It’s a striking visualisation that mirrors how I experience my favourite music. It’s the feeling you get when something is so beautiful or complex – rhythmically, melodically and harmonically – or when so much is happening, all at the same time, that it’s overwhelming, blissful and your cup is overflowing. It’s literally a sublime feeling.

It’s this sublime feeling that I have tried hard to convey in my writing for a very long time now. Jonathan, the poor Seychelles giant tortoise I wrote about in my very first piece for Erasmus Magazine (EM) in mid-2020, was the first to serve as my literary vehicle.

Anyone who waded through the quagmire of words in the piece above will know that Jonathan, who is now 191 years old and the world’s oldest tortoise, symbolises the relentless nature of time, which never stops. I have to admit that the profusion of tropes and the broad scope didn’t benefit the article at all. As any good writer will tell you: less is more.

The editors of Erasmus Magazine must have scratched their heads when I submitted it. But they still published it. And they still offered me my own column, which I accepted! My idea was to capture the sublimoso in my columns. I just had to find the right words.

A sublime feeling; this was absent during my time as a Medicine student. I had expected more about the philosophy of life, more discourse, more valuable interaction and also more passion from my lecturers. The reality was an ‘overload’ of pedantic lectures and whole lists of diseases, drugs and side effects. With an emphasis on the dry and impersonal.

That overwhelming Vier Letzte Lieder feeling has eluded me in my columns and, over time, I have come to realise that text as a medium has a different mechanism to music. And perhaps a different goal too. It is more serene, more reflective and also more personal.

The dry nature of my Bachelor’s degree was made up for by the wealth of interactions my internships gave me. Looking back, I realise that I have written a corpus of texts that report on these interactions but also show my growth and development as a doctor and writer. I have become deeply attached to my column.

I am filled with appreciation when I realise how important my column has been to me. Appreciation for EM, which gave me a platform, allowed me to experiment and supported me. For the patients, who had the courage to be vulnerable and let me get close to them. And for all those people who supported me and sent kind messages about my writing. I have felt blessed and it feels sublime.

So, thank you very much indeed.

Having become a doctor now, I will no longer be writing for EM. But I will continue to write. A little like how Jonathan grazes on heap after heap of grass in the grounds of Plantation House on St. Helena.

Dino Gačević has been writing stories and columns about his internships (he was studying Medicine at the time) since winning an EM writing competition in 2020. See all his columns here. Last year, his Chemotherapy column, about a patient he interviewed just before he was about to undergo a serious course of treatment, came second in a competition to identify the best columns in higher education media. The jury commented that his piece was ‘a little abrasive but nuanced’. “A very painful situation has been described with sensitivity and well-chosen words.”