One of the things I've come to appreciate and fear is stress.
For most medical students, the school experience itself is a stressor of gargantuan proportions. It's in essence a 6 year commitment to training. It usually comes along with an obscene amount of debt (roughly $70,000 or so for the first year alone) and is by no means easy, as I've elaborated on in previous posts.
It becomes imperative that you perform well because of the nature of your career (lives after all, are at stake). Furthermore, changing your mind is often not an option, unless you are fortunate enough to be able to afford it financially. Beyond that, medical school also robs you of the better part of a decade, which just happens to be the prime years of your life.
As we all know, there are always external factors that complicate things further.
The commitment to medical school seems to be a large hurdle in relationships. I've had several of my friends go through breakups for different reasons amidst the academic battle we go through. It's honestly very disheartening and difficult to deal with, even as an observer.
Seeing people I've grown to care about a lot go through the kind of pain I'm seeing is depressing.
It's always been easy for me to look at relationships and see them as a "given."
"Well yeah, those two are meant for each other"
I always thought that it was a testament to the strength of a relationship to give off that perception, but now I wonder if it's all merely a facade.
It is medical school. It is a commitment requiring time and effort in the pursuit of a noble profession. Are people truly so easily dissuaded when this gets in the way? Are relationships merely what they are because they were fortunate enough to avoid this level of distraction? What constitutes selflessness and dedication?
Even in my own (very single) life, I feel myself drifting from the people I love. Friends who just months ago were intimately familiar with every detail of my life now know nothing beyond the superficial status of "studying." Similarly I know little about them. I have no doubt that the strongest of my friendships and relationships will survive, but it is unlikely that they will be as strong as they were before (or perhaps more appropriately, as strong as they would have been without medical school)
This underlying "tuition," to weaken or lose bonds with people we deemed irreplaceable at some point in our lives, is a debilitating cost for what amounts to a glorified technical college.
Is it all even worth it?