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.