more fulfilling. Yes, it takes away from studying and a tight schedule but hey, that’s okay. No dark caves for me all the time. Hopefully not for you either! I’m so glad you’ve tagged along for the crazy ride – more adventures to come soon. <3
How do you keep life meaningful and in pursuit of His glory?