Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cherishing the journey

Sam and I usually stick to a common theme with our blog posts: the quest for a sub-15:00 5k.  But today, as I graduate from medical school, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on a different sort of quest: the quest for an MD/PhD.

Like the journey toward the sub-15:00 barrier, the journey through medical school has been filled with trials and tribulations.  Luckily most of them have not been chronicled on video (thanks HIPAA).

Attaining an MD/PhD has been a quest of incremental gains.  It has been a path traveled page-by-page through an endless volume of knowledge.  Similarly, the path towards the elusive 15:00 barrier is traveled lap by lap through 400 meter repeats.  Both goals require tremendous time and effort as collateral for dreams deferred. It would not be a stretch to say that training for one dream has prepared Sam and I for the other.

Today as I stood in the Crouse Hinds Theater preparing for commencement a classmate asked me whether I was more proud of my forthcoming MD, or PhD.  It was a difficult question.  Both degrees are a humbling mark of accomplishment and expertise, but ultimately what makes me proud about them is the enormous amount of sacrifice and hard work that they required.  And because the path to attaining them has not been separate, but rather an intertwined saga of study-eat-sleep-repeat, I cannot choose which I am most proud of.  Instead I will simply say that I value them both because I have cherished the journey.

Goals are a funny thing.  They can often consume our time, energy, and attention.  In return they reward us with a fleeting moment of satisfaction and accomplishment.  But I believe we can reap just as much as we sow from life's great endeavors.  The secret is to cherish the journey.

 My family, without whom no journey would be possible.

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