There is no possibility for teaching without learning. As well as there is no possibility of learning without teaching.
…is my last clinical day of medical school.
…is my last day seeing patients before residency.
…is my last day introducing myself to patients as a medical student.
Though I still have a month plus change of classes before school is officially over, I am both excited and terrified of what is to come.
Sitting in the deafening silence of the call lounge with nothing but my thoughts to occupy me, I wait. My phone has yet to buzz with the tease of a new consult. My mind races about tomorrow’s match results.
Did I make the right choices? Will I match? What will happen if I do not?
Tonight will be the longest call shift of my life.
That is a very tough but excellent question. For the four years of medical school, I have sacrificed many things.
One sacrifice was time to explore. When people ask about applying to medical school, I never dissuade them from waiting, taking a year off, or worrying about being too old. Being a little late to the game never hurt anyone. In the time I have been in school, I have not taken the opportunity to travel or pursue my interests outside of medicine to the extent I would have hoped. A sizeable part of my twenties, a time typically dominated with a youthful exploration of the world feels cut short. While I am sure there will be a chance to do some of this in the future, it will never match the freedom of flexibility of these years allotted to medicine. In some ways, these “not-so-distant” opportunities always feels just out of reach.
Another sacrifice was family and friendships. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to send my regrets for a gathering with friends or family because of studies, exams, or a long/night shift. The impact of medicine can bleed into the home when your friends lose touch and your family support is strained in these circumstances. It can sometimes be very isolating.
Last but not least, I have sacrificed my health. It is not by nature that we were intended to work sleeplessly through the night, to eat irregularly by day, and to stress constantly. With the right practice and mindset, we can avoid some of these factors but we never really escape them entirely.
Everyone makes sacrifices and I have made mine for a higher calling. It is a passion for the practice that drives me forward. I truly believe that the rewards of this challenging yet fulfilling career are worth the time and dedication I have put into it. Having said that, every choice comes with a price and that should never be overlooked.