More of why med school blows hard...

This past weekend I headed home to attend my best friend's engagement party. He lives in SanFran now and flew all the way back MA to celebrate with those that won't be able to make it out to the wedding in July. I'll be in the wedding, but I felt like I should go home and drag my parents to see him. I've actually been best friends with him since we were in Kindergarten, and we're 23 now. It's a surreal feeling because it seems like just yesterday we were playing basketball in his driveway or facing off against each other in Little League. I've still got an image of him in my head as a 10 year old, not a budding CFA candidate with a wife and a house of his own. I vividly remember him calling me three years ago when he got engaged and how shocked I was, and now he's actually going to have the wedding. It's causing a whole new level of backlash with how I'm feeling.

When he first told me about this weekend, he prefaced his invitation with "I assume that you're going to be too busy with school, BUT..." Those words stirred something inside of me that was sort of a mix of disgust, self-loathing and disappointment. Who the hell would miss something like this because of school? Am I becoming one of those people? What else in my life am I going to miss because of this career? At the same time, was the scary voice saying "STUDY. You must STUDY". Thankfully I managed to ignore that for some time, but it's about a week before Neuro and Behavioral exams, so there's a decent amount of stress now to catch up for slacking off all weekend.

Anyway, I found myself comparing my life to his on the ride back to school (3 hours). I came to the realization that I was basically putting pretty much EVERYTHING but medical school into a holding pattern. Many of my friends are in successful jobs where they work their 40-50 hours/week and take home well in excess of $60k/year, or they're engaged/married and buying houses and having kids and going away on weekends and seeing their friends and family. I swore that I would never let med school consume who I am at the onset of M1. I've since realized that it's not realistic to expect to have a normal, let alone flourishing, social life while in medical school and that everything personal comes at the price of my performance.

There are only a few other people that can relate to the feeling of isolation that this can breed: law students, deployed military personnel, clergy that have taken a vow of silence and prisoners of conscience. I mean seriously, I've been cloistered away in a library, lecture hall or clinic for the better part of a year. Besides a quick spring break and christmas at home I've basically studied... AND IT ONLY GETS WORSE from here!

I've also developed an innate and unnatural sense of guilt when I take a weekend to go home/away. My notes and books have made several trips, even to other countries, all in the name of medical education. It is certainly not natural or healthy to feel guilty about taking personal/family time, yet that is the ingrained culture of medical school. It seems that my entire existence has been whittled down to the pretense that "I have to study."

I guess that I never realized that the inner voice driving me to study, could be heard so loudly by others. I'm afraid that I'm becoming something that I don't want to be... a workaholic who is absolutely no fun to be around and has no defining features beyond his occupation.