As fun as rotations are, there are days when I really just want to be done with medical school. It is exhausting. Every day I am reminded of how little I know and how much I still have to learn. The more time I spend in med school, the further behind I feel. Slowly but surely I feel myself becoming “that person.” The one who cares a little less. The one who is a little bit more jaded each day.
I used to look forward to 4th year – when I can finally pick my electives and do rotations in what I’m interested in. Until I met Brittany. Brittany is a 4th year student from a different school I met while on my last rotation. By this time of the year, she has already matched into an ENT program, and this is one of her last rotations – not an elective but a required rotation. She’s ready to start training for what she wants to do, and the months and months of rotations have caught up with her. She’s a good student and does a great job presenting patients – but she just looks exhausted.
And sometimes I think, at least in a little over a year I will be a resident. But I’ve seen how residents are treated. You think that having “Dr” in front of your name carries some weight and will earn you respect, but the PGYI (Post Graduate Year One) afterwards takes care of any grand delusions you have of being treated as a competent professional. I’ve seen residents berated at for answering calls from their Attending or yelled at for chewing gum. And sometimes it’s hard to watch. I’m not sure how many years it takes after medical training to completely forget what it’s like, but it seems like most doctors do. I can’t help but think if they still remembered how hard and grueling it is, they wouldn’t treat students and residents that way.
So if I really try to look ahead, it feels like it could be another four years of this. And all I really want is to be a doctor.
In essence, I miss the old me. I miss the naive pre-med who wanted to find a cure for cancer and help save the world. I miss the me who was excited about every patient and every case, no matter how ordinary. I miss the excitement about getting to be involved in patient care. I miss the me who loved medical school and just wanted to enjoy everything. I want to get back to that me, but I just don’t know how.
At times it feels overwhelming. It feels like med school is never going to end. But a classmate of mine put it into perspective for me the other day. He said, “Just think, if we’re having this much fun now, think how much better it’s going to get.” I am having fun. Despite looking like an idiot everyday and getting pimped on rounds in front of other students, doctors, and nurses. Despite the fact that I’m exhausted and am ready to be done. Despite the fact that I’m no longer always excited about every case. It’s still fun. It’s still interesting. And he’s right. If I can have fun during med school, being a doctor is going to be a blast – whenever it finally happens.
The old me is still in there somewhere. I just hope there’s a little bit of her left when this is all over.