To be a medical student is truly an honor. It’s one that I didn’t always believe I could achieve and since I have, it is one of my proudest accomplishments. As I near the end of this quarter, in the midst of my third year of four, I’ve really started to reflect on what being a medical student has done for me and to me.
They don’t talk about what will happen to you when you apply to medical school. In fact, there is no mention of how drastically your life and your relationships will change. Getting accepted is an honor. One that should be celebrated, and celebrate I did. I didn’t mourn the loss of my former life; I only had great excitement for the new life I was about to begin. To be honest, I didn’t realize what I was giving up to pursue my dream of becoming a Physician.
Without a doubt this program has increased my knowledge on so many subjects, it has made me realize my own endurance, strength and mental capability. I have been challenged, I have failed and succeeded. I have been lucky to work with amazing mentors and I have built a support group amongst my classmates. As an applicant, I imagined myself as a competent student clinician, full of knowledge and skills that would help every patient that walked into the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. The reality is that I don’t always feel confident, I second-guess myself, and at times I feel completely oblivious to what is going on.
I didn’t consider all of the things I would be giving up for the chance to go to medical school. I imagined a glamorous life, exploring a new city and earning a doctorate. The vastly less glamorous side of medical school never occurred to me. I didn’t imagine how little I would sleep, how difficult it would be to keep in touch with my friends and family, how impossible it would be to make time for everyday activities. Four years can feel like a lifetime, though in the big picture it is quite small.
When it comes to feeling competent, I can acknowledge that I am still learning and that my education isn’t over yet. In fact, given my nature, I don’t think I will ever be done learning. As a student, I don’t know that I will ever achieve the perfect life balance that I so desperately seek. It is impossible to feel like you aren’t a medical student and you live a normal life when what you are is the exact opposite. What I have learned is to pause and reflect on how much this accomplishment meant to me early on. To remind myself of my passion and to know that despite the sleepless nights and all that I have given up to be here, I have been enriched in many other ways.