“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do” –Derek Jeter
I needed a break after taking my gastrointestinal & renal block exam. A weekend to relax would be amazing. An opportunity to let the thoughts that normally race through my head dissipate. A chance to take a breath after I almost drowned in my studies that left me physically and mentally exhausted. Heck, an afternoon to go grocery shopping, play some soccer, and read a chapter from my Kindle that’s been lying dormant on my desk would be nice. Except for the fact that we start the reproductive block tomorrow. Sucks to suck right? It would if I didn’t enjoy it so much.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had more time to just hang out and do nothing, play some Call of Duty, and stay in to watch a movie. But I recognize that I’m putting in my time now so that I can enjoy what I do for a living tomorrow. I didn’t realize how important it was when I was training to play soccer in high school. I thought I just had to show up to practice and play hard during games. I was a talented but lazy soccer player and it eventually caught up to me. I didn’t realize that running sprints today conditions me into a better athlete tomorrow.
It was one of the most important realizations I’ve had during my second semester of medical school. My classmates and I often joke about how hard we work. Compared to undergrads we study every single day as if we have a final exam tomorrow. You can imagine how insane we get when we actually study for our finals. If only I had this same work ethic four years ago I could have gone to ‘one of the Hopkins or Harvards’…or maybe just a stateside medical school. Except that I’m happy here at Ross University.
One of Ross’ principal explicit goals isn’t to push my peers and me into developing a superhuman work ethic per se, but I am yet to meet a peer of mine who has ever worked harder in their life. And I am thankful for it. Ross is the soccer trainer I never listened to.
Studying here is like going to the gym- I don’t personally enjoy working out, but I like how I feel the next day. Likewise, I don’t always love sitting down and studying for hours on end but I love being able to apply medical science after I understand it. And as much as I would like to think I work hard now, I know that the fourth semester students have it twice as bad. They took an exam the same day that I took my GI & renal exam but they have to get right back to the grind to study for their final being held in one week. And then they have to study for their comprehensive exam being held in a month. And then they have to study for their Step exam. It never ends.
It’s not like when I graduate from medical school I’ll just stop studying or working as hard as I do now. If anything, that’s when the hard work that goes into the core sciences at Ross will finally pay off. It will be that much more gratifying when I get to actually treat patients and will motivate me to push myself even harder. That’s why the relaxing afternoons after my exams are one of the most important days of the semester.
I got to see a glimpse into my life as a fourth semester. I’ll have to study just as hard as I did for my last exam but will have to continue studying just as hard the following day for a final. And keep on going until I graduate. And then keep on going until I finish my residency. And then keep on going until I finish my fellowship. As I continue to progress through my medical education, I will rarely be able to mentally checkout for a weekend while I recuperate from the caffeine and cortisol driven weeks of study and work. My daily grind involved in sustaining my life as a med student will eventually evolve into a nonstop grind involved in being a practicing physician. This is why Ross has not only improved my work ethic, but has even forced me to consolidate how long it takes me to relax and then get back into the swing of things. I simply can’t afford anything less than being maximally efficient with my time. My mental health and academic performance depend upon it.