Sunday, March 06, 2011

The End of School

"I got through it, I feel fine
I went to school and did my time
In a sense I'm out, in a sense I'm free
To be what I wanna be

You gotta stick together
With who you are and who you know
You gotta remember
Where you've been
And where you wanna go"

Doing Time (1996) by MxPx

I woke up this morning and saw that I had written the following post (while being under the influence) which I had left unpublished before going to bed,

I'm a little tipsy right now but my plan was to drink myself into a coma. I had to leave the club early - Jo had one too many tequila shots (four or five!). I found her on the dance floor, clinging to Sanjeev and dancing over a puddle of her own puke before passing out. I wish I'm having that much fun. I couldn't because Shaki leant over and shouted something in my ear through the bedlam and all of a sudden, I was drinking to drown a sorrow instead of drinking in jubilation.

I probably shouldn't be blogging right now. I'll probably say things I will regret.

Hours ago, the verdict broke. Facebook was suffused with gratitude dedicated to God; a person I used to know but apparently many still do. The curmudgeonly atheist in me wanted to point out that God had nothing to do with it. The Christian God, the Muslim God, the Hindu and Taoist gods - do they all exist simultaneously? Because prayers to each and every last one of them seemed to have been answered (and ignored) alike. Indiscriminately, whimsically, randomly.

Everyone is brimming with the pride and joy of achievement; publicly prefixing their names with the honorific "Dr" and announcing to anyone who would listen that our batch of students, against all odds, had attained one of the best result statistics in recent years. So many masturbatory pats on one's own back. So many pompous declarations that we made history, quote-unquote. There's so much self-congratulation going on that you'd think it's the Academy Awards night. Maybe we had something to prove. Maybe is was because we had been vilified too often for being the worst collection of fuck-ups the university ever enrolled, as they so often told us. I begrudge no one their finest hour, but I want to make it clear that I do not share my colleagues inflated appraisal of our worth. Incidentally, I also hold the word 'history' to a higher, more dignified standard.

For many, it is the culmination of a dream come true. They were idealistic, aspiring children with this one goal in life - to be a doctor - and I can only imagine the sense of fulfillment they experience living up to it. I envy them. I feel only relief, because my dreams lie not in medicine. I set out to get through medical school using the minimum number of semesters possible and my mission was accomplished - however undeserving this victory may be. I was as burned out as a candle in a house fire. I gave up. Halfway through my final assessment, I did pretty much everything to sabotage my own chances. I started escaping to the cinema daily to have some time alone in the dark where I can cease to exist, if only momentarily. I spent the nights before every big hurdle thinking up excuses I could make for failing instead of getting the sleep I desperately needed. My biological clock was dialed about a quarter of a day into the past, and in the mornings when I was required to perform, I was performing on a brain which kept moaning, 'What gives? We should be in bed now!' In those moments when I felt the loss of control most acutely, I saw the appeal of prayers, of asking for divine intercession - but I had long since outgrown my childlike habit of speaking to my omnipotent imaginary best friend. How does one whisper into the aether and ask for wishes to come true, and not feel stupid or insane? So, I continued my unbelieving, blaspheming ways. Turns out, it makes not one horsefeather of difference whether you beg meekly at God's feet or call him a celestial sheep-fucker.

I am a doctor now, apparently. Whoop dee doo. Don't congratulate me because I have not done anything of note or worthy of praise. I have not done anything that I am proud of.

Oh wow. That has got to be one of the bitterest, most depressing pieces of writing ever penned in relation to finishing med school. There's should be a breathalyser test instead of password clearance for access to my PC - I believe I wouldn't have written it sober. And the song lyrics I chose yesterday night to head this post was Eleni Mandell's Forget Me,

"Forget me you're on your way
We don't have to stay in touch
We may remember someday
Til' then it doesn't matter that much"

Now, I'm sure everyone would prefer the MxPx song I quoted on finishing school instead. This is not something I say often because it's hard to say, but it's true. The best thing I got out of med school is not my knowledge, my degree, the title I get to put in front of my name or the letters I get to stick behind it. The best thing I got out of med school are my friends who stuck by me in spite of the mess of a person I am. It must not have been easy.

To quote a different part of the same Eleni Mandell song,

"I promise I'll never forget you."

k0k s3n w4i


Dr.Vishaal Bhat said...

Welcome to the new club.. Same as the old one :)

fevrier said...

i shall now address you as doktah posie.... all the while thinking of the mad scientist in battle angel alita, first series. he was a great, crazy scientist. Dr Nova he was. i want to read the series again.

i quote "GRATS"

Betsy said...

congrats bro :)

McGarmott said...

I disagree. That kind of writing, with the choice of words and rhythm and reversals, would've been hell-engaging for the opening lines of a novel, and crazy-brilliant if this is the level of writing you can sustain midway into a novel.

nis said...

Congratulations anyways. Keep in contact.

Rewarp said...

I agree with McGarmott. You should write more while on the verge of collapsing from drunkenness fuelled by jubilation and depression.

I am beginning to wonder what you would sound like while debating a creationist in a drunken stupor.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Dr.Vishaal Bhat: ha, thanks. same, 'cept i'm going to get paid for it now :)

beve: wasn't he also in the subsequent series, battle angel alita: last order? in fact, there were several dr novas in last order. and FLAN!!1!

Betsy: thanks, sis.

McGarmott: i just thought it seemed so inappropriate and mean-spirited for the occasion. but i didn't want to delete it either - so i posted it up for posterity.

nis: you know where to find me, ol' roommate.

Rewarp: maybe that's why so many writers wrestle with depression and alcoholism. and i think it's pretty much established that i'm a lot meaner drunk. probably a lot more ad hominems and assertions that i banged the creationist's mother.

~*caryn*~ said...

k0k, i love your blog. but this, sigh, wrong timing for me to read this. i'm in the middle of my finals, tomorrow is day three. "what if i fail" has been on my mind with dread for quite some time, and reading that actually made me ask "what if i fail" with curiosity. like maybe i'd fail for the kicks of it. but you know what's most depressing? that i won't have to guts to do it. i'd probably drag my tiba-tiba depressed self back to my books and force myself to read and pass despite not knowing what the fuck i'm doing.

or maybe i'm just PMSing.

k0k s3n w4i said...

~*caryn*~: there are few people who went through med school with the feeling of certitude that they are going to pass. there are fewer still who never once doubted their choice of profession. i've done both things; the second thing for far more times than I care to keep count (and still am doing). it helps to remember these things. I looked around at my colleagues before every phase of my finals, just to reassure myself that almost everyone else were as scared shitless as i was. if you're interested, my prepped excuse for failing was simply: "it's med school." there's no shame in it. good luck :)