Every now and then, it’s really nice having one or two old email accounts, mostly now serving as spam repositories. Today I sifted through my UVA account to find an email from a college mentor (and dear friend). I was reminded of it during the celebration of Bloomsday a few days ago, since he and I, having taken a class on Joyce and Eliot together, felt compelled to reread Ulysses over the summer and engage in a conference call discussion with a friend in Denver following each episode. He was one of the first persons I told about my itching suspicion that I might want to be a physician, and my subsequent sea of concerns (one of which was certainly the length of study and preparation required).
July 10, 2006:
I just wanted to follow up with your thoughts about the future with a couple of thought of my own. When are you thinking of starting? Where are you thinking of going? […]
Oh yeah, one last thing…I’m going to pass along something that I said last week to a first year advisee who seemed conflicted about her love of English Literature, and her desire to go to medical school.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a well-read doctor.”
I love rediscovering this email. When I get anxious that I’m going to be “training” to enter the medical profession for half of my professional life, the date at the top of the email feels reassuring. I can’t believe it’s been five years…at that time, I couldn’t believe that I was capable of passing basic chemistry, let alone being medical student, hopefully completing her first year in about 34 hours.
More importantly, the content of the email…I love how immediately this man encouraged my radical change of plans, particularly after he had helped foster my love of music and English throughout my time at UVA. While I am not well-read by any stretch (I don’t remember the last time I looked at fiction), I am simply relieved by the sentiment that I didn’t do anything “wrong.” My utter lack of training in the sciences might not have done me favors in immunology…but it’s June 19th, and I’m only (fingers crossed!) a little over a day from being one quarter done with medical school. Please wish me luck!