Surprise, I’m alive and still in disbelief that I’m a quarter of the way done with medical school! I’ve been meaning to blog more but the workload of Spring Semester picked up and didn’t slow down. If you would have told me from the beginning that the past 44 weeks were going to fly by and that I was going to make it through, I would’ve laughed.
Now that I basically have the next 2 months off, I feel kind of lost. For the past year, I was essentially in the routine of waking up, going to class, and studying for the next assessment/exam (because let’s be real, there was always one exam or another right around the corner). But now that I’m “free”, I feel overwhelmed with all the possibilities of things to do (you could argue that boards are “around the corner” but I would say that you’re out of your mind).
I’ve been doing some reflecting on the past year and I think it’s safe to say that I have come so far and grown so much. As much as medical school teaches you things from a textbook, it also teaches and shapes you as a person. Without further ado, here’s a list of things the 1st year of med school has taught me:
Accepting failure/there is no shame in asking for help.
Failing is inevitable and being able to accept it and move on is a skill EVERYONE needs to learn. Failure is not only OK — it’s crucial (not only in becoming a better doctor but person overall). However, so many med students went through school understanding the material and never really having to ask for help, that they’ve been conditioned to “figure it out” alone. Medicine is a collaborative profession and it’s certain that as a physician you’ll need input from other health professionals (flash forward to 3rd year and beyond when I’ll be wandering around the hospital clueless) which makes it that much more important to get in the habit of asking others when you don’t have the answers.
It’s okay to not know it all.
In med school, I feel like I’ve done “everything I could”, which has been more and less than what I’ve ever done in the past. More in the sense that I’ve spent more time, using more resources, to learn more information than I could ever imagine possible (it’s gotten to the point that Google doesn’t even know what I’m looking for. That or I’m just bad at wording my searches). I am consistently amazed by how much vocabulary I’ve picked up, how many drugs and their MOA/contraindications I’ve memorized, and how many microorganisms and their presentations I’ve understood.
Less in the sense that I don’t fully understand the physiology of some organ systems or the pathophysiology of an illness/disease. With the immense volume of information to learn, there just isn’t enough time to learn it all and that’s something I’ve had to become comfortable with. I definitely know that I’m more knowledgable now than when I first started but I’ve become more aware of how much I don’t know as well.
You are a person.
Short and simple, the reality of it is that I’m not a robot that can sit at a desk for 14 hours a day looking at lecture notes and take in information (although I wish there was some switch that would allow me do just that). There are just some days when I physically and/or mentally am not up for doing the work so instead I’ll lay in bed with my snacks and spend hours on YouTube or binge watching something (AND THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY). The work gets done eventually.
There’s nothing else in the world I’d rather do.
I probably make a joke about dropping out/pursuing another career path once a day but if we’re being frank, I can’t picture myself doing anything else. Sure the days are long but the weeks are short. The fact of the matter is I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn with the hopes that I’ll one day be able to apply that knowledge and help someone feel better. And I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Clearly being straight to the point isn’t something I’ve learned (I’ll try to be more concise with future posts, still learning haha).
Next stop: I’m off to Vermont for a month to conduct research!