Monthly Archives: July 2012

moral compasses and awkward lecture moments

In a lecture about ethics, specifically concerning threats to ethics:

absolutism: there is one, timeless universal moral truth that everyone should adhere to

When the professor reached this definition, he asked the class, “How many of you know people who are absolutists?  You know, they’re the ones who think that they have the one truth, and they believe everyone should follow it…”

Perhaps I’m just naive, but I immediately read “Christians” between the lines.  I suddenly felt really uncomfortable as I sat in this lecture.  My discomfort is actually quite amusing now that I think about it; before this, the professor had asked us what happens when our beliefs are challenged or when we’re faced with opposing viewpoints.

In any case, I found myself asking if Christianity really is a deterrent to ethics.  When followed as originally intended, it involves believers sharing the Gospel, telling people the dynamic way that God relates to humans, and urging them to make a choice to believe or not believe (preferably the former).  In addition, a functional relationship with God should shape life decisions, even in a clinical setting, even where a patient’s well-being is concerned.  

I’ve always known that many people see Christianity as close-minded and possibly even cruel.  But will it really keep me from making sound ethical decisions?  I always thought it would be an aid in that regard, not a hindrance…



donning the white coat…

it finally feels like it really happened.

being helped into my first white coat and thus guided onto the path of the physician.  shaking hands with faculty and later laughing with them over plates of refreshments.  taking pictures with new friends.

the ceremony was short, but it was perfect.  there was no lengthy list of speakers, no lofty cliches.  we were celebrated in an intimate way, as if we were all family.  coincidentally, this sense of community is the very feeling that led me to choose Vanderbilt in the first place.

one of the moments that i took away came when one of the deans mentioned that physicians earn their white coat again and again every day.  as i stare at the bright white coat with my name embroidered on the front, i think that every day, whether i’m coming back from class, the lab, or a clinical experience, i should ask myself if i still deserve to wear it.  this should keep me both humbled and motivated throughout my time in medical school and beyond.

hello fear

my parents helped me move into my apartment Friday and Saturday.  i should have been excited, especially after things started to look clean and the space started to feel like “mine.”  but almost all day Saturday, i found myself on the verge of tears.  it felt as if i were being assaulted by fear.  myriad what ifs buzzed around my head like angry wasps, questioning my ability to live alone, to handle the work ahead of me, even to become an effective physician.

after reading about how to conquer inadequacy through Christ, talking to my parents, and trying to reassure myself with Bible verses, prayers, and common sense, the negative thoughts still did not leave me completely.  i can only hope that these doubts will eventually fade, and if they don’t, i pray that they won’t immobilize me or keep me from reaching my full potential.