Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Beginning: How I got to where I am

If you're reading this, you've most certainly all ready noticed the name of my blog "The Atheist Physician."  Most would consider this to be an odd combination.  Truth be told, I've tried religion on several occasions.  I've tried christianity and buddhism.  Neither really seem to work for me, for so many reasons I can't even possibly begin to explain.  The bottom line is that I am a very logical person, I use logic every day, in everything that I do (imagine what your life would be like if you ran around making all kinds of illogical choices!) and I cannot simply abandon my need for logic when it comes to religion.  Religion is inherently illogical, and therefore not compatible with the way I view my life and the world around me.  My second defining characteristic is the physician portion.  To be honest, I'm not a physician yet, I'm currently in my third year of medical school, but I hope to continue this blog for some time into the future, so I assumed using the term physician was rather appropriate.  Now, on to how it all started.

Most of my life has been about learning, and most of what I have learned came from the mistakes I have made.  There's no problem with making mistakes, but there is a problem with failing to learn from them.  I grew up in small city of about 52,000 people in Southwest Michigan.   I had an excellent childhood, loving and caring parents who taught me good values and even better ethics.  All this, without religion.  I cannot thank them enough for not stuffing any one particular flavor of religion down my throat.  I'm not sure what I would have turned out like if they had, but I can only imagine that I would not be who I am today.  I didn't really work too hard at school until I reached High school.  Science was the only subject that I truly excelled in, and the biological sciences in particular.  I had long ago, decided I would be a research scientist and I was hell bent on finding a cure for cancer.  Eventually I realized this was a slightly far fetched hope, and that I didn't really want to spend my time cooped up in a laboratory somewhere.  I enjoy working with people more than anything, and I felt like someone hit me over the head when my favorite High school science teacher suggested that I consider a career in medicine.  It was perfect.  I get to meet and interact with a diverse group of people, and I get to use science.  What could possibly be better?  And that began my journey down the pre-med path when I started college.  My senior year of High school was when I first met my, now wife.  We worked together, and for some time she was even my boss, which does make for some interesting relationship dynamics.  We attended undergraduate college together.  I owe her a lot, not only has she always been there for me when times were hard, but she has taught me so much.  I was rather ambitious, when it came to school and completed most of my general education requirements at a community college while I was still in high school.  I never went to a full day of High school since my Sophomore year.  Once I graduated High school, I attended a major University, where I completed two bachelors degrees in a little over 2 years.  This is perhaps the accomplishment that I am most proud of.  I worked very hard during that time, and really didn't enjoy any of the typical college experiences.  I would probably give up finishing so early to relive some of those experiences, but again, this was yet another mistake that I have learned from: avoid wishing away your current situation, regardless of how amazing or terrible it may be, because you never know what lies ahead.  I was also fortunate enough to have received a full scholarship to complete both of my bachelors degrees, but I still worked throughout school.  I held down two part time jobs to pay rent and the bills.  During my last semester of undergraduates is when I married my wife.  Our wedding was extravagant, in an outdoor garden setting, complete with a non-religious ceremony, though we offered a time of silence for those that were religious, and wished to pray, meditate, or otherwise satisfy their religious requirements.  During this same time, I applied to medical school, and received several interviews.  I had my sights set on one particular school.  Luckily I was accepted early on, and was able to forgo many of my interviews (which saved me a significant chunk of change! Interviewing, with travel costs can be extremely expensive).  The first two years of medical school are really designed to test your ability to tolerate idiocy.  You work your butt off for just a passing grade and you see some sides of your colleagues you never knew existed, but eventually you all make it out together to enter the last two years, which are in the hospital/clinic.  Everything in these last two years are exponentially better than anything you ever experience during the first two years.  And that is where I am now.  Third year, complete with the short, white coat, and the chronic dumbfounded look you used to get as a kid, when someone would do even a mediocre magic trick.

Stick around, there will be more to come, both about atheism, and more about medical school.