Saying Goodbye to 2010

I’ve been trying not to think of New Year resolutions yet. That can come later.

Instead I’ve been reflecting on the meaningful and not-so-meaningful things that have happened this past year. The one incident that sticks out most in my mind was when my girlfriend Elaine, one day while we were in the subway station, challenged me to be a better follower. Maybe it was because I wasn’t very good at doing what she wanted, but from that day on I became more conscious of being a better listener and sucking up my ego when something didn’t go my way. But it was not always easy.

Thus, at the beginning of 2010, I was determined to become a better follower. That began with my job in the spring when I learned how to work with people from different backgrounds, especially with one coworker in particular. Although he had a history of schizophrenia and shared that he sometimes thought the TV was sending him messages, through getting to know him better, I respected him and started learning from him about topics ranging from being a doctor to relationships.

Now in medical school, I find it hard to be a good follower. With so many brilliant people and natural leaders around, it seems like it would be easy to follow. But what makes it difficult is feeling the need or desire to be a leader, because everyone else around you is one. There’s a fear of getting left behind or feeling inadequate.

My good friend Vipul told me one day that it takes great humility to be a good follower. I know I’m not at that point yet. It may be because I’m not totally comfortable yet in my role at medical school. That will hopefully get better with time. But with 2010 coming to a close, I feel grateful to have met the people this past year who challenged me to grow to become a better follower.

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