From the Other Side: I Wanted to Be a Doctor by Kyle Alexander Romines


Our second visit From the Other Side comes from Kyle Alexander Romines. Kyle wrote a book I reviewed a few months back called Keeper of Crows. You can find that review here. When I reached out to him about the possibility of doing a guest post, he was more than happy to oblige. The only thing I ask of the authors is that they do a post related to reading or writing, so I really have no clue what I’m going to get until its delivered to me. I was pleased to read this, and I think you will be too.


I Wanted to Be a Doctor

I wanted to be a doctor.

I have a family background in medicine. My father is a surgeon and my mother is a nurse. I always assumed medicine was the direction my path would take me.

I made the sacrifices. Studying and hard work defined my high school and college experiences. My efforts paid off: in 2012 the University of Louisville School of Medicine accepted me into their program.

As of this writing, I am currently in my third year of medical school. I can also say with confidence that whether or not I obtain my medical degree, I will never practice medicine.

I never considered myself a writer, not even after I started writing novel-length books. For me, writing was a hobby—certainly not a career. The life of a ‘starving artist’ held no appeal for me.

I bristled when others called me an author, because I hadn’t had anything published yet, and I doubted I ever would. I knew the realities of the publishing world.

The Keeper of the Crows, my first published novel, was completed in 2010 during my senior year of college. It was my fourth finished manuscript. I didn’t write it for any other reason than I wanted to tell the story. I wrote it for me, because I enjoy writing.

For me, writing is a compulsion. When ideas come to me, they fester and grow until at last, when I can bear it no more, I begin to write. I sequester myself from my friends and family, disappearing from the world for weeks. Piece after piece of myself drifts away until there is only the story.

But I always thought writing was a hobby, and that medicine would be my career. Then I started medical school.

Medicine is a noble profession. To be a part of someone else’s care is a profound thing, and something I have been lucky to be a part of as I’ve been on my third year clinical rotations.

I’m someone who has always been a good student. But in medical school, I’ve struggled. It’s not that the material is particularly difficult—it’s the volume. School takes over your life, eclipsing all other dimensions of yourself until it is all that’s left.

And if medicine is what gives you joy—if it’s what you know you’re meant to do—then it is a worthy sacrifice to give yourself over to it.

That’s how I finally figured out I was a writer. Because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my writing. I couldn’t give it up.

And so I’ve tried to do both. The Keeper of the Crows was released during my third year of medical school, and my second novel will likely be released during my fourth.

But I know in my heart that writing is what I love doing, despite how long I tried to deny it. And no matter how noble medicine is, I know it’s not for me. Each day I work in the hospital, I feel purposeless. Even when helping to do something of profound importance, the business of saving lives, I can’t wait for the day to end so I can go home and write!

It’s not worth the money if you’re miserable doing what you’re doing. I’m 27 years old, and I wish I could have realized that before enrolling in medical school, but I count myself lucky to have discovered it now. I don’t want the rest of my life to be test after test after test. I’m not willing to give up more years of my life to complete a residency program. I’m not willing to give up time when I could be writing.

At the moment, I’m still planning on completing medical school. I’ll have more options with the letters M.D. after my name than without them. But I’d be lying if I didn’t struggle with the decision to withdraw from classes nearly every day.

My advice? Do what you love. You’ll be happier in the long run.

Author Contact:

Book Cover of The Keeper of the Crows

No evil can remain buried forever, as disgraced journalist Thomas Brooks discovers when a wave of death grips the rural Kentucky town of Gray Hollow in terror.

Following a very public humiliation, Thomas is looking for a story to get him back on the map-and free of the small town newspaper where he serves out his exile. The apparent murder of a stranger seems to be just what the opportunistic reporter needs, until he discovers the death is merely the start of something bigger…

Click here to read the full Goodreads synopsis.

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