Letter To My Brother

Moving Out Of Israel

My 28 year old brother graduated few days ago, June 21st 2013. He is now officially a doctor, graduating with Summa Cum Laude honor. 

Due to supply & demand issues in Israel, with regards to medical schools (as in many people for some reason want to become doctors in Israel, but there are not enough classes for students to study locally) he had to make a decision 6 years ago to stay in Israel or leave. His options were to invest a few years in optimizing his grades from “A+ to A++” so he could study in Israel, or move to Debrecen Hungary, and study w/o any wait in an international school.

He chose Debrecen.

 

Debrecen

By way of introduction for my readers, I want to give you a glimpse into what it is like to live in Debrecen and study medicine there. Once you land in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, it takes 3 hours to drive to Debrecen, where you can find a handful of restaurant and bars, one shopping mall, insanely warm weather in the summer and the opposite extreme in the winter, the majority of the apartments have no AC nor do they have good isolation from the cold, the teachers speak limited English and the students are forced to reveal their ability to study on their own by reading advanced medicine texts 14 hours a day, plus weekends included for 6 years. Poor economy, inconvenient weather, language barriers, limited family support, and advanced texts that allow you to learn if you’re able to overcome these uncomfortable obstacles. That’s Debrecen.

What happens if you ever graduate out of Debrecen? You’re probably more ready than any other student in the world, because if you could graduate under these conditions – you can fix people.

 

Practice Wins Theory – Make It Work, Then Make It Better

My little brother, you absolutely made the right decision. If Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t left Harvard, or if Steve Jobs didn’t decide to take a practical course in illustration we would not be Facebook-ing, or Apple-ing today. In the 21st century in particular, in this economy, being a professional earlier rather than later, being able to contribute to a place of business, matters. For lack of a better comparison, if an employer could hire a person who has mastered Photoshop after going through a SkillShare 11 week course and worked in some places, or alternatively hire a person who finished Pratt after 4 years and didn’t experience enough – it’s likely they would choose the person with 11 weeks experience. The first may cost $10k at SkillShare, and the latter costs $250k, but employers need people who can join the work force, and hit the ground running, in this case creating mock-ups the day they join. This is not to bash high education, but to emphasize the importance of being practical, and appreciating your biggest asset in life – time. Even if you disagree with me, and you think you’re as good as but not better than other students, in the end — you became a doctor 2-3 years before people that spent the time optimizing grades to get accepted to Tel-Aviv. By the time other students graduate you would have already treated hundreds of people, and be well on your way to be a specialist in something your heart desires. Saving lives.

 

Our president said last week – leaders turn crises into opportunities

By choosing to not defer your study by few a years due to a supply & demand issue, you landed a painful but rewarding educational experience; you graduated in one of the most challenging environments in the world to study medicine, with high honors, you’re a doctor 2-3 years earlier over others, and you’re likely to know more than they do as you had to teach yourself day in and day out. Most people can’t. This is not to say you’ll be a better doctor, granted, you still need to prove yourself – but you’re off to a better start in the 21st century. You’ve taken crises, supply & demand issues, and turned them into an opportunity, getting a head start as a younger and honored doctor.

 

Real life

I’m proud of you brother. I’m proud of you because of the decision you’ve made 6 years ago, and because it’s hard for me to grasp 6 years of studying so hard, reading so much, missing people you love, feeling too hot, feeling too cold, feeling too far…just feeling too much. But you bloody did it!

I’m also proud of you because after spending this past graduation-weekend with you, I’ve seen what you were able to create against all odds beyond graduating with honors — real friendships. Trust me, friendships you’ve earned in distant Debrecen will go a long way in your life, and perhaps you’ll find that in real-life, real-friendships can matter even more than they did in the past 6 years. 

 

You’re going back to Israel next week to start your real life as a doctor, wow. Fixing people, people in pain, people that have very little to give back for your help, some that will never say thank you… but you still swore to help them for the rest of your life. Additionally, your school thought you deserve a Summa Cum Laude, which in early times was a designation for the best of warriors coming back from the battle, protecting their people.

 

I’m proud of you brother. You’ve finished your version of “the road not taken” in Debrecen and in flying colors. You’re now coming back to start your real life here in Tel Aviv, Israel, including paychecks, rent, bills, the whole nine yards.

Any hospital that will get to hire you will be a lucky one in my biased and humble opinion, as I know first hand how hard it is to hire people that have the drive you’ve got. I wish you great luck on this new journey. Enjoy it and keep promoting the same values that got you to be where you are today. 

I’m proud.

Yours truly, your big brother.

Adam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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