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What I had to sacrifice for my dream

Think about the sacrifices you had to make for your dream. Are they really that harsh or maybe you just need a new set of perspective lenses? Remember that you are the captain of your ship and the master of your game. If you see your journey as a punishment, then it will be. But if you appreciate it and create a fun-filled and spiritually conscious life around it, it will still be a wonderful and exhilirating experience.

For dreams to come true, you have to work hard, stay focused, and be willing to make sacrifices. We all know these things, but being on the journey itself has taught me a lot of lessons that how I wish someone would have told me earlier so that I would have been at least mentally prepared for the challenges that came along with it. I know that nothing could have prevented the huge blow but I would have appreciated a guardian angel that could have softened the experience for me. Here are the top things that I had to sacrifice during this MD journey:

1. Sleep
We need seven to eight hours of sleep in order to optimally function as a human being. However, no matter how hard we try to be as healthy as possible, sadly, the medical education world, is not designed for that. We have a very fast paced program so you really need to read and review because you will have tons of exams. For instance in our school, we have exams scheduled every Monday. Just imagine how our weekend looks. To be honest I flunked some exams because sometimes my body couldn’t adapt to a no rest weekend and if I don’t sleep, I’ll get sick and that will be worse. It’s a constant battle between passing exams or getting sleep. How I wish the education system isn’t this toxic but we have to adjust to the current situation in order to survive. You will definitely lose sleep because there’s just tons to do. It’s kind of ironic because we are advocating for health but we barely practice this lifestyle in medschool. Since health is one of my top five priorities, I decided to not join any college-based organizations so that I can at least have five hours of sleep on a typical school day. It helped me have a better mood and concentration. It’s better if you know this now so that when you’re in medical school you will just say yes to commitments which are a priority for you.


2. Time with Family
This is actually the hardest thing to sacrifice. As an Asian, family is a big deal. This is also my priority because you can have a lot of achievements in life but nothing can take back the time you lost with your family. It is difficult to balance time with family and academics. This is actually the reason why I chose to study in a medical school in our province. I want to have more time with my family. However, since I can’t focus on studying when I’m at home, I need to stay in my dorm whenever there are major exams. Having a planner and scheduling everything is the key to med life balance, though perfect balance is a myth anyway. I still carve time for my family inspite of the busyness because, they give me the extra motivation and inspiration that I need to keep on studying. I am still not good at this but I try to be as present as I can because I want to live a life without regrets even if I value my dream of becoming a doctor. Being really clear and conscious about how I spend my time and making sure that my family is a priority gave me the opportunity to spend one last year with my father before he passed away. I therefore have no regrets at all.

3. Freedom
Since I need to study a lot, freedom, at least compared to how I used to live my life is relatively gone. Friday night drinks shifted to catching up with sleep. Social events are not a priority, rest is. There’s a concert that you really want to watch, but you will have to choose studying for exams. You can’t meet people as much as you want to. You won’t live a life that is the same with majority of people in their twenties. That is the reality of it, no sugar coating added. You will get jealous with people in your age group because they are getting married, traveling, or having babies. But you know what? It’s okay. I will not trade this life with anybody else’s. There are moments that I feel really down because I just want to progress quickly in my career but, all of us just have one life. I will not spend it blaming myself for not chasing my dreams just because I wasn’t patient enough. To others, my life may seem miserable, but to me, it isn’t. I have something to look forward to every single day. I am learning how to save a life. Not everyone gets to have a chance to do that. I value freedom, but maybe this is my own definition of it. It’s about working so hard for a vision that I can clearly see. It’s about not giving up when the going gets tough. It’s about getting through challenges and growing along with it. This is my freedom and my way of being proud of myself.


4. Money
I missed this part a lot. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I couldn’t go to medschool right after college. I like money. I like earning it. I like having a lot of it. But when you’re a student, you can’t spend money same as when you were still working. I had to say goodbye to my cashflow. You can have a side hustle or a business but if it will take a huge chunk of your time, then this is not the perfect timing for that. You have to set your priorities, unless you’re one of the select few geniuses who can multitask and learn medical concepts easily. As an average person intellectually, I had to set my priorities straight and just focus on medschool for now. I am really lucky to have a family and generous people who support my financial needs. I am also the type of person who is not motivated because of money. I want to be rich because money is a very useful tool to create the future that you are dreaming of. But for now, there’s a pause and it’s totally okay. As long as your worth isn’t connected to how much money you have in your bank account, you’re good to go.

5. Adventure
Gone were the days when you can just be a weekend warrior and book a trip or go on hiking. As an adventure junkie, this was painful because I know that my physical strength in my twenties will not be the same in the years to come. I love travel but my nomad alter ego is now on hiatus. You can still go for short side trips but it won’t be the same as the backpacking days that you used to embark on. This was hard for me but you can use the perfect tool for this dilemma which is, perspective management. Instead of thinking that you’re missing out on a lot of travels, why not look at your life as the ultimate adventure? I may have said goodbye to island hopping but this journey is still exciting for me. I shifted to discovering every coffee shop in my city and studying there. I jog in different places. When my boyfriend picks me up from school we choose to drive at the more scenic route. We take photos when the view is just surreal. My medschool friends and I eat at restaurants and try the different flavors of souffle. We watch free concerts on a friday night. The list is endless. I have found a way to be adventurous even without booking trips. I guess that’s the sense of it. You have to bring the adventure wherever you go and you have to look at life as the one big adventure. This makes my heart so warm and happy.

So now think about the sacrifices you had to make for your dream. Are they really that harsh or maybe you just need a new set of perspective lenses? Remember that you are the captain of your ship and the master of your game. If you see your journey as a punishment, then it will be. But if you appreciate it and create a fun-filled and spiritually conscious life around it, it will still be a wonderful and exhilirating experience. I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

By Katey

Hi, I'm Katey, a medical student, writer, teacher, and biologist. This is where I write the lessons that I've learned during my adventures. Hit follow to get my latest tips, life updates, and even poetry. If you want to live a life with passion and purpose then you have come to the right place. Keep on shining.

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