The Life Changes of Third Year

Kari, Third Year Medical StudentAt the inception of this blog, we all had ambitions of diligently contributing at least weekly…but my last post was a month ago. There are three of us third-years currently trying to share our limited wisdom, or entertain a little, but between the 3 of us, there’s been one post in the past month. Way to go Kelsey!

The first and second years have been publishing all kinds of great stories and advice both witty and useful. The fourth years have also been awesome, but I think our relative silence as third years perhaps speaks better than anything else as to just what changes our lives have gone through recently. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share just a couple ways in which this year is so different from the first two.

1. Breakfast in the dark. Although I’m about to go to outpatient pediatrics and this may no longer apply, the early mornings of inpatient rotations for the past 3.5 months have meant that there’s no time to enjoy my mornings, work out, maybe see the sunrise on a run. The sun comes up while I’m already in the hospital, and breakfast has to be eaten while on the way out the door in the pitch dark. Or while poring over some notes, praying they’ll make me look less like a lost sheep. I really only mention this because I have an illustrative picture:

I sort of miss my leisurely early morning time. Then again, on inpatient early morning is spent seeing my patients. That’s awesome I guess.

2. Our time is no longer our own. First and second year are lecture based. When you’re done with class you have to study, but it’s up to you when, where, how much. Rotations have much longer time requirements. 12 hour days and 28 hour calls aren’t abnormal for some of them. However, I feel like I’m learning more than ever. It feels worth it.

3. Coffee. I was never a coffee addict until now. Unfortunately ever since the second week of surgery I get a raging headache by 9 am if I haven’t had any. To be clear, the Adventist Church does not technically support the use of caffeine. It’s not available on campus. I make it at home every morning. Actually I set my programmable coffee maker to make it for me. Technology is awesome.

4. This is the most important. I am infinitely happier. First and second year were really really dark sometimes. Especially second year. All you get is scores as feedback about how you’re doing, and I don’t rock tests. Not now. I spent a lot of time feeling really sub-par.

Now that it’s third year, turns out I’m not so bad with actual patients. I also find it so much easier to learn now that I see it benefiting real people.

So, like Kelsey said in her last post – I know it was just test week for first and second years – I’m sure you did great, but if you didn’t, it gets better.

Like climbing a tree. All of a sudden I can see where I’m going:

So. Much. Better. Just be prepared with coffee.

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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.