7 months in; An Update

It has been a ride.

I am currently 7 months into intern year for my internal medicine residency and I am somehow simultaneously thriving and not thriving AT ALL. It is an interesting combination.

I am currently freaking out about step 3. I don’t feel as prepared as I did for step two and it is coming up fast and we all know how step 1 went and I just cannot afford that right now.

On the flip side, I am doing really well–and I mean really well intern year. Sometimes it is uncomfortable (or we pretend it is) to toot your own horn but I know how hard I worked for this. How I worked to the bone, sacrificing EVERYTHING for this. And to see email after email from people I’ve worked with just full of positive feedback and praise and recognition–and for them to send those emails to my program director? It’s just like validation in a time where I’m full of imposter syndrome but also somehow definitely feel like I got the hang of it now?

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Boba is a way of life<3

As I said. An interesting combination.

I am so fulfilled career wise. I go to work every day excited to do what I do. Like I feel like I made the right decision, I love my job, I love my co-residents and I’m beginning to like my new city too.

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Annual Hot Pot with current residents and past prelims!

 

On the flip side. I am so tired. Like I have never been more tired in my life. How are people even able to be empathetic and kind to patients when they are THIS. TIRED. I didn’t even know it was possible to be more tired than I was in med school. I DIDN’T KNOW THE HALF OF IT. They work us too hard. For the love of God I just want TWO DAYS OFF IN A ROW. If I get another page in the middle of the night about a diet order I just might scream. And when is my vacation? I NEED MORE VACATION THAN THIS! I am so excited to go home. My home city is way better than this new city. I am so ready to go on vacation. Have my old friends forgotten about me?! Probably. Because they’re all dying in residency too. How is it that i’m getting paid but I am somehow more poor than i was before?!

See what I mean? Internship is a volatile time emotionally.

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Surprise! My childhood friend from ELEMENTARY SCHOOL is also in a residency near me!

On top of all this I am also dating? For about five months I have been seeing this guy but it’s such an undefined relationship it’s now starting to give me some stress. And I do not have time for undefined relationships. I am 26. I am training to be a physician. I have approximately like four hours of time a week available for socializing outside the medicine realm. I do want to get married and have a single (multiple kids are too expensive gtfo) child one day. Tick mother fucking tock. I do not have time for this nonsense. So I’m working on that too; either we’re together or buh-bye so I can spend my four hours a week on hinge and CMB because I don’t have time to meet people like a normal person.

So that’s the update. I love everything. I hate everything. I am thrilled and I am way too tired. I’m happy in my “relationship” and annoyed about it too.

And I am 100% okay with that.

I. MATCHED.

Hello again!

I am back and with a newfound excitement and rush of inspiration. Why may you ask? BECAUSE. I. MATCHED. I am seriously and utterly stunned, humbled, thankful, grateful, and elated. I wake up every day kind of like: wait a second, will I really get to be a doctor?

At my number one choice for a program no less?! Everything I have been working towards for the past EIGHT YEARS is FINALLY coming…true?! It is absolutely INSANE. I will be moving far from home as well, which is scary and wonderful at the same time. I will also have a salary which is WILD.

I am so excited to learn and re-learn and explore my new city. I want to start fresh, anew. I want to put myself outside of my comfort zone more. To be honest, this move is WAY outside my comfort zone as is so I am thrilled I actually tried for something new instead of sticking with tried, true but honestly tired old methods.

Here we go! Journey from student doctor to doctor is so close to being over I won’t even know what my identity will be when I am no longer a student. For 20 years I have been a student. I am so excited to what is in store for me next!

 

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Finding out I matched at my #1 IM Residency choice!

Moving Forward…and feeling good!

I’ve decided on a specialty.

Internal Medicine. Partly driven by the realities of my test scores and partly driven by the fact that I actually really liked IM, that’s what I’m going for. I’ve got a sub-I set up at Kaiser Permanente for a month on inpatient internal medicine in San Francisco. I’m both nervous and excited; they give you an interview at the end of it. Realistically it may be one of very few interviews…but at least it is an interview. I’ll have to ROCK that rotation though. I mean know EVERYTHING. It will be right after I take Step 2 CK so I’m hoping all that knowledge is still extra fresh so I’ll be really ready for the rotation.

I’m hoping for good things. I did well in my internal medicine rotation and I’m hoping to continue to do well. I’m on Family Medicine right now and although it’s not my cup of tea, I’m learning a ridiculous amount. All the people at my rotation are incredibly nice and strangely adept at teaching. I’m learning how to be a really good clinician and how to better focus myself so my presentations and plans are more organized. I honestly think this will help me inpatient-wise as well.

I’m enjoying my friends a bit more as well. I’ve got a really great group of people both in and outside of medical school that I’m realizing I cherish much more than I even thought I did. I’ve been blessed to experience some of the adventures and crazy times with these people. It’s a little bittersweet for the med friends because after medical school we’ll all go our separate ways but I’ll forever be grateful for these memories. Nobody quite understands what its like to grind through medical school than the friends you make there, you know? It’s a different beast.

Anyway, I’m in a much better place than I was before. I’m looking to get my motivation for other things back as well. For working out and eating right and putting myself outside of my comfort zone. I’m slowly getting back to the Amanda I used to be. And I feel really good about that.

Heavy Thoughts

Wow.

It has been a while since I’ve done anything here. Step was…..well. Step was Step 1. It was a lot. I’m an M3 now. Going through clerkships and everything. I love it. I know now more than ever that this is the correct path for my life.

It’s weird, I know a couple people from school that are now M1s. These people are my peers but…they look to me for advice, simply because of that “3” behind the “M.” I still feel like I am floundering and have no idea what I am talking about, but I guess from the outside looking in that isn’t true?

I hope it isn’t true lol.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future and my career. I originally thought I wanted to do surgery after medical school. I was pretty sure  about it actually. I had lined myself up to really get some good support behind pursuit of a surgical career. I had moved away from it a bit as rotations started (I mean how many lap choles can you see before you get it?!) but I hadn’t quite removed myself form the running.

Then Step 1 happened. It was….a tragedy. To say the least. I can say it is because my grandmother was dying at the time, I can say it is because I was distracted by personal issues…all of which are true. And when my grandmother was rushed to the hospital the day of Step 1, marking the start of her last few days on Earth, I admit: I was distracted. But those are still just excuses. I didn’t study properly or hard enough or couldn’t overcome the pressure. Whatever it was, it did not go well. No, that’s putting it mildly; it went about as poorly as it could go.

Insert depression. Self loathing. Self pity. Mind you this was in the middle of a pediatrics clerkship and watching all my friends pass and not only pass…do well. I questioned whether I was intelligent enough to be a doctor.  At that point, I knew for SURE I wasn’t getting into surgery. It’s not a terribly competitive field but it was competitive enough. I questioned whether I could even continue in medicine—can I match with this on my record? I wasted so much money, how could I failed like this? My grandparents were so proud of me when they passed, one after the other, that I was becoming a doctor. That they, who between them had the equivalent of a fifth grade education, were going to have a grandchild who was a doctor! How could this be how I repaid their support? My parents who poured their blood sweat and tears into my education, how could I look at them again? How could I look at myself again? I was painfully embarrassed. It hurt to get out of bed. I gained weight. A lot of weight. Upwards of 20 pounds because food made the pain go away. I would sit in the dark of my apartment alone just shaking from crying so hard. For weeks.

And after every cry, I’d get back up and I’d study. Cry some more. Study some more. Cry some more. Study some more.

Will I match?

I’m skeptical. Some days I feel like I will definitely be able to match into a university internal medicine program. Other days, I’m sure I won’t get a spot in the SOAP scramble and will go unmatched and useless. I still cry a lot. It took a lot for me to even be able to write this without breaking into wracking sobs. My confidence was wiped away like THAT because of test that cost me over $600.00. I have more bad days than good if I am being totally honest. I feel like a fraud 95% of the time and I want to scream for people not to look up to me or admire me because I’m nobody. I’m a failure. An expensive, 200K in loans failure.

But what else can I do but move forward?

Here’s to moving forward.

USMLE STEP 1. DONE!

Oh. My. God.

 

I didn’t even know it could feel this good.

 

Did I do well? Unsure.

Did I at least pass? Also unsure.

Did I finish it? ABSOLUTELY!

 

I can finally start living like a PERSON again. This is insane. I nearly cried when I saw my friends for the first time in like two months. THAT is how starved of social contact I have been. BUT IT IS OVER GUYS! YES!!!

 

I’m off to Miami in a week to celebrate with my friends from undergrad, and then I start. Like right away. First up is Family Medicine. I’m nervous as all heck but I hope I’ll be alright. If I’m not…you’ll hear about it!

 

But first Miami though. Good to be back.

Advice from the M2

I write this now about halfway through my second year of medical school. “Don’t I have finals?” You ask. OF COURSE. I need a break from all that intensity so I came back for a little update here, just to kind of hammer out some thoughts that have been mulling around the old noodle for a while. Take it with a grain of salt of course; I’m only an M2. I just barely stopped being on the lowest of the low rungs on the totem pole.

I just finished my required visits in clinic for the semester. This year I am following a general surgeon for my required clinical experience so I am doing both OR and Surgery Clinic observations. Both are surprisingly incredible. I’m not that hot about Internal Medicine clinic but surgery clinic? Surgery clinic is not half bad. I even found myself ENJOYING clinic. Imagine that. Me. Enjoying CLINIC. The surgeon I’ve been following is basically my role model for my entire life; she’s incredibly well respected by peers even outside the hospital and her skills are no joke, but she laughs and is witty and makes jokes and has a husband and kids and works out and still goes out with her friends. She is actually living the life. I cant explain to you how refreshing it is to finally meet a mentor that does not look at you like you are crazy when you insist that you can be a good surgeon, a good future mother and a good future wife and a good friend all at the same time.

One of my realizations is that I feel every M1 during the summer should have some pretty in depth clinical experience. Mine was in the form of Kaiser Permanente. I know, especially for more competitive fields, that research is all but demanded of you. Sometimes that is unavoidable. Despite that, I really feel like an immersive hospital experience your M1 summer is key to doing well M2 Year. I say this because the instances in which I have used information gained from that summer have been too many to count. Signs, symptoms and labs that my peers are just now learning about, I saw and experienced firsthand this past summer. I feel comfortable in the hospital now, as if I know the general protocol and how things work there. I cannot praise the Kaiser program enough if I even tried it has been that helpful to me. I spoke with some friends that did research–even some that did clinical research–and the way we speak about our summer activities is wildly different. A close friend of mine who even turned down Kaiser to do a research experience expressed regret, saying that they wished they had done Kaiser for that clinical immersion.

I say all this not to say don’t do research, but I say all this to say that if you ARE like me and you did research your ENTIRE undergrad career (word up MCB at UIUC) and you are tired of research because it is not what you want to do with your career, do not be afraid of choosing not to do research in that first summer. Even when all your friends are doing it. And to those caught in between, make sure you really research what type of research experience you will be getting over the summer. Is it something you can get a paper out of? Honestly at this point, it does not make sense to do research unless you’re getting a paper, maybe two, before you apply to residencies. Spend your well-earned summer doing something more productive if the strong likelihood of a paper is not there.

Switching gears to a quick mini update on my life: Still single. I just paid for my Step 1 exam and that was probably the most traumatizing thing I had to do all year.  Still upset Donald Trump is going to be our new president. Still thankful for my awesome friends.

That’s really all I have to say. Finals beckons me. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!