Life as an MS3

Today’s inane images of the last 7-or-so months:

Early mornings in the hospital look something like this…

Starbucks, FTW.
Last day of surgery! Whew… I survived.
A quick trip to London to meet some awesome social media enthusiasts and discuss my research on social media policies.
Neurology has the best physical exam. Hands down.
My pockets [I think my coat is 5lbs when it’s full of stuff; I also need to start thinking about rotating which side I put heavier things because I feel lopsided now].
This winter has required lots of tea.
A breathtaking sunset at Lunga Beach from a couple of weeks ago.

Hello, my loves! For some reason I just couldn’t stop myself from coming back here to write an update for all of you loyal readers [and future OUWB-ers]! While I am still very actively writing for Med School Insight and The Differential, the audience isn’t as interested in my thoughts on OUWB, nor do I feel comfortable sharing some more of my personal life through those outlets. And while I love Tumblr for sharing interesting posts from others or answering questions, something keeps drawing me back here.

So, hello again everyone! I hope you’ve been well.

The last seven months have been characterized by a lot of ups and downs. Overall, clinical clerkships are much more satisfying than sitting in a classroom. In fact, I’d say that I’ve fallen more in love with medicine since starting clerkships. Despite the long hours, sometimes uncomfortable situations and being inundated with feedback, most days feel indescribably gratifying. Who says there’s delayed gratification in medicine? [Oh, wait… I still have another 15+ months of medical school tuition bills to pay and at least 3 more years of residency before I’m a board-certified physician. Hmmm…]

Thus far, I’ve completed Surgery, Neurology, Pediatrics, Ob/Gyn and Family Medicine [in that order]. Do I have any advice for those of you in second year struggling to determine the order of your rotations? Well… yes and no. It really does depend on whether you are confident that you want to do a specific specialty in medicine. If you are like me and have an inkling of an idea, but don’t really feel comfortable committing, then just pick the schedule that you know you will thrive with. If you know exactly what you want to do [I’m looking at you, orthopods and dermatologists], then it is probably best to put the specialty closest to your desired one in the middle of the year so it’s early enough that if you end up hating it, you have time to change your mind, but late enough that you have knowledge and the attendings might actually remember you in a couple months when you’re applying to residencies.

I’ve been very satisfied with the order of my clerkships. I purposely front-loaded my schedule [uhh, hello surgery + peds + ob/gyn all in one semester?!] so that I would have ample time in the spring/summer to study for Step 2. All I have left is to finish my elective [which I’m on now], Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. At that point, I will start my 2-week Capstone research block… which I’ll be using to study for Step 2. It’s so beautiful how things worked out.

So, the million-dollar question – how has OUWB handled clerkships? My personal opinion: very well. As I’ve mentioned before, while OUWB is new, Beaumont is not new at training medical students. We did see a couple of changes as the year progressed, but nothing so major that it was detrimental to our clerkship experience. The way that clerkships run can be very dependent on the clerkship director and coordinator, so there is variability between each clerkship. But again, I’m happy.

One sad thing about being a 3rd year is that I barely know any of the 1st year students. [Hey, you guys! We don’t bite! Let’s chat about how OUWB has changed your curriculum!] While I met a few at the beginning of the year, I really don’t have very many opportunities to interact with the Class of 2017.

I think it’s important to mention that by clerkships do not 100% rule your life. Sure, you will make sacrifices in certain clerkships [surgery, pediatrics, ob/gyn and medicine], but the entire year isn’t made up of these 4 clerkships. You will ultimately decide your own priorities. I personally need to have extracurriculars to keep me motivated, so I have remained active in AMWA [I’m planning the 99th Annual Meeting!], continue to blog and have designed another wedding invitation suite. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to travel [I made a couple of trips to LA and that one big trip to London. And I plan on traveling to Washington D.C. for the AMWA conference I’m planning.] I still go to the gym at least a couple of times a week. And I have caught up with local friends, friends visiting from out of town and out of town friends via phone. So yes, I’m still living my life [don’t let any 3rd year lead you to believe that it’s impossible to have a life during 3rd year… I almost think that the first half of 4th year is going to be significantly worse since I’ll be doing away rotations, applications AND interviews… now that’s what I call stressful].

So what’s the verdict on life as an MS3? It’s absolutely wonderful.

Hopefully I’ll be back in less than 7 months time for another update.