Irrational Fears and Journal Articles
There was a time when I was afraid of the NEJM. The Journal and other medical sources only served to remind me of what I as a first year didn’t know and, more than likely, would never understand. It seems, however, that I am learning more than I think in my second year. Yesterday I encountered no less than five separate stories that not only directly applied to our classroom discussions but also concerned issues that I feel completely qualified to discuss. The debilitating pathologic course of Alzheimer’s disease, the debate concerning drug coated stents in PTCA, the clinical presentation of aortic dissection on an MRI, the mechanisms of ischemic heart disease, and the use of Peginterferon Alfa-2a Alone, Lamivudine Alone, and the Two in Combination in Patients with HBeAg-Negative Chronic Hepatitis B. (Ok, I lied about the last one, but you get the picture).
To be completely honest, my fear has its beginnings long before I started my first year at Vanderbilt. Unlike many pre-med students I was never one to religiously watch ER (in fact, I have never seen a complete episode), I didn’t really keep up with current medical research, and I was never heavily involved in the hospital system in high school or college. It wasn’t that these things didn’t interest me, they just served as reminders of the fact that I wasn’t going to get into medical school. You see, I had myself convinced that I was going to be the one who, no matter how hard he tried, could never make the jump from waiting list to acceptance. I would become the bitter grad student roaming the halls of academia mumbling obscenities at the MCAT and cursing passing med students.
Applying to medial school is an extremely public matter. Everyone you know knows. This knowledge hung over me like a thunderhead ready to strike me dead upon my final rejection letter. My technique of avoiding all that I am not good at has prevented me from publicly failing on numerous occasions (as well as completely stymieing my sports career). The application process, however, was unknown territory. There was no assurance of success, no preset way to win. My current status gives away the ending, but trust me, this was one heck of a step for me to take. The amazing year and half of classes have made it clear that my acceptance was worth the vulnerability it cost me to apply. However, I guess I should have known all along to go ahead with the Gamble; after all…that’s my middle name.