Summary: Just do it and do it for a long time consistently. You’ll build proteins along the way and you’ll like it in the long term.
I decided to postpone another exam, but I haven’t revealed this information to anyone besides my immediate family. I’m embarrassed. However, I’ve learned things about myself during this retreat time that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to do otherwise. This period was like “life mediation.”
- Doing Things Consistently >> Thinking and Optimizing: I write a lot about meditating, thinking, focusing, and mapping personal weaknesses. Rarely do I execute these plans. These past few months showed that consistency and long term efforts do win (even though they didn’t in this case). However, I’ve honed my focusing abilities; I focus on reading material for longer periods of time. I don’t think there’s a specific goal that should be done before others. The only thing I can tell myself, is to keep doing whatever you’re doing for longer periods of time. In the process, you learn what works and what doesn’t work, and you’ll naturally modify them. Yes, hypothetical thinking does you some good. However, consistency trumps everything because of muscle memory (think G-proteins: if I read an abstract correctly, short term memory includes covalent modification of pre-existing proteins, but long term memory actually happens at the gene transcription level so new proteins are synthesized!).
- Anything is Interesting if You Sit with it Long Enough and Think Hard About It: I’ve complained bitterly about becoming a physician, and about how I dislike biochemistry. I lied. Sort of. I do like biochemistry, I really do. It’s really interesting. I just didn’t know this when I sat through my lectures in college because I was scared. Strangely, sitting through Biology MCAT preparatory materials rekindled my love (!) for biochemistry. I never realized how fun organic chemistry or biology was. Who would have know neurons and action potentials could be interesting– especially when applied to the dancing squid (dead octopus dances in a salty (sodium-rich) soup base. The squid dances because the salt can activate the sodium pumps or (by an alternate explanation) leads to depolarization). Anyways, rambling aside, I think I can definitively say, “Biology is interesting. ” Even diabetes is interesting from a clinical perspective. However, the conclusion is, keep working at it and don’t complain. I think, I’m slowly inactivating, or rewiring myself to like biology, after years and years of complaining to many many people. So, yes, keep at it. It’s painful at the time, but you grow so much.
- Understanding things takes a longer time than rote memorization in the short run, but it makes connecting easy. I could never force myself to internally summarize reading anything. However, preparing for the verbal part is forcing me to do it. All the time. It’s hard and it makes my brains hurt because it’s active reading (thank you, Mortimer Adler). However, my brains hurt less now and I understand things better. I think I need to consistently force myself to do and try things that are difficult but are good for me more immediately. Until it becomes a habit. And I’m no longer scared.
I’m going to take up running because I need this focus and endurance. (Hat Tip to Murakami, author of “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”–what a genius both of life and literature!) My focusing is improving, but endurance is behind. Let’s see if I’m consistent with this goal…
Also Something to Think About: How to convince yourself to do something that’s good for you, but “you just don’t feel like doing at this moment…”