Inside-out

By: Ariela Rozenek – Class of 2015

Scene: A family gathering at a restaurant. A med student, Cynthia, enters, having not seen her family in some time. Everyone is eating and enjoying exciting conversation.

Aunt: Cynth! It’s so good to see you dear. How is school?

Cynthia: It’s great auntie! My classes are going really well.

Cynthia inside: Hahaha. You’re joking, right? I thought you left each tutorial feeling discouraged and defeated.

Aunt: So good to hear. We’re all so proud of you!

Cynthia inside: Oh for god’s sake. I know you’re proud. I knoooowww. What happens if I don’t make it? Will you suddenly stop being proud? Then what?

Cynthia: Thanks auntie. It means a lot to have your support.

Cynthia inside: … not that you have any idea what it’s like.

Grandma: Oh sweetie. You look wonderful. You know, if your grandpa were here, he’d say he always knew you’d make an amazing doctor.

Cynthia: Aw. Thanks grams. I miss grandpa too.

Cynthia inside: Good doctor? How about passing my CAE? Should I tell my grandmother that I got pimped on the anion-gap and I had zero clue what it was anymore? Should I tell her that I’m pretty worried that I’m going to start clerkship eons behind the rest of my class?

Cynthia (internally): Look, you need to get it together. These distorted thoughts are killing me. Enough! I do work hard. I am going to be a great doctor. Leave me alone.

Grandma: Did you say something, dear?

Cynthia: Oh no, grams. Don’t worry.

Cynthia walks alone to the bar to make herself a drink and is joined by her mother.

Mom: Hun, how was school this week?

Cynthia: It was ok mom. It was ok.

Mom: Just ok?

Cynthia: Yea. Just ok.

Cynthia inside: Honesty. Good.

Mom: Tell me one good thing and one less good thing that happened.

Cynthia: I felt really bad about tutorial and I did below average on the PPI, that test we have to take that basically ranks us.

Mom: And the good?

Cynthia inside: Tell her about the patient you saw at the clinic you took that history for who said you were doing great!

Cynthia: Oh yea. I had a really good day at the clinic, met a really sweet patient. Difficult story, but so kind.

Mom: That sounds wonderful! So, what about the other stuff, this test? What happened there and how can you do better next time?

Cynthia inside: Guess we hadn’t thought of that…

Cynthia: Um, I don’t know, I guess it’s not such a big deal. I’ll do better next time.

Mom: Ok. Makes sense. I just want to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.

Cynthia (internally): Yea. That means not fixating on negative thoughts. I know that it’s tough sometimes, and that people all around you seem to be miles ahead, and hyper stressed and have it all together, but for my mental health, you really need to cut out the negative banter.

Mom: Did you say something, sweetie?

Cynthia: Nope. All good.

Cynthia inside: I’ve got nothing.

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