An Open Letter to all my Medical & Non-Medical Loved Ones ...

To the long nights studying endlessly, cramming as much information the night before a big exam, to only get to the exam the next day, and NOTHING that you studied is on the exam, or after spending hours studying for an exam, only to end up with a mediocre grade; to the days studying into the wee hours on Friday’s and Saturday’s, while all your other friends are out and about enjoying life; to the missed weddings, vacations, outings, due to the fact that you have to work or study for a big exam the following week. 

This is to all of those who having dedicated saving a stranger’s life and putting a smile on their face, while dealing with our own internal issues. This is to all of those who miss holidays with their families because we are at the hospital making holiday miracles for other families.

Being in the medical field may look glamorous on television, but there is so more much that goes into it. Yes, you get a good paycheck, and depending on what specialty and field you go into, the quality of life is pretty decent. However, the work to get to that point is not glamorous at all. Imagine only getting 4 hours a sleep 5 days out of the week because you are constantly studying and are in classes all day. Imagine being in classes 6 hours, only to come home to study for another 4-5 hours. Imagine missing family vacations because you cannot miss class. While everyone else is living, you are tied down to a book, PowerPoint, outline, note cards, etc. It seems like life goes on, and you are stuck in your own little world. From undergrad until now, the majority of us did not have it easy, as a lot of us were science majors in undergrad, which also required a lot of work and diligence. The physical and mental stress that goes into becoming a medical professional can be overwhelming. To all of those who are currently in the process of becoming a medical provider … thank you. Thank you for NOT giving up. Thank you for putting 100% into everything you do. I know the tunnel seems bleak, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Being in PA school has been a mental roller coaster. You are being critiqued every second of the hour, whether it’s by your professor, peers and yourself. The feeling of “you’re not good enough” and needing to be “perfect” is an everlasting feeling. The constant anxiety that you are not understanding something, and you are not progressing at the same rate as your classmates is real. To all of those I have met along this journey, thanks for being a kind shoulder to lean on, cry on, vent to and rejoice with. Without you guys, it wouldn’t be possible. Eight months later, I am finally feeling comfortable with not knowing it all, or forgetting something I learned the previous quarter, and I know if it wasn’t for the encouragement and reassurance that it’s okay not to be “perfect,” I would still be struggling with it.

It might seem like “nobody understands what I’m going through,” but I just wanted to let you guys know, you are not alone. Though our friends and family back home who are not medical professionals try to comfort us with kind words and tell us to stay “focused,” they could never really UNDERSTAND what we’re going through unless they’ve gone through it themselves. It may look like we’re “chilling,” but 9 times out of 10, we’re thinking about next week’s exams and why did the previous exam go wrong. Every minute or second that are not spent studying we feel guilty about. It’s so hard to translate the amount of time and effort that we put in on a daily basis to our loved ones because they are not “in it.” They only see what’s on the outside but they do not see the daily operations that it takes to get to this point. I am here to tell you that you are not alone. There are plenty of other people that are going through the EXACT same thing as you. The sacrifice is REAL, which is something only we can understand, but you are not alone in this process. Remember why you started in the first place.

To those who are not in the medical field … I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I couldn’t reply to your text or phone call because I was studying or catching up on sleep. I’m sorry that I missed your wedding or birthday because I had to study for finals & couldn't leave town for the weekend. I’m sorry I didn’t seem engaged in your problems because I’m dealing with my own problems, but still want to be a good friend & listen despite everything I’m going through. I’m sorry for not being there as much as I should be, and not talking to you for days at a time because I’m stuck in class all day and forgot to text you to see how you were doing. I’m sorry.

I just want to thank you. Thank you for supporting us while we go through this. Thank you for being patient, kind and supportive. Thank you for “trying” to be emphatic about what we’re going through. Your love and support gets us through each moment we are feeling down, each moment that we want to give up…thank you. I know we seem like "superheros" to you guys, but just like you guys, we are dealing with things too. Thank you for uplifting us and giving us back our confidence. Thank you for wiping our tears, and telling us “everything is going to be okay.”

….thank you. This one is for you

--Amber xoxo

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