Input vs Output of Time

I have the next thirteen to fifteen years of my life planned out; they can be arranged in a sequential list in which each box must be checked off in order to proceed to the subsequent step.

◻Bachelor’s degree: four years. During this time, take certain number of credit hours in the sciences, study two hours at the very least for every hour spent in a science class, volunteer, do research, do clinical work under the supervision of a physician, prepare for MCAT, do extracurriculars that make you stand out from every other pre-med applicant who completed all of the previous steps listed, apply to medical schools.

◻Upon (not improbable) rejection from medical schools: option one: two or more years of a post-baccalaureate program to spend time redoing the same classes you spend four years working on in the past.

◻Option two (instead of or in addition to option one): Gap year (fill this time with meaningful research or clinical research to show improvement as an applicant)

◻Medical School: four years. During this time, study approximately seven hours each day; double this time to fourteen hours a day in preparation for the STEP exam.

◻Residency: three to five years.

◻Fellowship: one year.

Is spending this much of my life in school and studying a complete waste of time? Couldn’t I be using more of the time I have right now to help people if this is my overall end goal? Sometimes I wonder this, especially after spending so much time studying for an exam, only to receive a disappointing grade that before my eyes appears to degrade the likelihood of future events that must occur in order for me to become a physician.

Although I sometimes feel discouraged and trapped in such a seemingly immutable, mechanical sequence of events, I will be liberated from this sort of “time vacuum” when I am finally able to dedicate my time more fully to medical service to patients: in meaningful interactions with vulnerable people who seek support; in lessening pain, discomfort, and worry; in improving sometimes the length, but more often and arguably more importantly the quality of the time people have in their lives.

The input of time towards my studies now and throughout the next several years seems small and insignificant compared to its inevitable reward.