Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On studying and passion

**While reading all the great A-Z posts in the blogging world, I decided to do a non-writing related post tonight**

If you've ever been around a medical student, you've heard some variation of this phrase: 
"I'm soooo behind on studying."

It's expected to complain about how much studying there is to do, how it never ends. Weekend nights are spent wearing an oversized hoodie and reviewing lectures. My desk is a sea of Post It Notes, stacked review books, and pastel colored gel pens that should have disappeared in middle school. In the midst of sleep deprivation, a crammed schedule, and bit of isolation from society, the big picture can become blurry. 

Today, while I was finishing a patient write up, a new perspective on studying emerged. 
At the end of the report, I made a list of the patient's health issues and how to manage them. I looked up different forms of therapy, tests that could reveal more, and future problems to look out for. That was when it occurred to me:

Maybe studying----truly learning the depth of a condition----is a form of compassion. Understanding an ailment's pathophysiology, treatment, and management is the fertile ground for providing the best possible care. 

That's the point, right? Why is it always easy to forget the point

No matter what our profession, all of us study somehow so that we can improve and provide. Studying is doing justice to work, whatever the end goal may be. 

You don't have to look far to find quotes about passion (often with a picture of a sunset in the background). Follow your passion, they say. 
Do what you love
Forget the rest.

It's all true--to a point. Medicine will always be a challenge but I've found that when I've studied and understood the material, the passion gets its mo-jo back. 

Sometimes passion will come first and sometimes, it needs a nudge. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quote of the moment (oh Amy, Tina, and Mindy, how I wish we were friends)

"Opening your heart and being courageous and telling people that you care about them or like them or that you think they’re special only makes you a better, bigger, kinder, softer, more loving person and only attracts more love in your life." 

— Amy Poehler

Monday, April 15, 2013

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

1. In honor of National Poetry Month: Poems will teach you a lot about writing and life. Try to say a lot with a little. Make sure virtues are given agency. Defy rules in grammar books. Use a blank sheet of paper and few lines to convey an entire experience.

2. Make sure you are always writing----even when you're not. Record thoughts onto faded receipts. Use the notepad function on your phone. Trust the embryo of ideas. 

3. The writing process demands patience. Yes, it demands a lot of other things as well but this is one you will struggle with. Let it humble you. Let revisions take just as long, if not longer, than the writing. 

4. Celebrate your friends' accomplishments: large, small, and in between. It's an act of true love to do so. 

5. The marker for who should be in your life is simple: how do you feel after you've spent time together? Lighter? Inspired? Dejected?

6. Forgive the mistakes of others. It's rare that people set out to be hurtful. Most are really trying to do their best. Wish someone well even when they've hurt you. Don't stop seeing the good in people. It's the best way to make sure they don't add any more negativity.

7. When things seem bleak for those you care for, know what they need to feel better. For some, it might be a handwritten note. For others, an evening of venting and old movies. The recipe for healing is variable.

8. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and noticed. Ask people their stories. Sometimes sharing is the most important point of connection in a graying world. Your mom always said that every human has something to teach another. 

9. Art and life have a way of braiding together. The way you perceive a play, movie, or book will often correlate to what's already on your mind at that point.

10. Trust in your hardships and remember, it's important to earn the life you want.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quotes for National Poetry Month

“Always learn poems by heart. They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they'll make your soul impervious to the world's soft decay.”

Always be a poet, even in prose. Charles Baudelaire