In a recent conversation with a friend, I got asked the question ‘why do you want to study medicine?’. Now this wasn’t a university interview, so she didn’t want a formal, rehearsed answer, but rather what she described as a ‘real’ answer. I told her that it was because I wanted to change the world, although I’m not sure I fully meant it. I then asked her the same question, to which she gave me an answer that inspired this blog post I’m writing today: ‘because I want to know everything’.
A passion for learning is an amazing thing. It’s something which drives people to immerse themselves in knowledge, to take things they are taught one step further. It’s something which sets apart the best students from the average ones. Whether you’re in school or university, or even working full-time, you’re constantly learning new things, whether you’re aware of it or not. So many students today are lacking passion and motivation, often feeling like they are forced to study when they don’t want to. But why do they feel this way? It may be that they have lost interest in the subject they are studying, and they would rather be doing something else. For the majority of my school life I have certainly felt this way, but as I approach the end of sixth form I’ve begun to question my motives. After you leave sixth form, there is no longer any legal obligation which forces you to remain in education. Yet, a lot of people will choose to go to university because ‘it’s the right thing to do’, even though once they get there they just become even more miserable than they were before. I asked myself, is this really how I want to be spending the next 6 years of my life at medical school?
Obviously not; I wanted things to change. I wanted to reignite the intellectual curiosity which first pushed me into pursuing medicine all those years ago. As soon as I began working on this the results spoke for themselves. I found myself paying more attention in class, asking more questions, challenging other people’s viewpoints. I began having more serious conversations with like-minded individuals about topics which interested the both of us. And when there was something I didn’t know much about, I discovered that I wanted to know more about it. I finally understood my friend’s desire to ‘want to know everything’. A sustained interest in learning may prove difficult, but in the long term it will most certainly be rewarding. After all, everyone wants to spend their lives doing something they love. But sometimes they must learn to love it first.
Until next time,