Uncertainty

By Megan Herson

Has anyone else had one of those moments where you start at ‘will I eat the plain or chocolate Digestive biscuit now or later?’ and somehow end up at ‘I won’t be a competent doctor…’?

Last weekend I went for a long romantic walk on the Brighton beach footpath (by myself). The sun was setting, and it was that shade of pink that reminds you of the Wizz Fizz sherbet you ate as a child that sent you bouncing off the walls.

Of course, the sherbet reminded me of sugar. And the sugar reminded me of the humble, not-too-sweet but not-too-savoury biscuity snack I adore (plus, Digestives contains fibre, so surely that’s healthy – right?). And the biscuit reminded me that I’m actually a child. And this reminded me of my paediatrics rotation, which I am currently on. And I can’t tell you exactly when or where along the path it happened, but 30 minutes later, I was at the St Kilda end of the beach, questioning my future as a doctor. One negative thought led to another, and I had spiralled down a sinkhole of uncertainty that concluded in me convincing myself that there is no way I will be able to acquire the knowledge and skills that I need to be a capable intern in 2022.

Uncertainty.

To be: uncertain.

You can’t quite say why you feel like you do, but something inside just doesn’t feel right. It’s the worst emotion because there aren’t any actions that you can take to make things certain – the only thing that will resolve the bubbling anxiety is time. It’s impossible to stop thinking about an uncertain situation because there is no final answer to satiate the relentless questions in your mind.

Uncertainty.

To be: uncertain.

It’s how I’ve been feeling most of the year. It’s how my friends have been feeling most of the year. It’s how the entire student cohort of 2020 (not just med – EVERY STUDENT THIS YEAR) feels about their prospective careers.

Uncertainty.

To be: uncertain.

It’s a human emotion stemming from the inability to predict future events. As humans, and especially as type A’s, we reject uncertainty. We don’t like the idea of not being able to anticipate a future outcome, or the inability to change the natural progression of a situation unfolding.  The unknown.

The brilliance of the concept is in the absolute irony that the one thing we can be certain about in 2020, is, uncertainty. Worrying about our medical degree, from the finer details of our assessments to the end-outcome of our clinical capability, is a completely normal and natural response to what is happening around us. We may not all express it, but we’re all thinking it. It’s human emotion that stems from the sheer uncertainty of the situation in which we find ourselves.

I find that it helps to just sit with the emotion. Acknowledge that you feel uncertain. Remember that it’s a normal response to the current context of our world. But if you find it difficult, and you find you are being suffocated by the weight of it all, please tell someone.

Tell a friend

Tell a parent

Tell a GP or a counsellor

Phone counselling service @ Monash

Call 1300 788 336 [1300 STUDENT]

  • Telephone counselling open 24 hours.
    • From Malaysia: 1800 818 356 (toll free)
    • From Italy: 800 791 847 (toll free)
    • From elsewhere: Students +61 2 8295 2917 | Staff +61 2 8295 2292

More information can be found here.

MUMUS Community and Wellbeing

E: mher20@student.monash.edu

 

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