Because of my previous experience in healthcare as a physiotherapist, I thought I had some idea of what medicine would be like. I mistakenly thought that once you get into medical school, you work hard at your academic and clinical skills and then you simply become a doctor. As if it’s a passive step into a lifelong career. In reality, the biggest challenge I’m facing right now is figuring out my career path. Getting into a residency program requires diligently deciding what sort of physician you want to be for the rest of your life. And then doing all the things that landed you in medical school (including volunteering, extracurricular activities and research) on top of your academic and clinical responsibilities. It’s daunting and like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
And that’s why I need to solidify my Why.
Your Why is the reason you choose to do what you do. It incorporates your values into your long-term goals. It’s the guidance you use to find the path that’s right for you.
It took me a lot of reflection to find my Why over five years ago. The reason I applied to medical school is because I wanted to provide more for my patients. I wanted to expand my scope of practice. And I wanted to be in an environment that would push me to be a better version of myself by learning more about how to help people. Luckily, any specialty I choose will fulfill my general Why. But I need to find a more directed Why to guide me now.
I’m re-reading the article How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) by one of my favourite writers Tim Urban. And I’m journaling to come up with what I want to do with my medical career that will be suited to my skills, enjoyable long-term, and conducive to family.
I’m contemplating the enormous concept of what I want my life’s accomplishments to be. It is to help as many people as possible? Is it to create innovation in a specific procedure? It is to connect with people in a meaningful way? It is to change policies within the healthcare system?
The answer is that, as of right now, I’m not sure.
I know that if I work away at something, I can figure it out. And that includes working away at finding my Why.