27 August 2006

2 year-itis

Freshly exhausted from a mini-vacation to New York City, I draped myself on the sofa, switched on James Bond in the background, and settled in to read my neglected email. Somewhere between my gmail and my yahoo account it struck me: two years seems to be the statute of limitation on your first post-collegiate job. Almost every mail shooting through cyberspace seems to bear news of a company change, an acceptance back to school, or a much yearned for interview. What is it that we (and I mean the collective, early twenties "we") are looking for? Are our expectations of the "real" world that far off the mark? Are our attention spans that short? Are we so undervalued or undertrained? Why are we able to commit to relationships, cities, and dreams, but not to our jobs?

I must admit to being a particularly early mover. I left my job in finance after a paltry 15 months and chose instead to backpack and scuba dive my time away before returning to school. In retrospect, my expectations were horribly unrealistic. And yet, what I wanted was nothing particularly grand: to be respected for the work I did, and to feel engaged and active in the process. It is the second half that led me to quit so quickly. After four years of maxing out my brain, it was suddenly switched off and that was more depressing to me than a six day work week and a two and a half hour commute.

As a result, I've now committed to the field in which you are a permanent student: medicine. It also happens to be the longest road to travel. Law school is three years, an MBA is two. A PhD is five, but I will be 30 when I get my MD and will still have my residency before I can prescribe meds without a guarantor (so to speak). I sincerely hope that it's not commitment phobia that makes us all change our minds so soon after school because the last seven months have shown me that medicine is exactly what I want to do. I am thinner, happier, and dare I say it, even a little more grown up.

Interestingly, most of the other post-bacs here are concerned over their ability to become physicians. While I have my moments of doubt (especially about the MCATs), I far more concerned over my ability to follow through than to pass organic chemistry. My worst fear is not rejection from medical school, it's inability to commit to a path. To accept reality for what it is, rather than what I want it to be.

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