It’s Over, But Not Really

Jeff, Fourth Year Medical StudentIt is now just over a week since I marched at my Commencement ceremony and received my diploma. Yes, the actual diploma was inside the folder — which is very exciting since all my previous diplomas (college and high school) had to be mailed to me once the financial office had decided that I no longer owed the school any money.

I suppose that this is officially my first post as an M.D. I am now a graduate. So perhaps this post does not really belong here on this blog any longer. I now can tack on the suffix M.D. to my name.

I remember one day after graduation when I sat staring at my diploma. As I stared at it, I almost could not believe it was in front of me. I looked at the piece of paper — a sheet of paper that has been the most expensive (physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) paper I have ever earned.

I’d also like to acknowledge that I owe a great deal to Loma Linda University School of Medicine and specifically, Dr. L. Werner. Almost 3 years ago I skipped out on exams and walked into his office on the Thursday of test week. I brought with me a form and requested his signature on my withdrawal form. It was an hour before he finished talking to me. That day, I failed at dropping out of medical school because our academic dean cared enough to spend an unscheduled hour with a student he didn’t know. It would’ve been so easy for him to sign that sheet and be done with me. But he didn’t. And for that I am, and will forever be, grateful.
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During the days prior to graduation, I was very excited. At the same time, I also felt nervous. Nervous about being done. Nervous about new responsibilities. Nervous about wearing the long white coat I have wanted ever since I looked into the mirror and saw how funny I looked in my short white coat. I am now waiting for my long coat. Literally — kind of. I sent an email to the Graduate Medical Education (GME) office a few weeks ago with my size. I hope I sent in the right size. Again, I am excited. But again, I am nervous about the long white coat and all the responsibility it represents.

I have a few more weeks before residency starts and I step onto the wards as a new intern. During this time I will have to complete some online modules and get certified for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). I will also complete my move into a new place. It is a few weeks that I know will go by very quickly. Actually, I feel like the next few years will go quickly, but I don’t really want to think about that at this point.

And so, my medical school career is over. One chapter is completed. But I know that I am far from the end. Medical training continues at the next stage — residency. I know, too, that it will continue long after I leave residency. Medicine, as they have taught me throughout medical school, is about lifelong learning. In the grand scheme of things, I am still at the beginning. I have a long way to go. I know the road ahead will be hard. But it’ll be full of adventure, I’m sure.

This will be my final post. I wish I’d had more time to write here during this past year, but as many of you know, life sometimes gets in the way of things. I would like to say thank you to the readers, my fellow bloggers, and Loma Linda University School of Medicine. It has been a lot of fun writing and reading here. And I wish you all the best.

(For those interested, I will continue to blog on my own personal blog at JeffreyMD.com.)