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My 6 Year Ago Self

In the past couple weeks or so, I had the opportunity to work alongside a pre-medical student who was shadowing the physician overseeing my rotation… and all I can say is, WOW!   It was an interesting and somewhat perfectly timed experience that fell right in line with my recent freak-out realizations about graduation approaching so soon.

As a 4th year, when you first encounter 3rd year students just starting rotations, it is a reminder of how far you have come in a year.  Now imagine how strange it is to be on your way to graduation and working with a college student who is hoping and praying to be in your shoes one day!  The body language, the questions asked and the overall demeanor of the student was just so striking to me.  Part of me is certain I never “looked” the way he did in the clinical setting (of course, then again, part of me wonders if I still do sometimes!!)  I’m sure the residents and attendings I have worked with along the way could easily look at me and whisper under their breath “Obviously a med student…” without ever seeing the length of my embarrassingly short white coat.  There’s just something about all of us during this process that oozes our lowly status out of our very pores, without us even realizing it.  I look forward to never suffering from “short coat syndrome” again, that’s for sure.

I’ve also had another great opportunity recently to boost my mental readiness for this whole “almost-a-doctor” concept that I’ve been having such a hard time wrapping my brain around here lately.  Due to some scheduling issues, I’ve been spending time with a physician I’ve rotated with previously (fourth year is primarily electives at DCOM, so it’s nice to have the freedom to do what you want with all the free months).  Working again with someone who saw me at my peak of insecurity during third year is giving me the chance to receive some really positive feedback.  Apparently I’ve come a long way :)  In response to this good feedback, I had to explain to my preceptor- much like you can’t always appreciate your own subtle weight loss over time, because you see yourself in the mirror every day…it’s also hard to realize the slow and steady improvement you have as a student.  This is especially true when you’re changing specialties every month, changing teachers every month, etc.  You can never really get comfortable during this process.  As soon as you feel like you start to “get” a specialty you’re rotating through, it’s time to uproot and go learn something new.  It’s how it needs to be, of course, to get a well-rounded education, but boy is it exhausting at times!

There are still several months of rotations left for me to really start embracing my future new title and initials, including some required months where we, as fourth years, get to play more of a resident role in patient care.  As with everything in this whole process, I’ve always thought in my head, “There is NO way I’ll ever be ready for that stage!!” and then before you know it, it hits.  You do it.  And another one bites the dust, so to speak.  So here’s to making the most of these last few months where I can still pull the student card when I answer patient’s questions :)

2014- FINALLY!!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I kicked off the new year by making sure I was well rested for the first day…that is, I was definitely asleep by 9pm the night of the 31st.  Guess that’s what an early hours rotation will do to a girl who normally can’t go to sleep before midnight.  Sigh… nevertheless, I started my first day of 2014 in a way that would frighten many and would totally serve as a supporting entry in this fairly well known book:

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Now I typically do resent the common misconception that cats are evil and out to get humans.  I mean, mine is truly a peach.  For the most part.  In fact, he’s often much like a dog.  He runs to the door when I return home.  He does a trick for his treats every morning.  He sleeps curled up against me almost every night.  I mean, look at him:

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He’s totally precious, right?

However, I did wake up today with his face approximately six inches from mine.  View full article »

The Journey to Graduation

With the information filled e-mails abounding lately, there is truly not a day that passes that I don’t become more acutely aware of just how quickly graduation is approaching.  It’s wild, really.  Every time someone out in the clinics or the hospital has asked me where I’m at in school and when graduation will occur, the answer has always been, “May 2014.”  And now it’s “this May.”  Lots of classmates understandably find that incredibly exciting.  And yes, I’m obviously excited.  But it’s also slightly terrifying in some ways.

The transition from third into fourth year is an interesting one.  The docs treat you differently for sure.  Sometimes the others on the healthcare team don’t know exactly how it all works, but the docs?  They totally get it.  They know you’ve overcome all of your licensing exams that are required before graduation.  That alone makes a tremendous difference.  They know you’ve seen all the basics clinically and oftentimes that means more opportunities to just jump in and get your hands dirty.  With that privilege comes responsibility of course.  The preceptors often take your word on certain physical exam findings and allow you to serve a much more significant role in the team than during third year.  It’s definitely empowering.  And it definitely helps you to realize the importance of what you’re doing and why you’ve worked so hard to get to this point.

So back to being at “this point”…  that is, the point of graduation being a mere 4.75 months away (ahhhhhh).  Where has all the time gone??  Thinking back to the days when I wondered if I would ever even have a shot at this whole doctor thing, and how that seems like such a long time ago…it’s just crazy.  Crazy, considering how many times I wasn’t sure I would survive the whole process.  Times when I thought it was possible that I might hear, “Yeeeeah, maybe you’re not quite cut out for this after all…”  When you’re not soaring through at the top of the class…when things take 10x more effort for you…it’s easy to be hard on yourself.  But with each hurdle successfully overcome, my confidence has increased.  It’s amazing to look back even over the past 6 months.  Situations that would previously have put me into severe tachycardia hardly faze me anymore.  Moments of defeat that would have ruined the rest of the day and messed with me mentally have turned into fleeting mess-ups.  It’s definitely a great feeling.  Each person comes into this experience with different backgrounds.  Each person has different exposure and opportunity during the training process, despite how much it would be great if everything could be perfectly standardized.  And therefore, each person’s journey to graduation is different.  But in the end, we all ultimately achieve the same goal…the same one we’ve all been working toward all this time.

Now there are still many trials to face between now and graduation… there’s Match Day, where we find out the fate of our residency placement.  For me, there’s 3 more months of required 4th year rotations, with required months having assignments and whatnot.  But all in all, there is light at the end this very long tunnel.  I am sure looking forward to throwing that cap in the air, that’s for certain.

Time to Celebrate!

Ladies and gentlemen…  loyal and committed readers, spanning this great nation of ours…

I am excited to announce that today is a VERY big day.

No, I haven’t graduated medical school 5 months prematurely because of how amazing I am.

No, I haven’t quite figured out the permanent cure for foot fungus and dandruff.

But, what I have done…. is reach my 100th post on my blog!!!!!

*Cue the balloon drop*

Now I realize this might not be that exciting to many of you out there.  However, I have been waiting for my hundredth post in order to post what I feel will be a very entertaining bit of information for you all.  I want to share with you not only the variety of countries that my blog has attracted (somewhat interesting, as well as mildly confusing…), but also the variety of search engine phrases that have led people to click on my blog (MORE interesting…now as to whether that initial click led them to read on is a whole other issue, but who really cares about that??)

Let’s start with the countries with which my blog has graced its presence, albeit electronically speaking:

blog map

Make sure to click on the picture to enlarge it, so you can fully appreciate just how many countries are represented (some of the countries didn’t even fit on that screen!)  Now granted, many of those countries have had all of 2 views of my blog, but still.  I think it’s pretty cool.  And that shot is actually from a while back (when I had originally started writing this post….whoops…) so now it might have even MORE.

And now for the more fun part.  I bring to you- the most common, as well as the most hysterical search engine phrases that have brought all you readers out there to my blog…

View full article »

The Longest 90 Minutes of My LIFE

Two days ago, I experienced just another average day in the life of a 4th year medical student.  Or so I thought.

I had a short day at the surgery center, after having seen several minor procedures- carpal tunnel releases, trigger finger releases, knee arthroscopies, etc.  Scopes ALWAYS make me tired.  It’s like watching a movie in class.  You’re not participating in much, the lights are down low and before you know it….zzzzZZZZZzzzz

..zzZZzzZZZzzzz…..

…oh, what?  It’s over?

Thank goodness for the short day is all I’m saying.  I legitimately thought I was going to have to go home and take a nap.  After I realized that my page long to-do list would probably tear itself out of my notebook, wad itself up and launch itself at my head repeatedly, I decided to try to knock out one of my tasks.  I fueled up at the local Starbucks and took my little car down the road to the Nissan dealership to see if they could get me in to fix my tire.  I remembered I was waiting on an important e-mail regarding housing for an upcoming audition rotation, so I brought up my e-mail on my phone.  And there it was… View full article »

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