Though you will most definitely recognize parts of my pre-med journey in your own, I hope that my criticisms of these classes don’t resonate too closely with you. I know they will — and you, secretly, do too — but I hope that your desire to go to med school is strong enough to make it all worth it because I know mine wasn’t.
Society often coerces us into disingenuous performances, promising that the applause we’ll receive at the end will pacify our perpetual anxiety. And the thought of stepping offstage to face the unknown rather than playing pretend in the presence of what’s familiar — well, that can be scary.
As a pre-med myself, I’ve had to grapple with my true motivations for pursuing a career in medicine. Am I just complacently wandering down this path that I arbitrarily designated for myself when trying to decide the proper angle for my college admissions essays? Is Cornell’s “any person … any study” motto wasted on me if I refuse to imagine a world in which I’m not pre-med?
My small hometown’s emergency medical services was so understaffed that at one point they started training some high school kids to be certified EMTs. Throughout junior year, my classmates and I took night classes so that the next year we could carry pagers around school and respond to ambulance calls during the day. We learned how to do CPR, identify a stroke, treat burn injuries — pretty much the worst cases of every scenario. But once we were on real calls, I started to realize how bloodthirsty we had become. Secretly and out loud to each other, we hoped for emergencies — and not just minor injuries that would get us out of class.