Monday, January 25, 2010

Fragments From Medical School: Mr. Migrating Fracture


In modern society there is less pressure to enter the profession of your parents and more encouragement to pursue your interests. I am a teacher, and both of my parents were in real estate. There was little expectation that I would enter the field, and it doesn’t appear that any of my siblings will either.

Despite the modern illusion that a child can dream and enter a profession of his or her choice, this is not always the case. My husband came to decide on medical school after migrating through a number of potential professions. Since entering medical school, he has met several students who weren’t offered the same time of exploration in considering other professions, but rather were nudged/shoved/pushed into the profession by their parents.

“So what do you think he would rather be doing?” I asked one of Curtis’s classmates, about a student, who has made it clear he would rather not become a physician.
“Astronomy” was the reply.
“So, how has he made it this far?” I asked, slightly shocked.
“He does just enough.”

It turns out that “just enough” applies not only with tests, but with clinical practice. They recounted stories of this student’s “migrating fracture”—an injury that locates itself strategically based on the skills required.

Delivering babies?

“Which sounds more convincing for a fractured wrist” he asked his classmates, having already wrapped his wrist in an injured fashion, “that I fell on the ice? Or that I fell skiing?”

Oh my.

And this injury has manifested itself in all kinds of ways to keep this student from having to practice any more than he has to.

Has this affected his review and evaluations? Probably. But more than anything it makes me sad that he has invested so many years in an education that he not only doesn’t care about, he avoids it at all costs.

When my husband got into medical school, we were really excited. It had been a long process, with a lot of work, and a lot of time, and a lot of sacrifices. Receiving his first white coat represented a chance at so many things.

Avoiding learning wasn’t one of them.

To hear about someone that makes those investments—curtailed as they are—in vain, with no hope or intention of making good use of them makes me sad. But it also reminds me of how blessed I am. I have a profession where I invest a lot of time and energy, and find much purpose and fulfillment in my work. Curtis, with all that he has put into his professional preparation, looks forward to the same.

But what does Mr. Migrating Fracture have to look forward to?

I hope he finds something that he wants, that is worth working for and investing in.

Life is too short.

1 comment:

  1. interesting story. I am 2 classes short of getting a degree in child development. I loved the classes and am certain I couldn't love doing anything more than being home with my 4. How sad to waste so much time studying something you have no passion for!