Not too long ago, I was faced with a choice; do I take undergraduate organic chemistry with the “easy” professor or the professor with a reputation for being incredibly difficult and robbing you of all free time?
I chose the latter. My peers with the easier professor excelled with lesser efforts, while I toiled away at Grignard reaction mechanisms in the recesses of the library. Though I did well, the course was so difficult, it redefined what I thought I could handle.
Recently, we completed one of the most difficult courses in medical school – biochemistry. Coming from an engineering background, the level of detail and intricacy of biochemistry was daunting; the mastery biochemistry demanded set a new precedent.
I, and many of my classmates, struggled under consistent stress. In fact, I remember being legitimately scared for one exam, something I had never felt before and was entirely uncomfortable with.
In the end, though, we all got through it; biochemistry bent us, broke us, and then built us back up into better students. Like organic chemistry, it redefined what we thought we could handle. For that, I am thankful.
We may grumble about the difficulty of our courses, but they are minuscule compared to the stress we will experience when a patient’s life is actually in our hands. Medical school is meant to metamorphose students into the doctors patients will one day want. That metamorphosis is not without its growing pains.
If you’re considering becoming a physician now, take the hard courses, venture outside your comfort zone, and redefine your limits. If you don’t attempt it now, medicine will certainly do it for you.