Day 95: Thick skin

Today’s inane images of the day:

My pink backpack has gotten me through many engineering exams, projects, the medical school application process and ~1/4 of medical school – but now it’s time for it to retire.
The new backpack – took me forever to finally give in and buy one that was substantially more expensive than my previous ones, but I expect this new baby to last me well past residency.

In my experience with writing this blog and now the Kaplan and Medscape blogs, I’ve learned that having a thick skin is a basic requirement for publishing anything online. The internet sometimes affords a bit too much free-reign on speech leading to offensive comments and responses that one would never venture to say in real life. I try to only write things that I would say to someone’s face, but not everyone subscribes to this mentality.

Recently, I received this comment [on this entry]:

“If you want to be a doctor stop whining about it. You are the problem with the medical world, you should be excited to learn about the human body and passionate to make connections, having to be around people like you sometimes make me question whether I really want to do this or not becuase there are really so many other students like you. Stop letting it make you miserable or atleast stop whining about it, you know its for your own good (and that’s why you do it). The people drinking on Friday night will actually hate their lives in a few years, hopefully you still won’t.”

Yes, I agree that this particular entry was whiny in nature, but how else am I supposed to portray the weekend before big exams? As daisies and sunshine? That I’m just so enthralled with the prospect of cramming sometimes obscure knowledge into my head? Surely, this individual realizes that I am “excited to learn and passionate to make connections,” [what does “passionate to make connections” even mean? Passionate about making connections, perhaps?]? And why would someone decide not to do medicine just because of “people like me”? If you’re passionate about medicine, I shouldn’t be the thing stopping you.

[Aside – I still love the human body and medical school. The reality is that the process is tiring and writing – whining – about it is cathartic.]

The first time this particular comment was posted, it was written with vulgar language that made me laugh aloud [do let your mind wander on this one – it was ridiculous]. Since I’ve received a number of interesting responses to prior entries, this one didn’t bother me too much. But it made me wonder, why would anyone waste their time and energy on this? When I started this blog and received harsh comments, they really stuck with me. I couldn’t stop myself from referring back to them and wondering where I went wrong. I wondered how I could produce work worthy enough of these commenters. It was kind of pitiful how personally I took some of those blatant attacks.

But time and experience have taught me well – while I do still cringe at some of the responses I receive, I don’t spend weeks agonizing over them. In the end, if someone wants to offer constructive criticism, I appreciate it [yes, that means if you want to tell me that I use the word, “rather” too often and it’s driving you nuts, please do]. I’ve never claimed to be a talented writer or a flawless person – there is always room for improvement and I welcome the feedback. However, attacks are unnecessary and unwelcome. Trolls, please move along.

[Time for me to get back to learning about penises and vaginas – oh, Reproductive unit!]

Links to some of my recent posts on The Differential and Med School Insight:
There are pros to being in a long distance relationship
Reasons to love medical school
It’s personal