Over a year ago, I added a widget to my computer to count down the days left until graduation. I have occasionally checked the count down throughout the past several months, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized we had hit the home run stretch. Just 100 days left, barely over 3 months.
For those of you who don’t know, I chose to take the “scenic” route through medical school. Medical school is typically a 4 year ordeal, and I decided it was in my best interest to stretch it out to five. So for me, seeing that my 5 years of hard work, papercuts, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, running around the hospital at all hours, and way too much time squinting at my computer screen had culminated in only 100 days left. It’s a bit surreal!
What is left to do? For starters, the Match is coming up very soon. March 11 is the big day, where med school seniors find out if they have successfully matched to a residency program. If one does not match, they enter the SOAP (better know by the nickname of “the scramble”). No one ever wants to have to scramble, because it is just as chaotic as it sounds. Lots of phone calls and begging to get a job for the coming year.
I don’t really want to think about it! Hopefully all will go well and I will be placed in a General Surgery program, where I can spend the next 5 years learning all the cool things surgeons get to do.
After match comes more elective rotations, including one I have been looking forward to for months: Surgical Pathology. Two weeks of hanging out in scrubs in a hidden room next to the OR with the pathologist, looking at slides under the microscope, as well as dissecting tumors and other surgical specimens. I understand that to the general population and all normal people, this is not something one should be excited about. I’ve always had an interest in pathology, and as a future surgeon its good to have a general grasp of what happens to the chunks of tissue placed in specimen cups and whisked out of the OR.
After that rotation is complete, I pack my bags and head to LA where I will be traveling to Barcelona, Spain to leave on a cruise to Italy! It’s a pre-graduation present generously provided by my parents. My mom and I will be snacking on plenty of gelato and will definitely be getting the requisite cheesy tourist photo of trying to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I can’t wait!
And finally, the count down will end, because graduation will be upon us. Graduation weekend is full of events, including the hooding ceremony. The hooding ceremony is where our families, spouses, mentors etc. place our ceremonial graduation regalia on us. It is a ceremony just as important as the actual graduation, because it marks the metaphorical point where we are leaving medical school behind and taking on the role and responsibilities of a physician. Then two days later is graduation, and I will finally be able to stop introducing myself as “medical student” and start calling myself “doctor”.