Saturday, May 3, 2008

Musings on a Rainy Day

It has been raining and thunderstorming pretty much all day. Ever since I graduated a week ago I've had a lot of time - time to do nothing, time to sit around, time to waste, and time to think. This weekend especially as most of my friends have gone home for the weekend (I went home the weekend of graduation instead). Needless to say, I didn't know what to do with myself. Rather pathetic.

So I called up SP-M to hang out for a bit. Sat around in his apartment talking about random stuff for about an hour. Then we went to get some bubble tea. There we ran into CC-F and ML-F. So we joined them. SP-M left because he was tired and wanted to sleep. CC-F and ML-F are some of the funniest Asians (or people in general) that I know. Their hilarity feeds each other, so it's a never-ending cycle. CC-F in particular makes me laugh, she says the most random things. And she's kind of clueless about it a lot. She's a ditsy Asian if I ever saw one, but she's pretty smart underneath. ES-M walked in a bit later with several of his Malaysian friends. He looks like he's lost a lot of weight - a bit too skinny now. I worry a tiny bit for his health. I'm not as attracted to him as I used to be . . .

Anyway, at one point the "real world" popped up. I suddenly realize how unprepared for this real world I am. Here I am, almost 22, graduated from one of the best public universities in the US, and there's still so much I don't know - things that I would need to learn in order to survive in today's society. It's a rather sobering thought. That, and how right now I don't make nearly enough money to be worth me staying in the city for May and June. I need my lab to pay me, pretty badly. I also need to secure hospital volunteering and doctor shadowing. And I need to update med schools about what's been going on with my life. And I need to have all this pretty much settled by Monday. Sigh.

But one other thought has been on my mind since Thursday night. RZ-F left Thursday night for NYC to visit JW-F for about 4-5 days. Just before she left, I had dinner with her, KM-F (her roommate), and DC-M. At one point DC-M mentioned how I will probably work for an HMO and how medicine is heading that way now. He also said something along the lines of how I need to find a way to make lots of money as a doctor because it's "realistic and practical."

I countered by saying how medicine is not for the money, it's to help people. Also how the branches of medicine I'm interested in are the lowest paid. At this point, RZ-F said something to the effect of, "Right now we say that as arrogant undergrad graduates. I'm sure you'll change, we all will, by the end of med school with $200K+ debt." DC-M only solidified his argument. Well, I don't want to work for an HMO or any health insurance company. They restrict the drugs you're allowed to prescribe and they have other restrictions too. I want the ability to prescribe the best drug for a patient - whether it's the most effective one out there or one that's cheap but does essentially the same thing. I don't want some overarching insurance company dictating to me what I can and cannot do.

I don't know, so I ask you (whoever's reading this): am I too optimistic, too idealistic? Will med school change me? Will the system mold me into just another doctor, some of which are honestly doing it for the money. Right now I just want to become whatever doctor I want, specialize in whatever branch of medicine I want without looking at the monetary value, and hope to make the greatest impact where I feel I'm capable. But how many of you think I'll change in the next 5-10 years?

I know it's near-impossible for a new doctor these days to open a private practice. That had been my dream: to open my own practice with some friends, and other friends working as nurses and pharmacists. Now that's just a fool's hope. I had considered becoming the head of a department, but that's too ambitious and I doubt I'd enjoy that. Perhaps I'll go into academic medicine where I'll have my clinical practice and teach courses at the med school. I think I'd enjoy imparting knowledge onto future generations of physicians, in hopes of making them first better human beings and second better doctors. But right now, I just don't know. When that day comes, it comes. Until then, I think I'll hold onto my optimism and idealistic notions.

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