How To Renew Your Love For Medicine By Being Like A Kid

On a recent outreach trip to a public school, I spent the morning with children in the 3rd grade. I was the one who was supposed to give a presentation and teach them about healthy habits and routines. Instead, I learned from a classroom full of 9 year olds. As we get older, we tend to lose the vibrancy and enthusiasm for life that is characteristic of childhood. As soon as we experience a hint of stress, adults become bland. We lose zest and zeal for living. These are some of the small things I noticed in the classroom that served as necessary reminders for me in order to renew your love for medicine:

Speak your mind

During the presentation, I could not help but notice some kids interrupting to give their opinion. They really did not care if they were called on. Few actually raised their hand and waited their turn. The beauty of this was noticing that children value their opinion enough to blurt it out loud. They demand to be heard. Never once did the kids think that someone was judging their comments, or did they fear voicing their opinion.  I think this is something adults should embrace more. Often, we are too scared to share our opinion and fear judgement from others. This is especially pertinent in the class when we are too to ask a question because we don’t want to sound dumb. We don’t want to appear as unknowledgeable because, as young doctors, we’re somehow supposed to have all the answers.

Be Curious

The kids in the classroom asked so many questions every time I flipped to a new slide. It is this curiosity that I think adults need to adopt in their everyday life. Kids have an eagerness to learn that is such a rarity to witness now. I was so inspired after this outreach that I sat down and made a list of personal goals I have that I never make time for. Once I saw the long list of non-academic goals staring back at me, I realized that I was curious, too. There are many things I want to learn and do. Just when my life was starting to lose its luster and I felt like I had no hobbies and no skills apart from studying, it was a room of 9-year olds that reminded me that I do have plenty I want do. All I had to do was make the time for them. It was actually this outreach experience that inspired me to work towards the extracurricular activities I always dust under the rug.

Get excited about every little everything

At the end of the presentation, I remember how excited the kids were to answer questions for the “mini quiz” that we gave at the end. At the time, it was just a spontaneous idea to get the students to participate in the conversation. In retrospective, those few minutes were informative me, too. I know that I really have to try hard to get excited about something school-related. I really have to force myself to feel enthusiasm. I do most of my school work begrudgingly. Even though there are few things that excite me about school, there are other aspects about my life that excite me. Now, I fixate on the little, exciting things in my personal life to fuel me for the school week.

Create a support system.

I thought it was adorable when the kids in the classroom would yell out to their friend across the room. I did not focus on the fact that they were disrupting the presentation, but admired their commitment to making their friends laugh and enjoy the experience with them. As an adult, it is hard to make new friends only because we make it hard. In the school setting, everyone is so focused on getting ahead and doing better themselves that team work and friendship and collaboration fall to the wayside. Having a support system and people to turn to make you laugh and make your day brighter is incredibly important. Equally important is being someone who can lift another person up and make their day better.

The next time you find yourself overwhelmed ask yourself: What would a third grader do?

And do that.

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Sonal Kumar

Sonal Kumar is passionate about combining science and storytelling. She has vast experiences outside of healthcare including marketing and advertising, print and broadcast journalism, including TV/radio production. Sonal is an alumna of Columbia University. She tweets @sonalkumar2011.