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. 


  1. Passion and compassion, paired together, are a hugely dynamic force, and you've got them both. I'm so glad you are going into medicine. It makes me feel hopeful that there are also others like you who are going into the field, and that we will be well cared for into the next generation.

  2. Providing the best at my work - does bring things back into perspective, doesn't it?

  3. I don't think i could hack it as a medical student. I admire you for all the hard work you put into medicine and writing!

  4. Yes it is easy to lose sight of why we originally were passionate about something. I like how you also brought about compassion, which I never thought of before as a part of passion, but the word is in there.

    Yay for middle school pastel gel pens!

    And just out of curiosity, since you brought up medicine, have you heard of the book The China Study (it makes some serious attacks on modern medicine) and if you have, what's your thoughts on it? Valid/invalid?

  5. I wish I could get the passion for my degree back!

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  8. Stress and too much work can strip the passion away from anything! Writing is like that for me. But then it only takes a moment to get the passion back...

  9. Oh, I LOVE the idea that studying is a form of compassion. It really is so easy to forget the point of what we're doing. I've recently found my passion again in remembering the point!

  10. I hope studying and tests went well and that you're finding time to relax, Saumya!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  16. Like Shallee, I love the idea that study is a form of compassion. And it makes sense, really: you can't provide care if you don't understand what you are doing. I just hadn't seen it spelled out as nicely as you did. Hope studies went well.

  17. I love your thoughts on this. And I think that going after your passion for medicine will see you through in the end.

    Best of luck!