I told myself once my board exam and med school classes were over I would write on a more regular basis — get back to the “once a month” kind of schedule. Sounds reasonable right? Then again, reality is a rather fickle beast and I don’t think I’m the only one who finds an infinite supply of the proverbial “something else” that make their way onto my to do list. Funny how those “something elses” manage to squash my motivation and ruin all of my best intentions…
I’m still a bit bewildered that today is already August 1st. The second year med students started their classes on Monday and the brand new first years are on day two of their journey into medicine. It’s fun seeing the new faces on campus and the returning, whole-year-wiser second years. They seem to bring this unique energy that I don’t think I realized was missing from the hallways.
Naturally, all that energy also brings back a lot of little reminders of my own foray into those first few days of classes – the nerves, the unknown, the questions, the self-doubt. Yet, those thoughts are starkly contrasted by the acknowledgement of just how far I’ve come and what I’ve managed to accomplish (but with a twinge of the ever present knowledge that I still have so much more to learn and do).
Honestly, they’re reminders that have been unexpectedly helpful.
As a dual degree student, you have a few additional transitions added into your educational journey.
1) Start of medical school
2) Start of lab and graduate/PhD training
3) Return to medical school, clinical care, and the hospital — then graduate
While I definitely knew that those steps and stages were all a part of the training I signed up for, I know I didn’t truly KNOW what that really meant. I also didn’t KNOW how it would feel to have to take one step and then another down a path with footing that sometimes feels a little too uncertain to rest my full weight on.
Currently, I find myself at number two on the list, a whole two months into my quest for a PhD. Two months down, an undetermined amount of time to go.
I think that’s one of the challenges of the transition to grad school and lab life, there is a path, but it’s somewhat vague and highly mutable. You decide if you go left or right, if you slow down and dig deeper or sprint ahead. Perhaps you’ll find something totally new and unexpected during that sprint. Or… it’ll turn out to be a dead end and you have to spend a bunch of time back-tracking while pondering all the effort and energy that now feels wasted (although “wasted” is a matter of perspective). Continue reading