I find myself thinking these two thoughts very often. More often than I should, really.
You see, it took me a few tries to get into med school (as it does for most people). However, the year before I got accepted, I was put on the waiting list. And, not only was I put on the waiting list, but I was one of the people who was kept on the waiting list until the very, bitter end… After the Labour Day long weekend, you know, in case something tragic happens or someone sees the light and realizes that med school really wasn’t the right decision for them? It might seem like an insignificant fact, but it means that I was NEXT in line for a spot, if not… second to next. So, there are many, many times when I think to myself, what if I got into med school a year earlier?
Actually, more often I think, If only I got into med school a year earlier…
That thought ran through my head today: I was sitting with a group of senior clinical clerks at lunch today and they were all talking about their upcoming residency interviews and the residency match. If I had been in their class, I would be thinking about those things too. I would also be graduating med school this spring, and starting residency this summer. But alas, I’m not.
But then I think of all the events that took place because I didn’t get called from that spot on the waiting list. I remember going for lunch with DH that summer and talking about what I was going to do now that I didn’t get into med school. I told him that I wanted to have kids and since I already had so much education, I would just go back to doing what I did before I got the crazy idea to apply to med school. He didn’t like that idea because he knew how important it was to me to get into med school, so we made a deal: I would apply to med school ONE more time and we would try to have a baby who would be born sometime between May and July so as to not interfere with my final exams in April (which I needed to ace to increase my admission average) and to ensure that I didn’t need to defer my start in August, provided I was offered admission.
So, I registered for another year of my undergrad English degree and we started trying to have a baby. Lo and behold, we got pregnant the second month we tried. At that moment, I knew I would get accepted into med school – because the universe likes to sit back and laugh at me… You want it all, G. Have it all…
Anyway, to get back to the point of my post, I’m pretty sure (actually, most certain) that if I had been accepted into med school off that waiting list, we would have never tried to have a baby when we did and little A. would not be here. I’m pretty sure, in fact, that little E. probably wouldn’t exist either.
Before I started med school (and before I was pregnant), I was almost certain that I wanted to be a general practitioner/family physician; maybe a pediatrician. Obs/gyne was nowhere on the radar. However, my pregnancy made me realize how amazing the female body is, how fascinating fetal development is, and how much I want to be involved in the beautiful process of bringing a new person into the world… over and over and over again. A new passion was born and it has only flourished even more since!
My pregnancy also introduced me to K. I would be lying if I said that meeting K wasn’t an inspiration for me in the field of obs/gyne: She is such a caring and compassionate physician, and the desire to emulate her caring nature and approach to patient care gave me something else to strive towards. The long patient/doctor relationship I’ve had with her and the road to building a mentoring relationship with her (which is still new and in the development stages) has also made me realize more about the wonders of the obs/gyne specialty.
So, all in all, if I had only gotten into med school a year earlier, I would be a year ahead in my career. Great!
However, I would probably have no A. and no E. (despite yesterday’s post, I do love them dearly and they have enriched my life in more ways than I will ever appreciate). There is also a good chance that I would never have discovered my true passion in medicine, and that would be an utter shame. I would also have missed out on the opportunity to get to know K.
It really is true, what they say:
When one door closes, another one opens… or
Everything happens for a reason…
Thinking If only… and What if…? are never as simple questions as we’d like to think because there are always so many other factors to take into consideration. Just like no man is an island, no event is an island, either.