Ollie Ollie Oxen Free


The happy hour, the concert, the potluck dinner, or even the phone call to someone we love is a waste of time.

The tests and research projects, they’re more important, right? After all, medical students are busy. 

Really, we’re choosing to hide.

Hiding is so appealing because the alternative, stepping out from behind to-do lists, study schedules, and all our plans to get to the next level, is terrifying.

When you get rid of the impressive sounding obligations, people see all of you. Not just the parts you want them to see, or the parts that you construct to be the person you’re supposed to be according to that faculty member, that gatekeeper, or that other person you’re trying to impress.

They might see the neurotic, anxious medical student who has no idea what murmur they’re listening to. Or the one who’s insecure about always changing the answer to “what kind of doctor are you going to be?”

Underneath all of this is the fear of everyone seeing that we’re actually faking it. That we’re not as pristine as the costume we put on.

But isn’t that all of us?

Don’t we all feel like an impostor just waiting to get found out?

As we try to gingerly navigate criticism, superhuman expectations, and the tension between who we are and who we think we ought to be, we have two options.

  1. We can frantically try to bury reality underneath a perfectly manicured top coat of competence.
  2. We can let it collect into a pile, proudly stand on top of it and say, “Hey! you see all this? This is all me. Tell me about you.”

One is safe, and easy, and the way it’s always been done. It’s also a clear path to feeling the way you’ve always felt. Disconnected and a little alone, shouldering the ever growing weight of hiding behind a constructed image.

The other is risky and takes guts. With that comes the potential to create connection, community and that wonderful realization that we’re all in this together.

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free. You can come out now. We [want to] see you.

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