I wonder if photos on university prospectuses like this influenced
my perception of what being a doctor would be like

Before I came to medical school, it never really sank in that working as a doctor would demand a lot of my time. That may sound ridiculous to you. It was naive of me.

I think I assumed that a medical career would primarily be intellectually demanding - that's a fundamentally different kind of demand. I think I also assumed that as a doctor, I would be given a pleasant amount of freedom, with which I would be able to choose, if I wished, to work agreeable hours, even if that meant forgoing a larger salary.

Now, however, I see how easily medicine could take over so much of my life, and not only because doctors work long hours. The profession is very hierarchical, and you spend many years climbing up the ranks. Therefore, there are exams to study for and experience to accrue and fierce competition for some jobs, especially if you want to work in a specific location. Of course, these issues apply to many professions, not just medicine.

I think I just assumed too much. That's what you do at sixteen years old, when you suddenly have to make life changing decisions like whether to apply for medicine. I don't regret my decision now. I just have a better view of its implications, from the inside. Now that there's no turning back.

My desire to write (or do any other meaningful things that come my way) outside of medicine will almost certainly translate into the medical speciality I pursue - some specialties demand more time than others. I'm excited to work as a doctor. I want to be present at work, genuinely seeing the value of what I'm doing there, and of everybody there. At the same time though, I have other passions too. I ought to give the right time to them.

Happy Christmas.