The Delicate Swing at the Pivot of the Art and Science of Medicine


While medicine is to be your vocation, or calling, see to it that you also have an avocation- some intellectual pastime which may serve to keep you in the world of art, of science or of letters.

 -Sir William Osler. (1849-1919)

As I read these words, I challenged myself in the quietness of my room where tranquility reigned supreme, ‘What is it that I am doing to make myself a better person? Is it just studying, studying and more studying?’ It dawned on me that life, especially in medical school, has more to it than just books. Just like a finely cut diamond, the conspicuous preciousness of life is in its characteristic of being multifaceted.

I stopped for a moment and took a few minutes to assess my life, and I realized that I had a rather small social circle and most of the people around me were classmates, former classmates and a few friends, most of whom I knew as early as during my childhood. My life revolved around the lecture hall, human anatomy laboratories, and my room and occasionally under a tree where I admired Mother Nature and rejuvenated my passion in the art and science of medicine. I needed to balance my life, mould it into a life well developed in all its domains; spiritual, social and academic.

I tried to relate my situation to many others that I had read in psychology but I convinced myself that this was not identity crisis, or perhaps Sigmund Freud did not do an exhaustive research on human behavior. I was comfortable with the life that I was living but I felt that I needed to network more. How could I do this yet I knew I had a choleric temperament? A temperament that intimidates even without speech. Something needs to be done, urgently for that matter. I need to save my social life; it is slowly on its way to extinction.

I have found writing an interesting activity; it enables me to document my long journey through medical school. It is full of moments that make tender memories, memories that will be cherished as long as time exists and memories that will live on after we have followed those who came before us. However, I need to engage myself in at least one other non-medical yet constructive activity so that I just don’t become another typical doctor but a wonderful all-rounded clinician, which is my aim in life. Sports should do it!

From this point, I have decided that I don’t want to just live; I want to be ALIVE! And live this life as though it would end tomorrow. I have resolved to join the university athletics team. With its wealth of diversity, I am sure am going to make more friends from different professions and cultures and with different personalities. Variety is the spice of life! That is the secret to life, at least as said by those who have passed through theirs successfully. I believe that this will add an edge to my purpose in this place, achieving an exemplary character and becoming a holistic medical practitioner.

‘The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime that will take him away from patients, pills and portions…..’



Author: Dr. Kiaye Oliver

I am a dreamer. I love medicine. She is generous. I am also in love with literature, she makes me see the world the way I want to and sometimes the way it is.

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