Since my last post, I’ve been traveling & flying all over the place (i flew so much that I earned the Southwest Airlines “companion pass,” so someone of my choice gets to fly free for a year with me). I’ve been interviewing & doing audition rotations & deciding what things I want out of my residency training while balancing other aspects of the programs like location and lifestyle. It’s been an interesting couple of months. Among my classmates I’ve heard many similar sentiments recently. Fourth year isn’t the “expensive vacation” we were told it would be. It’s a frustrating, convoluted mess of traveling often & traveling alone while attempting to put your best foot forward and make every program believe they’re your top choice. It’s showing up early and staying late and finding time after work to research something interesting and different enough that it will set you apart from your peers as a good residency candidate. It’s putting on your suit and pep-talking yourself into believing you’re exactly what they’re looking for. It’s learning your limits physically and emotionally for let-downs and “constructive criticism.” It’s constantly being compared to other people with higher board scores, or more community service, or a family member on the medical board at that hospital. It’s holding your head high when you feel like you have nothing left to give and just want to go home. And, for me, it’s all while dealing with pregnancy hormones and physiology shifts that take the whole experience to a whole new level. The small exciting things like feeling the baby kick & my bump finally showing have to be kept hidden from my interviewers because-gasp! god forbid a woman has a child AND a career. It’s exhausting.
Lest I sound disheartened, It’s also really, really exciting. Fourth year is 110% different than third year. Physicians trust you more. You’re only months away from being a RD (REAL doctor!). It’s more interesting because the Attendings teach on a deeper level, and they teach more than clinical knowledge. I’ve learned so much more this year about what it truly means physically, financially, emotionally, & spiritually to choose this line of work and be a physician. And the exciting parts of my pregnancy- David can feel the bumblebee kick now! Even the bulkiest of my sweaters doesn’t hide my bump now! I completed my baby registry & am nesting in my own way by prepping & reading tons of books!- I get to share it all with my family and close friends. Even if my interviewees don’t know, all of the people in my life who matter do- and that makes a huge difference. I wasn’t sure if all of the cool things about being pregnant would be overshadowed by the excitement of graduation coming up and the residency Match being soon. But I can happily say they aren’t! It just makes this season of my life that much more exciting and full of change.
Right now I’m taking a 2-week online pharmacology elective, which conveniently lined up with a family ski trip. I’m sitting in the warm lodge, sipping my hot cocoa & looking out at the beautiful snow-covered pine trees. In 4 short months I will have a baby, graduate, and be a physician! Despite the hardships and drawbacks and uncertainties and sleepless nights, the dreams I had when I was a little girl of becoming a doctor and being a mom will come true. How amazing I get to do them together! On difficult days, and even on the good ones like today, I think it’s important to remind myself of the privilege I have to be pursuing this career & the blessings I have of having a healthy pregnancy. It is so exciting!
I’ll end this post with a quote from a physician’s wife. Our class heard this quote during a lecture second year & it has really stuck with me. “Tell them how lucky they are. Tell them that they will impact the lives of people in ways most can only dream about. Tell them not to listen to the cynics and critics, that the work they will do everyday is of value. TELL THEM THEY WILL BE PHYSICIANS.”