Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Next Stage

Wow.  Graduation is in less than a week.  In less than a week I'll have my MD.  And in a month from yesterday I'll start orientation for residency in a state across the country (at least it's not as far away as Alaska or Hawaii? lol).

The last 3 months have flown by.  It's like I blinked and I'm here.  Doesn't help that it's still a bit cold outside even now in May, haha.  I'm not sure I'm mentally ready for this next stage - for financial independence, for having a real job, for being responsible for the life (and death) of patients.  It's only in retrospect that I can appreciate how far I've come, but I've still got a ways to go in so many respects.

I was never one of those people who hurried to grow up.  In fact, just the opposite.  I did NOT want to grow up.  Childhood is so short, adulthood is so long and fraught with issues that no one else can solve but you.  Maybe this is part of the reason why I'm doing pediatrics, who knows.

At these critical junctions I find myself reflecting in nostalgia - what would and could have been if my life had taken a different path.  What if I decided to take a year off and complete my MPH?  What if I decided not to pursue medicine?  What if, instead of being paralyzed in fear and confusion, I had decided to date her in undergrad?  What if I had decided to come out to my parents?

I have little regret in the things I have done.  I only regret the things I haven't done or haven't been able to do.  They say that medicine is one of the ultimate delayed gratifications.  You spend the majority of your 20s studying your ass off, working long hours, often putting life and health on hold.  This continues (or perhaps worsens) in residency, and in the blink of an eye, you're in your 30s.

It's okay though.  There's still some of my 20s left.  Sure I may not have much time off each year, but that just makes each day off that much more precious.  With my salary, with my own money, I will have the ability to do many of the things I want without having to consider the debt looming over my head (which will get paid off in time).  And with the new duty hour limits of 80 hours/week, I may even have time to develop a social life if I'm efficient.

So it's alright, I can't stop the flow of time just as much as I can't reverse it.  I have just begun creating a bucket list and I'll be damned if I'm unable to do every one of those items!  This wasn't the post I originally meant to write, but here you have it.  Sorry for the scattered thoughts.


R said...

I thought of all the exact same things as you wrote when I graduated and started working! It's crazy.. I suppose I'm slightly 'luckier' since I still have half of my twenties left, but still - so much of the time I feel like I've thrown away my younger years for medicine. But that's the way it is, and I knew of it before I made the decision.

David Jeffreys said...


Thanks for sharing your experiences along the road through medical school, and I look forward to your residency posts.

(alias uncutplus)

Gill "Biki" Honko said...

Congrats! It is the oddest feeling to suddenly realize that one is an adult. It has its upsides and down, but on the whole is quite nice.

When you relocate to your new city, think quite hard about moving as close to your work as possible. Maybe even close enough to walk to work. That way each day you'll have some time outside, and its a good way to unwind on the way home.

naturgesetz said...

So by now you're a genuine M.D. Congratulations!

It hardly seems possible that it has come so soon. I'm sure the residency will fly by too. I look forward to hearing how that goes.

Good luck.