Where’d You Go

Ariana, Third Year Medical Student

Let’s just state the obvious…I am not very good at keeping up with this blog. That said, I haven’t forgotten about it and I wanted to live up to the high standard set by my fellow bloggers by producing polished, high quality writing. Then I realized this is one of the few times in life where quantity is more important than quality so here it goes…

The last few months have felt like years and lots of things happened in my life: passed Step 1, took a trip to China with some classmates, saw my cousin get married in Jamaica, finished rotations in Peds, OB GYN in East LA, Family Med in the Palm Springs area, and Internal Med (in progress) partly in Kettering, Ohio. 3rd year of med school has been a mixed bag for me. I enjoy the opportunity to be immersed in each specialty and actually feel like part of the team that takes care of real live patients. These people are no longer footnotes in 600 page textbooks, but actual human beings. I know, scary! I am actually making decisions that impact the delivery of care to patients (under the supervision if our superiors of course). “Mr. John Doe, your BPs were too high today so let’s increase your Amlodipine from 10mg to 20mg a day. Would you like that mailed to you or do you want to pick it up in the window?” That’s me talking! An almost-real-doctor!

The downside to 3rd year is this growing feeling of incompetence that follows me down each hallway in the hospital. There is a culture in medicine where students and residents are taught through questions: you are asked questions that may or may not be a part of your expected knowledge base and put on the spot in front of the whole team (up to 8-10 people). Now this might just be me, but when someone asks me a question, no matter how easy it is, I curl up into a little ball with my tail between my legs with a deer in the headlights expression on my face. Not a pleasant sight…

Also, there is a “game” to clinical rotations. To play the game you have to be the shrewdest of people and adept at a certain level of flattery. Fortunately or unfortunately, we are not graded heavily on the evaluations written by residents and attendings which encourages behaviors like: individually labeling home-baked cookies almost every day for 3 weeks, buying coffee, bringing home made ice cream, asking hundreds of “let-me-show-off-my-exceptional-knowledge” questions, volunteering to follow several more patients than your classmate, etc etc. You have to act overtly interested in everything that happens otherwise it looks like you don’t give a hoot… Some people are amazing at the game and they get a downpour of flattery. I unfortunately am not too skilled at the “game” leaving me discouraged more often than not. “Hello, does anyone notice anything I’m doing here??” But then I put on the “pineapple shades” and hope that I’m growing thicker armadillo-like skin. And I remember that I wise person once said…”this too shall pass.”

2014 came with a bang and I will definitely be blogging more! Please let me know if there’s anything in particular you want me to write about, otherwise it’ll just be blabbing on about whatever comes to mind 🙂 Hope everyone had a Happy Holidays!

-Ari