At first they are mere whispers in fog of information overload, but as time wears on those whispers amplify more and more, before resonating as a shriek.
In starting pharmacy school it seems as if the world is yours for the taking. For years you followed the predefined path, reading the likes of Socrates and learning the detailed psychology of the human mind. And in arriving in pharmacy school, you feel as if you are finally about to reach your life's true aspirations.
And then a funny thing happens. That hopefulness, that strong desire for learning is slowly chipped away like waves crashing against a cliff. Eventually you become a shell of yourself, merely moving through the motions and responding to questions when asked.
Someone once drew a parallel to boot camp in the army, where we are all broken down in an attempt to rebuild our minds and internal processes as professionals.
But at what cost?
Those voices mentioned at the start of this post are the voices of paranoia. The overwhelming sense that, at any point, you will be labeled a failure. Not just in your mind, but in the minds of your family and your peers. For every professor that is there to support you, there is always one or more who seemingly relish in making you squirm.
So your paranoia grows. It consumes you. It dictates your actions in every aspect of your life.
Did I put my shoes on the correct feet this morning? Did I shut off the light in the kitchen? Did I sign my name correctly?
The latter may sound silly to some, but when your hounded about signing with proper credentials every week it is something you become acutely aware of. It is at this point that you realize you have been broken, reduced to merely a puppet in the confines of pharmacy school.
But it is at this point where you rebuild. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel begins to grow and what was once seemingly impossible seems tantalizingly tangible. A question is asked about why oxybutinin causes dry mouth and, without thinking, you start describing it's anti-cholinergic properties.
Maybe you can do this. Maybe this seemingly unending and unnerving mount of information you have been presented with has, in some way, become ingrained in your mind. Maybe once you were broken, but now you have become what you have always wanted... a healthcare professional.
And slowly those voices begin to quiet, first down to a whisper before ultimately vanishing completely. In some ways you are finally mentally at peace.
Yet... you still feel incomplete. As if the sacrifices made you into a new person at the cost of who you were. Whether that is a good or bad thing remains unseen, but it leaves one with a tantalizing question.
Are we better off?