No one cares.
I realised no one cares what my excuses are, no one cares what my dreams are, no one cares about your history. That is a crystal clear truth and it didn't make me sad or upset. Ultimately all that matters is what you deliver.
I realised this out walking with some friends when one turned and asked me, outside of medicine what is my greatest ambition. I told him. Something I had kept almost secret for years, just one question and there it was spoken. Would you like to know what it is?
I have plenty of ambitions, lots of dreams I want to achieve and only a few relate directly to medicine. In school I was okay at everything - except Art. I made it on the netball team once but got dropped after I panicked and passed the ball to the girl on the other team. After that debacle and the subsequent mocking from family and friends my interest in official school sports dimmed considerably.
Represent my country, at a national level, in a sport.
As I said it my dream gained a fragile real existance and I realised that the dream I had harboured for so long only mattered to me. He didn't care whether I did it or not. He didn't know how I hadn't bothered in school P.E classes. How I was the 'science' kid not the sporty kid. As a friend I would hope he would cheer me on but I was the biggest reason whether or not I succeeded at that particular dream.
|Having a dream is all well and good, but is it realistic?|
I realise this particular dream requires input from lots of different parties all with different vested interests and I also need to be realistic about the amount of time I invest in this and not on other things like my studies. I thought about this as I planked in my tiny student room. The attitude I develop focussing on my ambitions, note the plural, may not be a bad thing. Two quotes I heard at uni both still reverberate in my head. The first was on my first week the Vice Chancellor got up and told us to seize all the opportunities before us. She urged us to work hard and have fun, to explore and make mistakes. "This is the only time in your life spent purely on improving yourself, use it wisely". As someone who has been around the university block a little bit I was cocksure, I knew how to study I knew what I was doing. My first year has been an eye opener, one that I am incredibly grateful for. I already knew where and how I wanted to focus my energies next year, things that worked and those that didn't work so well. This self reflection was important (This is all PA gold here) and interesting. I had never had to really think about how I studied or what studying methods suited me best.
The second quote, and this is more immediately relevant to this blog post, came after I questioned a friend about changes to timetabling that meant she would have to get permission to miss lectures to make her sports commitments. She thought carefully before saying "I came here to study Medicine not make Medicine my life."
|Sir Roger Bannister a medical student at the time of setting his 4 minute mile record|
That sentence caused a minor earthquake luckily no one else on the bus from the hospital noticed except me. That was the moment I realised my own ambitions have a validity, my ambitions outside of Medicine. It was all well and good seeing it on TV with the likes of Dr. Jamie Roberts, Dr. Tamsin Lewis and the possibly most famous sporty medic Sir Roger Bannister. Let me be honest here the chances of me making it, that far, are slim but I can still dream and I can work towards that dream knowing that it is okay to fail but only once I have given it everything I can.
|Dr Jamie Roberts said studying while playing rugby at an elite level was the hardest thing he ever did.|
So with the 3 months of summer ahead I plan being the fittest and smartest I have ever been. It might seem like an innocuous easy target but in between working and a little bit of r&r with friends and family I already haven't seen properly in 9 months, studying and training are going to be challenging. Yet it is the first, and important step down a road I want to travel. So I start with the basics.
Weightlifting baby Roger Bannister Unknown
Jamie Roberts Getty Images