My mom was the first one to question my decision to go to medical school. Not because she thought I couldn’t do it, quite the opposite actually. She knew I could, and she knew that if I set my mind to it, I would. No matter what that meant for my mental health, which wasn’t a cost that I used to consider. It has taken me almost a decade to realize, this is just one more thing that my mom was always right about. We are in the midst of an increasing awareness of the importance of mental health, and it has dawned on me, my mom knew this all along. She doesn’t have a computer, and she doesn’t know what a hashtag is. She never needed to see #mentalhealthmatters or #mentalhealthawareness to know what is most important in life. Even now, when I mention the possibility of moonlighting in residency, she has to ask if that’s what would be best for me. I tell her that I’ll have plenty of time, 80 hours a week sounds like a vacation compared to the 24/7 study schedule that medical school makes you feel obligated to keep. She didn’t need the results of a 12-year-long study to know that no good could come of working over 80 hours a week. Now I’m days away from taking my second set of board exams (that’s COMLEX/Level 2 because I’m a DO student, and USMLE/Step 2 because I will be competing for residency programs with MD students). These exams are 8 and 9 hours each, just a fraction of the thousands of hours spent preparing. With everything riding on these scores, I wonder (during my brief study breaks) how to listen to heed my moms advice, and not burnout.
Mother Knows Best
by Kailee Marin •