Jul 23, 2012

While the World is Enjoying Summer Vacation

Interns are working relentlessly serving the medical public. Fortunately for me, I'm in pediatrics, my favorite specialty. So Facebook pictures of people picnicking at Paris and scuba diving in Bahamas didn't hurt as much.
I went through several ups and downs this month - getting to know myself much better in the process and appreciating life as it is.
I finally decided to take my USMLE after talking to a senior pediatric resident who went through the entire process from registering to matching. We all agreed that it isn't easy. It will be a huge money pit where we might not get back what we tossed in. But he also stressed that I should give it a try since we never know what's at the other end of the tunnel. Even if I fail I don't have anything else to lose.
I went into several days of solitary confinement thinking about this. It isn't true I don't have things to lose - if I fail I will be delayed for my Taiwanese residency, I might end up more junior than my classmates, hard-earned money will go down the drain.
Then I realized it's about pursuing your dreams. If you won't let go of what you have, you won't achieve what's better. To be fearless to failure is the best solution to failure itself. I realized I have to overcome my fears to pursue my dreams - my dream of flexible and individualized training programs for medical students, of breaking free of hierarchy, inherent passivity, and needless paperwork in training. That happiness and finding your "calling" is central to quality education.
The typical Hollywood movie plays in my mind - how far will you go for your dreams?
Frankly speaking, I never dreamed of practicing or living in the United States. Just like Taiwan I never dreamed of coming here for medical studies. Life is simply one unexpected turn after another for me. Although I am sometimes discontented about life here, I never had an American dream. I'm happy with what life has to offer.
However, I soon realized if you don't step out of where you are right now, you won't see where your problem is. I may be complaining the dysfunctional system, inefficient delivery, demanding patients, and unorganized structure, but I never truly know the solution.
I don't assume America to be my solution, but at least I will learn how to solve my problems. By stepping out and looking back.
That is, assuming the problem could be solved.
The coming years will be an uphill battle for me - studies for all 3 Steps, documents, interviews, credit card verification codes, in and out of the States. It will be a huge gamble - I will either end up merely someone "who tried the Steps but failed," or an American resident. And even then it's not the start of an American dream.
But at least I can say then I tried. I am dissatisfied by the system and I did try to break free from it. Not to escape from it, but to find ways to improve it, someday. So wish me more than luck if you are with me!