Imposter phenomenon

Today’s inane [except not so inane to me] image of the day:

I was greeted with this thoughtful sticky when I came in this morning — thank you!

From my image above, you may have deduced that today was my last day working as an Engineering Intern at Terumo Cardiovascular Systems (CVS). It has been an enlightening, interesting, learning and relatively fun experience. While I’ve complained a few too many times to Mike about an uncomfortable chair or tired eyes, I would not have traded this opportunity for anything else the summer before starting medical school. In the end, I will be enter the medical profession with the knowledge that there are incredible people behind the development and production of some of our most relied-upon medical devices. As physicians, we depend on them to innovate often and consistently produce quality products to keep our patients safe.

Some things I learned about being temporarily thrown into “real world employment”:

  • Unlike school, working full-time generally meant there was no homework to follow you into the evening, allowing me the freedom to grab a margarita and chill with Mike for a while
  • Making a little bit of money was quite nice
  • Working 40 hours/week left me exhausted sometimes and weekends were still spent catching up on life and sleep [sounds too much like school…]
  • Engineering can be awesome… or boring
  • It was nice to be in a routine and not have to wake up at a different time each day because some mornings I had early class and others I didn’t
  • Desk jobs are hard
There was more… but they aren’t coming to me right now. Oh well.
I’m sure some of you were curious as to why I entitled this post “Imposter phenomenon” and of course I am going to explain: basically, I borrowed the title from one of my favorite new blogs, “Musings of a Dinosaur” which features a family doctor that’s maintaining her private practice. She recently wrote a post entitled, “Imposter pep talk” which addresses newly minted interns who were about to begin on July 1st. She discusses this idea of the “imposter phenomenon,” which I definitely felt during the beginning of my internship with Terumo. Not only did I feel like I was ill-prepared to truly take on engineering work [true, I was entitled an “intern” for a reason, but my manager likes to give us real work], but because I was also in the medical school application process, I felt even more like an imposter.
[I dare you to count the number of times I wrote “imposter” above… ha! Too many…]
The point of this is that it’s amazing how a little bit of experience can calm your fears about your own ability and capability. While I still sometimes felt like an outsider because my long-term goal in life is to be a practicing physician — not a Senior Engineer — after about a month, things started to really make sense. Many of the intricacies of the heart-lung machine started to come easily to me. The building which I worked no longer felt like a foreign land. I could match names with the faces of my co-workers. Everything just started falling into place, and I felt myself becoming much more comfortable with the title, “Engineering Intern.”
I cannot wait to recognize the feelings of the imposter phenomenon again as a real medical intern.
Anyway, farewell Terumo, you will always have a place in my heart [or something cheesy like that].

One thought on “Imposter phenomenon

  • July 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Glad you got an enjoyable snapshot of the real world before you enter yet another real world. It was cool having you around. Best of luck Dr. 11

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