Thursday Born

The everyday life of a medical student (who was born on a Thursday).

Slowly revealing the mystery of fourth year

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In sharp contrast to college, medical school seems to be full of “you’ll find out when you need to know” when it comes to how our education is structured, which I guess makes sense since we all do the same thing and there’s little input on our parts as to how things progress. In spite of the administration’s reticence, little by little, I’ve been piecing together how things go.

Today we had another lunch panel with fourth years answering questions. A lot of the questions were more specific than I wanted (like, how we go about getting recommendations for our residency applications. Really, fellow classmates? That’s what you’re interested in hearing about now?) but there were still some interesting things I picked up. Like how in the same way that the second years tell us not to study too much, but actually, we should study, the fourth years told us to do as little as possible fourth year, but then immediately went back on that and said, No, actually, you’re paying for this so make use of it and do electives in things you won’t learn about in your Residency but might be useful, like Radiology (if you’re not going to be a radiologist).

It was interesting hearing about how different the process is depending on what specialty/internship/residency you’re going into. The girl who went into Pediatrics had markedly different things to say about applying and interviewing than the girl who went into Orthopedic Surgery and the girl who went into General Surgery. (When do I stop referring to female peers as girls? I wonder about this often.)

I’m always struck by how the fourth years actually do seem older/more mature, because there really isn’t that big of a difference between someone who’s 22/23 and someone who’s 25/26, is there? On second thought, I guess there is a bigger one than expected, because there is something different about my classmates who took a year or more to do something else before starting med school, and many of those who came straight out of college. I don’t think it’s necessarily the actual age difference, but it’s an experience thing. Working changes you. Responsibility changes you. There are of course exceptions to this rule, but I think it’s true of most people. Third year and fourth year of medical school are probably similar kinds of growth experiences. You may not be bringing in an income yet, you may not be truly responsible for people’s lives yet, but it’s a big deal. It’s a big step.

I can’t really comment on third years because I don’t really know any. Third years are a rather elusive bunch and we have little to no contact with them. But I can say that the first and second years are very similar but the fourth years are strikingly different from us, right from the start, so I guess it’s third year that does it. It should be daunting and scary, but honestly, I can’t wait. I’ve never been a big fan of classroom learning. I’m ready to start an apprenticeship! (Third year, when I’m whiny and tired and miss having time, please don’t remind me I ever said this. =P ).

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Written by Aba

May 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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