1. Is she ER doctor material?
2. The futility of worrying
3. What can you do if a 100% effort isn't enough?
4. How to increase intelligence
Q: Hi Dr. Pezzi,
My name is Natalie and I'm a sophomore in high school. I've wanted to become an ER doctor for most of my life but I also considered anesthesiology. What it comes down to is this: I want to know, in your opinion, if I am ER doctor material and if I will stand out. My average is in the 90's, I volunteer at a hospital and I love it. During the summer I spend about 8- 10 hours a day volunteering (that's how much I loved it). Even though our jobs were simple and limited to certain clerical work, I made friends with doctors who let me do more. I interacted with patients and still do, mostly by translating (I speak Russian). I came to America six years ago and tried my best to get where I am today but I am also very stressed. My school requires a lot of time and it interferes with my free time. I spend my days studying and worrying. I really want to get into medical school and I am willing to go beyond my limits but I don't know if I have what it takes. Here are some other things I like to do: play my keyboard/piano, all kinds of sports, especially snowboarding, online activities, watching medical shows like ER or Grey's Anatomy, etc.
Can you please tell me if I am ER doctor material? I want to know because I try my best in school and still I feel that my potential was reached, but it's not good enough.
Thank you so much for your time!
Answer by Kevin Pezzi, MD: I receive questions and inquiries from all sorts of people, ranging from students to doctors, television producers, writers wishing to interview me, etc., and of all the people who contact me, few of them can write as well as you do! Writing ability reflects intelligence, so I know that you are intelligent. To put it succinctly, you seem to have "the right stuff" to become a physician.
You are definitely impressive, and you certainly seem intelligent and diligent enough to become an ER doctor. If you want me to help you, I will. My first bit of advice is to not worry (you mentioned that you spend your days studying and worrying). As long as you know that you are giving a 100% effort and are conscientious, worrying about your future is not going to help you. In fact, it is counterproductive. I was quite a worrier when I was your age, but now that I am older, I can see that it didn't do me any good. On my first day of medical school, I was convinced that I was going to flunk out, but 4 years later I graduated in the top 1% of my class.
Worry and other emotions are productive only to the extent that they motivate people to do what they should be doing in life. If you are already doing that—and you are—then worrying won't help. If you are giving a 100% effort, you can't give any more. Worrying will just cut into your time and impede the realization of your goals.
What can you do if a 100% effort isn't enough? When most people conclude that they do not have what it takes despite giving their best effort, they lower their expectations and aim for a lesser goal. Rather than becoming a doctor, they might instead switch their career objectives to being a nurse, nurse practitioner (NP), Physician Assistant (PA), paramedic, or med tech. There's nothing wrong with those jobs, but if being a doctor is what you want to do, then you shouldn't settle for something else. But again, what can you do if a 100% effort isn't enough? Everyone has 24 hours per day. If you cannot work more, you must work and study more efficiently. Sounds great, but how do you do that?
- Everyone knows that caffeine can kick-start the brain, but as I explain in Fascinating Health Secrets, most people misuse caffeine, ingesting it in recreational beverages such as coffee and soft drinks instead of reserving its use for when it is truly needed. Big mistake!
- By the time students get serious about studying, they often have ingested so much caffeine for so many years that it takes more than a cup of coffee to put their brain into high gear. What then? Choline, lecithin, ginkgo, ginseng, fava beans, and flaxseed can rev up your brain on a short-term basis. I discuss them in my various web sites and in Fascinating Health Secrets. In The Science of Sex, I explained how creatine—often thought of as just a muscle-building supplement—can boost brainpower in addition to your sex life. Salmon (or fish oil) favorably affects the brain on both a short-term and long-term basis. Positive long-term effects mediated through neurogenesis (the formation of new brain cells) are produced by exercise, estrogen, and what research scientists like to term "stimulating environments." To a neuroscientist, a stimulating environment isn't neon lights and striptease dancers, but any environment that is so mentally seductive that it lights up your brain, making it bask in the joy of thinking and creating. In reality, the physical environment is less important than what goes on in your head in response to that environment. For example, I can have a stimulating environment with nothing more than a pad of paper and a pen with which to sketch ideas for various inventions. As I've mentioned elsewhere, inventing is one of the best ways to exercise your mind so that it becomes more intelligent and creative. Before I leave this topic, I must mention two things about estrogen: 1) It is not just a female hormone; men have lots of it, too. 2) The effects of estrogen are partially blocked by a number of ubiquitous substances (man-made and artificial) that we are exposed to daily. You cannot escape such exposure, but you can minimize it. I discuss this crucial topic in more detail on this page.
- If you follow my multifaceted plan to increase intelligence, learning will be easier because you will be smarter. You will increase your short-term memory and long-term memory, so you won't need to waste so much time relearning information that you previously forgot. These tips are sprinkled throughout this site and the question and answer pages in www.ERbook.net. Every student who read all of my information and applied those tips has excelled academically. I've helped mold struggling students into successful doctors, and every year I help more students achieve their dreams.
Want more tips? I could fill a couple of books with more information on this subject, but few people are willing to pay for it, even when a trifling sum (say $20) could make the difference between attaining your dreams or struggling through life regretting what you wanted to do, but never did. The abundance of free information on the Internet makes most people reluctant to pay for more, even when the information you need now is not available on the Internet, or is so buried in billions of web pages that you could spend years trying to find it. If you aren't already a smart doctor, you might not even realize the value of the information if you do find it unless someone like me with a gift for this subject tells you that this is something worth paying attention to.
Rather than paying $20 for the information in my books, I've learned that 99+% of people would rather go through life looking like a fat blob and having only so-so sexual pleasure, instead of having a great body, radiant health, and mind-boggling sexual enjoyment. Since selling books is less profitable than flipping burgers for McDonald's, I've had to indefinitely postpone my plans for future books. I spent much of the past week adding Google ads to my web sites, and I am now averaging $2.50 per day. With an income like that, you can understand why I must do other work to survive, thus leaving less time for this endeavor. The problem with Google ads is that few people look at them. I proposed a way to do that on another page; if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them, so please contact me.
While my stockpile of brainpower-boosting tips increases every week, every so often I come up with a major breakthrough that is worth its weight in gold. I've recently had two such advances and would love to write about them, but instead I am spending hours thinking of ways to persuade people to look at the ads on my site. I won't publish those tips until my web site income improves, so if you want it sooner, you can always consult me.