A work in progress

A work in progress

It has been a year since I started writing in this blog. Time flies. Seems as if it was just yesterday I felt my life was heading nowhere, and I had to think of different things to believe I was put on Earth for a reason. Maybe it feels like all of this happened just yesterday because the fire within me to find my purpose in life has not yet been extinguished. It is quite disappointing to know that a year has passed but you are still at a standstill. Who says the Earth does not revolve around me? Sigh.

Well, I have to admit there has been some progress. In the beginning of this year, I decided to study for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) with hopes of applying to medical school, of course. But, the excitement did not last long. Thinking of the (im)possibilities of getting into medical school — being a tiny speck in a pool of thousands of competitive and intelligent kids — sent me into a downward spiral. I don’t mean to use a cliche, but during the past few weeks I have felt as if I am on an emotional roller coaster. One minute I am happy and motivated, and the next I am doubting my abilities to pass the MCAT, let alone get into medical school.

We all need motivation now and then; some more than others. Ever since I made up my mind to apply to medical school, I worry that my so-called ‘dream to be a doctor’ is driven by extrinsic motivation. I bet you will soon (if you haven’t already) open up a tab to search up ‘extrinsic motivation’; it’s great if you do. I am hoping to educate through storytelling — just one of those things I do (insert smirk emoji). So yes — we are said to be extrinsically motivated if our behaviour is driven by external rewards such as money, prestige, grades, etc. We are said to be intrinsically motivated if we do things because we simply enjoy doing them. The following study serves as a great example to help understand the difference — paying children to draw vs. allowing children to draw at their own interest, with no reward. The results of this study are pretty interesting — researchers found that children who received a reward (the children knew about the reward prior to start of experiment) were not as excited to draw, i.e. spent less time drawing, than children who did not receive a reward.

Isn’t that mind-boggling?! You’d guess the children who received a reward to have done a better job. Goes to show how prevailing systems, such as schools, may be causing more damage than good. Most of us go to school to ‘learn’ whatever is taught, cram for a test, and hope to God we pass the course, subject, etc. Schools have merely become a lifestyle, and are not used for their intended purpose. Grades motivate us, getting to the best universities motivate us, yadi yadi yada… We have no value for the essence of education. We no longer love learning — at least not everyone does. I am not accusing everyone else to shrug the guilt off me — I was the same! I studied for the grades. Studied to get a degree. Studied so that I can get a job. And now what? I have that… what have I learnt? I am not sure what the right system is, but I strongly believe the current system is not motivating us to do what we love.

I voice all this is to highlight my own doubts about my future. I no longer know what I love doing. I used to know, or I thought I did until I was exposed to the field. It was not for me. Now I need to find a different road to take — one less boring, as opposed to one less travelled (Robert Frost reference; yes, that’s the extent of my literature knowledge). So coming back to the MCAT, I am not sure if I want to do medical school. I believe the best way to find out is if I shadow a physician/ surgeon to get a taste of what it is like to wake up every day to save lives, and at the same time lose lives.

Until then, I shall continue to study. I am trying not to study for the sake of getting great MCAT scores, but to know a little bit more about the world. Isn’t there a saying — the more you know, the more you don’t (or something like that). This is absolutely true. I have realized over the past few months that I know very less. And I am excited to know it all, or at least most of it, but it is overwhelming, I don’t know where to begin. But I guess that is the beauty of learning; you never know what you don’t know. Before I go off at a tangent, i will bid adieu. Until next time 🙂

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