Today was my first day of round two of M2 and as I sat through repeat classes I realized I can do this. While it’s certainly daunting, second year of medical school feels much more manageable this time around. I watched all my friends move on and progress in their studies, pass the first step of their board licensing exams, and their success gives me confidence.
I definitely feel a little awkward and disoriented coming back. Of the 150 students in the class I’ve joined, I know fewer than 10 of them. Only one of my classmates from the class of 2018 is joining me and we both know everyone is looking at us wondering who the new guys are.
This evening we had a panel of my former classmates, now a full year ahead of me and in their first clerkship. They answered questions and offered advice for the incoming second year class: how to succeed, stay healthy, pass classes, do well on the first board exam, stay alive, etc. But one of the questions at the end caught my attention.
“Did second year med school make you go insane?” the moderator of the discussion asked my classmates on the panel. My friends in front of us fell silent and seemed hesitant to answer the question. But one of them spoke up and acknowledged the first two months of M2 were really hard on him. He was overwhelmed by the task ahead of him but in hindsight he said it was manageable.
He kept his head above water. For better or worse I didn’t, so I took a hiatus. I ran around the country for ten months. I climbed some big mountains, went on some epic adventures, nearly got myself killed a couple times, helped keep a couple other people from getting themselves killed, made a little bit of money, met a girl, adopted some dogs, hung out with friends, made some new ones, and I’m in an infinitely better place now because of it all.
So this round, I’m announcing to the world, I know I can do this, but more importantly I want to do this. I got into med school for a reason. I am staying on top of my well-being and focusing singularly on keeping healthy and accomplishing a long term goal of becoming a successful physician. I’ve got two little pups who make me happy every day, a wonderful lady who keeps me grounded and secure, and friends who are aware of my disposition to seclusion and who aren’t going to let me get away with it.
The last year was extremely tumultuous. Looking at my Facebook history makes it look like an incredible adventure. And it certainly was. But no one goes to live in Colorado by themselves for three months in winter to climb 14,000 foot peaks without needing some serious introspection. And as glorious as all my exploits seem, it gets exhausting. So I’m happy to be back with a stable lifestyle in my home. I’m excited to learn, to see patients, to see my friends, and have a routine. Mostly I’m just excited to play with puppers every day though.