Last Monday morning, Carley drove up to my house and handed me a pink T-shirt. The back read, “Camp CU SOM” and featured an image of a fire amongst the trees. We were headed for Estes Park, Colorado where we would help welcome 184 new students to the first phase of their medical education.
Contrast orientation from this year to last year and you get a different impression. Nervous, anxious, doubting and self-conscious are all words that you could use to describe me 365 days ago. This year, I was excited, relaxed and carefree. It was refreshing to catch up with classmates after 9 weeks, knowing that we had made it this far; we are MS2’s [medical student, year 2].
As time passes and we reach these arbitrary milestones, it’s comforting to know that we’ve successfully made it over some of the hurdles. I’m not saying that we’ve done it all cleanly. There have been a few times when I’ve crashed hard into the ground, stood up and brushed it off. There will be a few scars by the time medical school is over. Maybe a few extra lines in the furrow of my brow from the late nights in the library and early mornings in lecture, but you know, we made it past anatomy.
At orientation, I looked around at all of the new faces, knowing that people were nervous, anxious, doubting and self-conscious. I felt for them, but I also felt relieved that I wasn’t in their shoes anymore.
Today, on my first day of the second year, I spilled coffee on myself in the car. Then I walked into the full lecture hall and was immediately overwhelmed by all of the people. I felt alone and short of breath. What happened to the confidence from only one week ago?
Today, on my first day of the second year, I spilled coffee on myself not once, but three times. Is that a sign for the year to come?
Phase 2 is a doozy of a year. We start off with the Nervous System, before moving on to Digestive, Endocrine, Metabolism. Finishing with Life Cycle, Infectious Disease and a 7-week dedicated study period.
This morning I was humbly reminded of the hurdles still out there on the course. Turns out, being a year further in medical school doesn’t mean I’m any less nervous, anxious, or self-conscious.
I’ve decided to write myself a mantra to meditate on this year. A simple reminder of where I have come from and where I want to be in 9 months.
This year will be marked by fearlessness and perseverance. This year will continue to be about showing up and leaning into the challenge of being present. This year we will dare to dream a little bigger and set our sights a little higher.
I challenge you to take a look at your life – Where have you been? Where are you going? Who will you be in 9 months?