Year 1, a reflection

When I first got in to medical school, I had every intention of keeping a fairly regular journal (mostly for myself) via this blog. Well here I am at the tail end of first year and I haven’t written a word. Hopefully I can be better next year, if only to keep a reminder of my various experiences and the insight that comes with them.

I guess I’ll start with a retrospective.

This has been one crazy year, and I’m not really sure how it’s almost over. Starting out in September all alone in a new city, surrounded by classmates who were still strangers, 9 months seemed like a long time. But time flew by, somewhere between classes, studying, clinique simulées, preceptors and electives. Not to mention interest groups, choir, Medshow and making new friends in a great community of students. Somehow while it was happening I never felt like I was doing enough (except for those brief moments where I felt I was doing WAY TOO MUCH) but when I look back I guess I was a pretty busy lady!

Things I’ve learned :

1. I am most definitely in the right place.
This ones a big relief! I was set on med school from quite a while back, but it’s one of those things that can be hard to tell until you’re in it. Would I be cut out for it academically? Would I really enjoy the work? I can safely say so far that I have made the right decision for me. I’m doing just fine academically and have learned to more or less manage my workload. And when I think about the clinical experiences I’ve already had, I look forward to building my own career. I still can’t imagine anything else I’d rather do.

2. I am way too competitive.
I knew, coming in to medical school, that I wouldn’t be the top of my class. Smart and hard working as I am, there is always someone who achieves higher than me. Having a pass/fail system, I thought I would let myself ease up on my personal expectations. But getting a number mark and getting to compare that to a class average has gotten to me more than I expected.

3. I am OVER classroom learning
Obviously there’s no getting around this and it’s important to do the classroom stuff. But I’m ready to get my hands dirty, and it’s my clinical experiences that really remind me what I’m working for.

4. Old habits die hard
When I lived in France in my third year of undergrad I had an epiphany. Life doesn’t have to be stressful. Things can be uncertain, and not go according to plan, and not be perfect, and the world will not stop turning. In fact, life can be still be pretty awesome. This was a mentality I have worked hard to keep with me since my return to ‘real life’, but that has largely been lost throughout the chaos of the past year.

Things I need to work on

1. Better work/life balance – mostly exercise
2. Eating better and breaking bad habits
3. Being ok with MY best, and not comparing it to everyone else’s best or what my best ‘should be’
4. Going along with #3 – being less self-critical
5. Go with da flowwww. Chillax. Ride the waves. Whatever.
6. Learn to control my facial expressions – been told multiple times that I show it too much when I’m annoyed…OOPS
7. Watch how I word it – a number of times someone has misinterpreted the true sentiment of what I’m trying to say because I’ve been too careless about the words I’m using or the way I’m expressing things. Another thing I’ve gotten too lax about that I used to do better!
8. Be more positive.
9. Play more piano
10. Get to know my classmates better.

Things I’ve accomplished

1. Got through 1/4 of my medical education. Yesssssssssss.
2. Learned how to get through the workload and exams without leaving a pile at the end.
3. Kept up with some interests outside of medicine
4. Make some sweet new friends while staying in touch with the old
5. Get involved with campus life
6. Stay more or less sane.

And now that I have sufficiently procrastinated studying for my final exam, goodnight!

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