This semester is my last here at SLCC before going on to receive my bachelor’s degree. I know my direction; I’m just not sure if I have the courage to pursue it. I want to become a doctor, but along with this desire, I know that I will be spending many more years in school as well as within a hospital before I can even think about real work. I worry about the money. I worry that I might not be smart enough. I wonder about getting married during this time, and then I think how can I not get married? I will be 80 before I’m done with this stuff. I know I’m exaggerating, but I feel as if school has already taken up most of my life and I’m just not sure I can do it. I want to be a doctor, but I also want a life. Any ideas?
Already feeling overworked
Dear Overworked (and probably underpaid),
I don’t know all of the details about becoming a doctor but I know it takes years to achieve this goal. But, as they say, anything worthwhile is going to take some time and becoming a doctor is one of those worthwhile careers that will pay you dividends once it’s finally over.
Courage, of course, isn’t something you can retrieve from your back pocket; so I am going to suggest that you do all you can to develop this courage from the inside. Folks can tell us how great, how smart, how (you fill in the blank), but these kudos only take us so far. In the end we need to have what I’d like to call “spiritual” guts.
What are spiritual guts, you ask?
Spiritual guts are the warmth you feel when you’re in your anatomy class and you remember what bone connects with the hipbone. It’s when your friends are out partying and you have just discovered (from your girlfriend no less) that you have a sensitive nature and that you are a good listener—two great traits to have as a doctor. Tests are difficult, but you love what you are learning—you feel it in your heart—and you know that your life is traveling in the right direction.
Your worries about lack of money or lack of smarts are coming from those gremlins that are always trying to make us feel less than we truly are. Call them what you want; the bad guys, the devil’s helpers, our next-door neighbor or even our dad who never thought we’d amount to anything. In the end, the voice feels the same, and the voice is lying to us.
You are as great as you imagine yourself to be. This isn’t a conceited greatness, but an inner knowing of whom you are and what you’d like to accomplish.
As you may know, I am one not to wait for marriage if the right time and the right person are in place. And the right time may just be while you are in school. These same spiritual guts will help you to know the right answer to this question as well.
If you are feeling overwhelmed already, get prepared for the big time. When I stepped into the bachelor’s degree realm I felt pretty prepared, but it is a step up, as I imagine receiving a master’s degree will be. Did you say you wanted to become a doctor?
I’m holding my thumb up.