Reflections on the First 2 Years of Medical School

“Every new beginning comes from some other old beginning’s end.” –Closing Time, Semisonic 

9/9/2009 First day of med school

5/20/2011 Last day of second year

The second year of medical school ended last Friday and marked the conclusion of our preclinical years. I’m so happy and proud for all of my classmates. We’ve come so far from that first day under the warm San Diego sun when we put on our little white coats and took pictures with our overjoyed parents. We were so full of hope and ambition for the next 4 years. And, in a blink, 2 years have gone by. We’ve completed over 60 exams, we drank gallons of coffee, we’ve slept in the library, missed important outside events, pulled our all nighters, shed our tears, and shared our laughs.

In behavioral science, we learned to see the patient and not the disease, always. In clinical medicine, we listened and diagnosed aortic stenosis for the first time. In free clinic, we spent time healing the homeless and those who can not afford healthcare because our world does not see the relief from suffering as a fundamental human right.

As I look back on these 2 years, I learned some important lessons:

1.I can learn much more from failure than from success

2.I am not defined by my career or my achievements

3.I am defined by how I embrace, accept, and overcome my failures

4.The most important attributes to have as a physician is humility and compassion

5.To always do right by the patient no matter what

6.Your friends and family will get you through anything

7.Take the challenges one day at a time

I can’t help but miss the last 700 days, days that I once wished so much to pass by quickly. As we begin our 3rd year as clinical students, we no longer sit in a classroom of 120 students. We no longer chat and waste time before exams. We no longer take pictures of each other falling asleep in lecture.

We will now work on separate teams with real responsibilities to real patients. We are finally introduced to real medicine. I am scared of the new set of challenges and responsibilities, but most of all, I am excited!

In the words of Semisonic’s song closing time – “every new beginning comes from some other old beginning’s end.”

Goodbye preclinical years, and thank you for the ways you’ve helped me grow. And Ms3, here I come =)

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