My first patient experience in residency was diagnosing and breaking bad news that the patient had metastatic pancreatic cancer, a terminal diagnosis. The gravity helped me immediately realize the seriousness of my words and actions - I was the doctor, and this was my job - I was no longer shielded from difficult discussions by a ‘student’ label. Remember to be careful and considerate with your words and actions, just like you would with any prior job you’ve had. Good ‘customer service’ will carry you far.
Two weeks before medical school started, Kamali Thompson tore a ligament in her thumb. While that alone would have been an obstacle the average student, it was multiplied by the fact that Thompson had just started training to make the next Olympic fencing team for Team USA.
There are TONS of options for how to spend your summer vacation. I think it’s really important to do at least one thing each summer to add to your extracurricular activities. Whether this means shadowing, volunteering, working, or doing research you never want to miss an opportunity to add to your resume.
During my first and second year, I was on a strict schedule. I had three hours after lectures to be efficient with the first part of my studying before I left for fencing practice. Knowing I had to do something later in the day helped me to stay focused and reel myself back in if I was daydreaming or Facebook stalking. I immediately noticed the benefits of exercise especially around exam time when I needed to reduce the most stress and increase my cognitive skills.
When I started med school, I tried to read the relevant chapters the night before a lecture but it was overwhelming. Instead, I opted to skim over the next day’s lecture notes to have an idea of the lecture topic, took notes in class, THEN read over the chapter to pick up details I felt were necessary for my understanding.
After receiving a phone call from Robert Wood Johnson, I was overjoyed because of my first medical school acceptance. However, I had yet to realize I was at a significant disadvantage. I had no academic mentors, no physician family members, no one who could guide me every step of my medical education.
During the first day of my psych rotation, my attending told me to interview a bipolar female who had just been admitted. When I introduced myself to her, she said she was 24 and a PhD student. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was shocked. This was so close to home. We were similar ages and at similar stages in our education, but she had just been committed to a psychiatric hospital for paranoia and auditory hallucinations.
The truth is going into medicine is a serious commitment. Four years of medical school plus 3-5 years of residency and an additional 1-2 years if you’re considering a fellowship. As soon as you begin school, it’s practically like an engagement and the first thing my mom taught me about marriage is never get married if you’re not ready.