PERSONAL

TOWARDS THE WHITE COAT: I TOOK A GAP YEAR AND THIS IS WHAT I REALIZED

November 28, 2016

Two years ago, I had my life planned out. I was going to graduate from college and head straight to med school and be the greatest neurosurgeon there ever was. Of course the last part was an exaggeration but everything else was pretty much as it is. I was a junior in college and I thought I had everything figured out because of course, I thought it was that easy. I knew what I wanted and where I’m supposed to go — I was oblivious to the fact that I wasn’t prepared to go there nor did I know how to get there. I had big dreams but I was clueless.

This year, I was able to carry out a huge first step of my plan: I graduated from college (which, by far, is my greatest achievement yet). But I didn’t head straight to med school. I opted to sit it out for a year. It alarmed my parents because they thought that I didn’t want to become a doctor anymore or that I’m having a quarter life crisis. I wasn’t. I just wanted to be better prepared for what I’m going to put myself through for four years. It’s going to be a grueling journey and I want to be able to have the strength to finish it alive.

So I took a couple more units of chemistry and studied for my qualifying exams. But it was a boring year. Two months after graduation I was already bored out of my mind, I didn’t know what to do without the comforts of school. I mean, okay, school isn’t comforting but you know, the thought that your only problem are your school works is much better than having to constantly think of how to be productive when you’re supposed to be employed. Now that my exams are over, I’m basically just staying inside our house watching reruns of FRIENDS and looking for Instagrammable places, and trying to make blogging work for me. But taking the year off made me realize some things.

It made me realize how much I wanted to be a doctor. I said I was trying to make blogging work for me but I couldn’t — maybe I wasn’t really cut out for it but I really think it’s because I couldn’t take it seriously knowing that I want a whole other career for myself. I can’t imagine being anything else, and no amount of clothes can make me want to trade having a white coat. I also realized that it doesn’t matter which school I go to because once I’m operating on my patient, it won’t matter whether my school was part of the Top 10 or not — what matters is I am able to do my job and I am able to do it well. I want to be one of the best doctors not because of where I came from but because of what I did to become one.

I learned how to accept that someone is always going to be better than me — more intelligent, more hardworking, more sociable, more dependable. I learned that sometimes, doing my best is enough even if I don’t come out on top. Dealing with what I was given doesn’t mean that I am settling, it’s just a matter of me making things work in my favor. It’s me turning my lows into highs and that I should continue mastering the art of it because I’m pretty sure I’m going to fall down some more in the years to come. I realized how much I need to learn how to stand up and grow up.

Much more importantly, it made me realize how tough the road to medicine is. It’s going to make me question myself, it’s going to render my self-esteem non-existent, and it’s going to be so competitive (and I HATE having to compete) but it’s a road I’m willing to take. I may or may not get into my dream med school (because again, competition. UGH) but I will stop at nothing to become a neurosurgeon, and I promise myself that I will always strive to become my version of best.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Bea November 28, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Hi Pia!

    Do what our heart wants, Pia. Go get that white coat! And it’s okay to take some time off to discover yourself and what you want to do with your life.

    I love this line, “I learned how to accept that someone is always going to be better than me.” because this is one of the greatest thing someone can learn. Be contented with what you can do and with who you are. It is not a freaking competition.

    Goodluck on your endeavors, Pia! Hope you can still continue blogging!

    • Reply Pia November 28, 2016 at 8:30 am

      Thank you so much. Bea! This means a lot to me. 🙂 I hope other people get the idea that not everything is a competition but I guess, to each his own. Haha.

  • Reply Da Dominguez November 29, 2016 at 12:58 am

    Wishing you all the best in your chosen career, Pia! I guess what matters most is how much you really want it, how passionate you are about what you do. And that’s what I saw in you while reading this post. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve mentally prepared yourself for med school during this gap year. <3

    • Reply Pia November 30, 2016 at 6:02 am

      Hi, Da! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. It means a lot. 🙂 <3

  • Reply Hafsa January 13, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Thank God I stumbled upon your blog! Srsly. This inspired me. You see, I’m also waiting out a year and then will apply for medschool later. But currently my motivation to g through is sort off shaking but maan reading this gave me the boost to be steadfast on my dreams… thank you so much.

    • Reply Pia January 14, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Wow! I am so happy this post gave you a boost, Hafsa. I didn’t think this would have an impact on anyone, it means a lot that it did. Good luck with med school in the near future! Never give up on your dreams, just keep going. 🙂

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