Dear Career Doctor:
I went through high school without caring about my grades because I just wanted to play sports. Now through a life changing experience at an ER I’ve enrolled into college and have straight A’s because I want to become a physician. My question is, can I become a physician with a carefree personality lingering in my past?
Here’s a secret to living a happy life: keep the good parts of your youthful personality and leave the bad parts behind. You have grown beyond the naive belief that education is unimportant. But I hope you keep other aspects of your carefree young self.
When I was in graduate school, one of my supervisors was an eminent psychiatrist in his ’80′s. He was very smart and well-trained, and I always respected his opinion about the cases I was working on. But what I respected even more than his erudition, was the fact that he could still laugh and have a good time. It didn’t make him less of a serious professional, it just made him a joyful human being. He kept the best part of being a child, without being childish!
This is an important task for everyone, but ESPECIALLY for people who are going into professions like medicine that can be draining, stressful and sometimes depressing. The ability to have a private life, where you leave the worries of the office behind, is the best protection you could possibly have against burnout. So don’t let the carefree personality linger in your past — bring the best parts of it into the present and future.