There are people who suck at teaching and I happen to be one of them.  Thus, my college degree in Biology, which usually leads its disciples over to the academe, is useless , making it especially hard to pursue any other career path except medicine.  Thus, ever since college and just like any other medical student, I have been constantly going over and over in my brain on what medical specialty I should pursue – the specialty that will get me hooked, lined and sinkered.  I realize that the specialty a medical student chooses says a lot about who he/she is, what he/she can put up with and what he/she feels strongly about.  Hence, the idea of choosing the wrong specialty makes me want to barf… violently, as if I have the worst kind of flu virus nature ever had the vindictiveness to, uh, evolve.

Choosing and eventually deciding on something involve a lot of factors, namely what you like, what you want, what you are good at and what you need to do.  But you know what’s unfortunate?  When you have one specialty for each of those factors.  Makes life all the more interesting, doesn’t it.

  • LIKE: Neonatology.  I am of the belief that most people in the medical field have a Messianic complex – the need to take care of individuals they consider weaker than themselves.  Babies, for me, are the ultimate weak individuals (either that or my biological clock is ticking, augh).  When I am in the hospital, I would stand outside the NICU for hours just staring at babies through the viewing glass.  It makes me happy, watching them sleep or try to turn from side to side or make goo-goo noises in their cribs.  But, when I turn around, the nurses at the station would be eyeing me, probably thinking who the crazy girl was and what she’s meaning to do with the babies she’d been looking at for the past hour or so.  This specialty shows exactly how soft a person can be.
  • WANT: Nephrology and Transplant Surgery.  I grew up watching a disease related to this specialty manifest itself in its worst possible form in a loved one.  Chronic renal obstruction secondary to staghorn calculi, bilateral.  It is a very debilitating disease – physically, emotionally and financially.  Perhaps there is this want to “fix” the person that means a lot to you as well as every other person who reminds you of her.  Nephrology is the specialty I am truly most familiar with.  However, some people learn through theory but, there are some, like me, who learn through experience and hand motion.  Of all the specialties I’ve ever considered, surgery, coupled with nephrology, are what I truly want.  This specialty shows exactly how selfish a person can be.
  • GOOD AT: Psychiatry.  Paralysis by analysis for the win!  This specialty requires you to be more of a listener and an elicit-er instead of an authoritative doctor barking out orders to your patient and to exhausted nurses.  Why Psych?  I feel that I can be good at this specialty because I like knowing where people are coming from.  I like figuring out what is wrong with a person.  However, a friend once told me that I’m not really that great a listener because I tend to interrupt a talker to give one (probably unwarranted) advice or another.  Notice the kind of supportive friends I run around with.  Plus, I doubt I would want to hang out with mentally disturbed people on a daily basis.  I’m already mentally disturbed enough as it is.  This specialty shows exactly how arrogant a person can be.
  • NEED TO DO: Community and Public Health.  Remember what I said about Messianic complex?  Studying medicine is a privilege.  Thus, because we have the knowledge and the skills, we cannot just use it solely for our own financial benefit, although of course earning should still be a primary consideration in our careers.  Still, we must allow a large majority to have access to the services that we are more than capable to provide.  Community and Public Health is an advocacy and a commitment… and pursuing this as a specialty, well, kind of  scares me (to death).  I’m still thinking about it.  This specialty shows exactly how cowardly a person can be.

Some people say that medical students should wait until Clerkship Year before truly deciding on a specialty because rotating in the clinics and being immersed in different medical situations will allow you to truly weigh your options.  However, there are many others who say, no BELLOW, that we should be choosing a specialty now so that we can focus our energies on building up our knowledge and skills especially for that specialty.

What they don’t get or probably don’t remember is that deciding on a specialty is like deciding on marriage.  Heller, you’re going to have to wake up to that specialty for the rest of your life!  Does that not sound like marriage to you?  Does that not sound scary to you?  Don’t push now, dude.  Let us take our time.  We have a year until Clerkship Year.  Oh, jeez, a year sounds so freaking short.

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