Medical School

You Have to be Good at Everything

… This is what my senior resident said to me yesterday.

“You do good work, but its obvious that you don’t really want to be here.  My best piece of advice for your level is to try and be good at everything.  Even if you don’t like something, just make the best of it and work your hardest to learn as much as you can.”

I feel bad about myself for this.  I know I shouldn’t.  I know I probably could have worked harder, and maybe it was obvious that I didn’t really want to be on internal medicine.  But the truth is, I’m exhausted.  I think, no matter what rotation I could have been on right now, I would be less-than-excited to be there.  I want to be a good student, I really do.  I want to learn as much as I can, but I am also just trying to keep it all together.

And really, how can everyone be good at everything?  I know he’s talking about “everything” in medicine, but there is a lot more that I have to be good at too… like being a good mom.  It may seem like I am eager to get out of here at the end of the day.  But it’s not because I want to get out of the hospital, per se; It has more to do with the fact that I have a shit-ton of responsibility to get home to and the later I get home to that, the farther behind I get.  It may seem as though I’m not that interested in internal medicine (and really, I’m not) but the truth is that I barely have enough energy to be interested in my own children… When push comes to shove, I need to expend that energy on my children, I think.

How can you be good at everything?  Should I be upset or offended that my resident noticed that I’m counting down the days left on this rotation?

I don’t know if I can be good at everything.  Is that fair?

9 thoughts on “You Have to be Good at Everything

  1. I’m always amazed by Moms who are able to go back to school, take on demanding careers, and somehow, still deal with the responsibilities of being a mother, having a spouse and taking care of a house. My aunt went back to school in her early forties to get her Master’s degree while working full time and raising three children, and this just amazes me! I have few responsibilities beyond a few bills and often feel I don’t have enough leisure time.

    I wish our society was more understanding toward mom/dads with children. I wish work schedules were more flexible and bosses (who tend to be men and probably aren’t the lead on child raising at home) were more understanding of what working mothers have to go through. I don’t really know how this kind of change comes about — maybe we women need to be more vocal and assertive and get more involved in the political process so we can start making things happen!

    That said, I recently blogged about this article I read a few months ago called “Six Harsh Truths that will Make you a Better person.” Basically, the article says that the world doesn’t care what you do or what your good qualities are…you just need to deliver a service when it’s needed, because when push comes to shove, the world needs something from you, and it just doesn’t care about all the other stuff. I remember feeling really offended when I first read it (and thinking something along the lines of: Well, if this is what society has come to, I don’t want to be in society!) but I think there’s some truth to that, and I’ve been trying to apply some of this to my own life. I work a therapist for an intake line with a local county, and at the end of the day, my client’s need help and services and they could probably care less that I recently went through a difficult divorce, that I’m working hard to turn my life around, that it’s been a very up and down past few months, and on and on. Not that I have anywhere near the responsibility you do! So the article is definitely worth reading, even if you don’t fully agree, I think it makes some good points. It took me a while to react, but now six months after reading it, I’ve started applying some of those points into my life…I started exercising, working to look my best, I started taking my career seriously, applying myself and really challenging myself, worked on being a better friend, etc, and I do find that I’m happier now than I was six months ago because I feel better about my work, my relationships and myself!

    Sorry this got so long, and good luck with everything in your life.


    1. I think I am going to go and find that article! It sounds like it might be worth reading, but I get the sense that it will piss me off too! Oh well! I’ll let you know what I think!


  2. No, I don’t think you should be offended. He seems more like he is trying to help than he is trying to berate or anything like that. & I think everyone should try to be good at everything they are pursuing. You try. You may not always succeed, but at least you make an attempt. What he said sounded to me more like a pep talk than a reprimand. Lots o’ luck to you. I’m sure you’ll be fine, just gotta hang in there and focus on the goal of it all. 🙂


    1. Thanks, CB. I know you’re right. I think the hard thing is that I want to be good at everything, so it sucks to know I’m not doing a good job of it.


  3. I think it’s so easy to beat yourself up over that comment – no one likes criticism or disapproval. But at the end of the day, you just can’t be good at everything, and obviously your kids take priority. Try not to worry too much about it. 🙂


    1. After thinking about it for a bit, I figure it was more of a tip than a criticism. It’s just hard to not take things to personally when you are so tired!


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