I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to say in this post. I wanted it to be as useful and as well received as my 1/4 a DOctor and 1/2 a DOctor posts were but I just didn’t know what to say. In wrapping up my third year, I’m looking back on all of my experiences since this crazy journey started in 2015 and I’m thinking about what I would tell myself (and tangentially you) at any point in said journey.
If you are like me going into the first year, you don’t know what to expect. There’s so much information thrown at you…and somehow…you learn it all. Second year is crazy stressful and you gain a lot weight and you’re angry and anxious. And then boards. And you pass. On your first attempt. And suddenly…you’re an “employee” at a hospital. My first day of third year was JUST like my first day of medical school. I was scared out of my mind. But that’s just how I am. I figure the first day of residency will be the same and so will the first day of working on my own…it’s just nerve-racking. To combat the anxiety, you’ve got to trust that you’ve been prepared and have prepared yourself enough for these moments…these “first days.”
What I learned on clinical rotations.
Not everyone is going to like you. Some of your medical students won’t like you (we know this). Some nurse just won’t like you. And some doctors…some preceptors won’t like you. Now don’t get me wrong, if you KNOW you have a personality flaw, work on it. But if this is something that cannot be helped, take a step back, hold your head up high, and remain patient centered. The patient centered medical student will do what’s best for those (directly and indirectly) under his or her care. That medical student will ALWAYS be a team-player even when the team doesn’t like him or her. That medical student is polite, on time, and takes every opportunity to think critically. Those last three attributes are ones that you should take with you even if your team likes you (duh) or if you’re on a research or radiology rotation where you don’t see that many patients. Those attributes make you a good person and thus make you a good student doctor.
As far as information, you’re going to see a lot of it. And it’s practical and it’s real life and it’s in your face. And for me, it made learning much more fun!
Studying for Boards.
It feels like as soon as you’re done with one exam, you’re back into the sharp pit of studying for another but studying for Step 2 is a lot different (for me at least) than studying for Step 1. Because you’re seeing pathology day in and day out, you can finally get your head situated and disease processes and vignettes start to make more sense than they did when you were just sitting in a classroom. Every person and every medical student learns differently so I suggest finding what tools and resources work best FOR YOU. I have other posts on this blog discussing studying for Shelfs and Boards.
Deciding on a specialty.
Not everyone comes into medical school knowing “I’m going to be a pediatrician” and so sometimes, choosing a specialty can be very difficult. For those of you who know what you want to do, then you know. And you can skip on over to the next section.
If you don’t know, however, you might need to sit down and make a list of pros and cons of specialties that you’re interested in. My advice would be to choose using the four Fs (I made this up so credit me if you want to use it).
The FIELD you choose should have
FAMILIAL stability (I put this one first because you never want to lose a significant other, ignore your parents, or miss out on your child’s life…because of a job #prioritize),
FINANCIAL security (I have yet to meet a POOR doctor but it is no secret that some specialties make more than others and if you have a standard or an idea of a standard of living that will require more funds then you might not want to aim a little higher), and
FUN times (obviously don’t choose a specialty that you hate aka if you don’t like the idea of childbirth, don’t become an OB/GYN).
Preparing for auditions.
This is where I’m at RIGHT now and if I’m being 100% honest, audition rotations cause me more stress than studying for boards. If your school or mentors have resources to help you organize and set up auditions, then utilize them. You want to choose programs (similarly to how you’ll be choosing them for residency applications I assume…) based on the specialty (obviously), location (some may say not to include this in your decision making but this is MY blog and MY opinion), and a feel for the hospital and town. You might not have everything you need to “judge” a program before setting up an audition rotation with them but it’s good to keep a little mental log as you go through the process. Thats kind of what I did and am doing.
Where I’ll be.
As you can see, I’m at the end of my third year and life has gotten REAL. I wont be able to post as regularly on my blog in the coming months. You can still find me on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @ esteginelle and I’ll definitely keep you updated there. Be assured, however, that this blog IS NOT dead and I will be posting from time to time on my amazing journeys throughout fourth year.
Wish me luck, lovelies. I’ll see you really soon.