It’s surreal that medical school is over, and that in one month I will begin my life as a resident physician. This experience was unlike any other. Time flew so quickly, creating days that were long, but weeks and years that truly blended into one another. I am truly grateful for the beautiful memories and friendships formed at the Boonshoft School of Medicine over the last four years.
Below are some things I learned during my fourth year of medical school:
- Every year in med school has its unique stressors and challenges, including 4th year. I always heard 4th year was the best year (which it is), and the easiest (I would argue not really). There are board exams (x2), residency applications, interviews, away rotations, sub-internships, rank list, Match Day, and residency paperwork to juggle.
- Make the most of it and make every minute count. This is pretty much the only year where you won’t have end-of-rotation exams to study for and quizzes to take, which makes room for other things you’ve put on hold for a while.
- Take harder rotations, and take easier ones. Fourth year is a great time to relax and have fun. However, I am a strong believer in doing a few rotations that give you similar responsibilities as an intern. Intern year is going to be nerve-wrecking as it is so why not build your skill set, increase your confidence, and practice being an intern as a medical student to feel a little more comfortable on day 1 of the real job?
- Challenge/push yourself and take initiative--that’s where the good learning comes in. Take part in whatever is happening around you, be fully present, and shadow as least as you can (doing vs. observing=big difference).
- You won’t know if you’re allowed to do something until you ask, and you won’t know if you’re capable of something until you try-you might surprise yourself!
- Know your limitations and ask for help. Ask lots and lots and lots of questions (there are no silly ones). Those answers will help you in residency!
- Explore while on interviews. This might be the first and last time you visit an interview location (or it might be your new home!) so get to know it for the short while you are there.
- Be flexible!
- Take rotations that scare you. Take rotations you enjoy. Take rotations unrelated to your field of choice. Create your own rotation!
- Get to know some of your co-applicants and keep in touch with them. You will be future colleagues and you never know who might end up in the same residency program as you!
- Travel and catch up with old friends. Go on road trips…spend time with family. Be spontaneous!
- Tell your resident your differentials, plans, treatments, thoughts, etc, before the resident tells you theirs! That will soon be your job and practicing it now is better than later!
Enjoy this year because it truly passes in the blink of an eye. One day you are at your white coat ceremony getting your short white coat thinking what a long, tortuous road ahead and the next…you are graduating!