My First Time

Kari, Third Year Medical StudentI was 13 the first time I watched a surgery, standing next to the anesthesiologist, who was also my father. It was a laparoscopic appendectomy and the second they made the incision, I felt extremely warm, sweaty, dizzy and generally miserable. The mask felt like it was glued over my face and I couldn’t breathe. I was going somewhere fast. It was unfortunately the floor.

After some time sitting against the wall with my head between my knees, I was able to comfortably watch the rest of the surgery on the monitor. At the end they took a picture of the appendix and let me keep it. (The picture, not the organ.)

Best job shadow report ever.


(August 2010, Ecuador. Surgery fainting – conquered.)

Fast forward 10 years and I’m almost done with my third-year surgery rotation. Many surgeries later, give me that incision and let me sew it up.

I’m learning through each experience that the uncomfortable feeling of the unknown, whether a paralyzing external one or just an internal nervousness, may always be part of the unfamiliar. Whether it’s a new physical exam maneuver, placing a catheter, presenting a patient or breaking bad news, it’s never wrong to feel like what I’m doing is new and to be a little nervous about it. However, that isn’t a good enough reason to quit.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on medicine when I was passed out on the floor at 13, because now there’s no other place I could see myself. I’ve come a long way since then, and it’s nice to remember when I feel like the distance to go is still insurmountable.


Thanks for reading. I’m Kari. I’m a third year. I’ve been on clinical rotations just a few months, and I love it.

Like many third years, I spend most of my time in the hospital or trying desperately to predict and read about what I may be asked about the next day.

I’m a bit of a TV addict. A culture vulture perhaps.

I run, I cook, and I’m planning my wedding.

I would never make it without my classmates and I’m impressed with them every day. I feel privileged to be in the Class of 2013.

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About Kari

Thanks for reading. I'm Kari. I'm in my fourth and final year as a medical student, and I'm going into Pediatrics. I spend most of my time in the hospital or clinic, but as a fourth year I'm also making time for interviews, away rotations, I run, I cook, and I'm planning my wedding. I would never make it without my classmates and I'm impressed with them every day.