An Open Letter to Medicine – Hiba Ghandour

An open letter to medicine

Dear Medical School,

You have been my dream ever since I was a kid. As cliche as that may sound, you were. In psychology, they say a kid’s first memory says a lot about who they are today. My first memory was me at 3 years, playing with a stethoscope in kindergarten.
But I’m not writing this to tell you how madly I fought for you. Because I did, I gave everything I had, from time to energy and even sanity. With God’s blessings I was able to enter one of the best medical schools in Lebanon and the MENA region.
The purpose of this letter is different.
I want to tell you how much you took from me.
You know, every time a biology or pre-med student would ask for my opinion about joining medicine, I’d tell them my experience, a young girl discouraged from pursuing medicine because it’s tiring and time consuming. ‘Just do something shorter and enjoy your life, maybe build a family if you want’. Not just from family members, from doctors as well.
But I never cared about what they said and thought to myself, they dont know how passionate I am about medicine.
I then tell the senior pre-med: ‘medicine is a lot like love. You give all yourself to it. If you’re having a shred of doubt don’t do it. but if you believe you’re immensely in love with the concept and you absolutely want and need it in your life, then do it, you’ll love it’.
All of them, with no exception, told me I’m the only one who’s advised them so positively about medicine.

It’s been a few months since a pre-med asked for my advice. If they were to come to me now, I don’t know what I’d tell them.
They tell us medicine is time consuming and tiring, but no one tells us that we may lose our sanity at one point. They didn’t tell us we join medical school as a group of 100 or so enthusiasts with big dreams and many of us will grab depression along the way. Sure we jump out of it but we still grab it at one point.
They tell us we’ll miss sleep but they never tell us that our soul will miss peace at times.
They never told us about the plague of misery or the corruption that is as contagious as ebola.
They never tell us about the drama, they said “it’s nothing like grey’s anatomy”. Well allow me to tell you, just 11 months into it and it feels like grey’s anatomy is an understatement.
They never tell us that falling in love is way harder than we think, not because we become more demanding, but because we’re changing at an infinite rate in an ocean of stress (among many other things).
They never tell us, especially the girls, that even though medicine ranks well in society, women in medicine are perceived as intimidating by many.

Medical school, you made this year one of the hardest in my life.
You made me stronger, you made me realize that despite everything, I do love medicine. You’ve made me more conscious and aware, more resilient, more empathic, more knowledgeable, someone who takes better care of herself. You made me realize my worth and that I should never settle. From professional to personal, you’ve been there A to Z, guiding me to refinement.
You gave me so much despite what you’ve taken.
NO other career can give this much.

But just between us, you take just as much as you give. And I hope one day it’ll be worth it.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !

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