My Roller Coaster

Simon says was fun for a little while. But looking back, I really don’t understand the appeal of being jerked around like that. That is, after all, what the game is all about — doing everything Simon says, no matter how ridiculous or absurd it may seem. Along the way it gets old. I have yet to see a group of adults playing “Simon Says” in the park. I definitely don’t see medical students playing that game during breaks between classes out on the grass.

Playing Simon Says is kind of like being jerked around by a little girl waving around her rag doll. Simon says put your hands up. Simon says put your hands down. It gets monotonous. It’s also tiring.

I feel like I’m getting jerked around. Sometimes the rag doll is swung up high and other times it drops low. It might be better to compare the experience to a roller coaster. At least the roller coaster analogy is more familiar to people than a swinging rag doll.

During my last exam week I heard the following conversation after arriving at the exam location:

Person 1: I got raped the other day.
Person 2: I’m gonna get raped twice today. [We had two tests that day]
Person 3: I’m just giving it to God. Because if God doesn’t intervene, then I’m screwed.

Note: No disrespect meant to any rape victims. “I got raped” is a phrase that has often been used by students. I don’t mean to imply that going through an exam is as bad as being raped. The phrase “getting raped” has been used because 1) it was a quote and 2) to describe the feelings going through a rough exam: a sense of being helplessly violated.

I wasn’t part of the conversation. I just overheard it because it was nearby. It made me grin. Not because I thought it was funny. I wasn’t being mean. No, I grinned because I knew the feeling.

On this roller coaster ride of medical school there are many lows. It can be easy to get down and discouraged. Hearing about the horrors of managed care, malpractice insurance, and a broken American healthcare system. Watching our educational debt accumulate. Being in a committed relationship with our textbooks. Seeing the top scores in the class.

But like a roller coaster there are the highs. There are times when the ride peaks through the clouds. There are the experiences with the patients — warm experiences we will never forget like the little children in pediatrics or the kind, heartfelt thank you of a senior citizen. And we need to hang on to those highs to carry us through the lows.

Early on in the school year we had a speaker talk about the wonderful opportunity we have here at medical school to witness the Divine in action. We learn about life. We learn about healing. Hopefully, we learn about changing lives as well.

It’s possible that I entered medical school naive. A lot of medical students probably do. After all, we are crazy enough to think we can change lives — that we can change the world.

Maybe that’s what we need, though. We need to be crazy. Back in the 1990s, Apple made an incredible TV Ad. It’s called Here’s to the Crazy Ones.

So here’s to the crazy ones; here’s to medical students the world over. To the ones who are crazy enough to go through medical school hoping they can change the world.

Enjoy the clip.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world,
Are the ones who do.