I took 9 days off over Thanksgiving break. While the rest of you were getting up at its-still-dark-out o’clock, I was snuggly, warm and fast asleep in my own bed.
I never thought that I would be so glad to return to the Boat House, but after almost three months away in Redding it was comforting to be among the familiar.
I sipped coffee in the mornings, and wine in the evenings. I answered emails, read two books, cooked dinner every night, saw a multitude of friends, had a dance party and hugged Roshelle whenever we passed each other in the hallway. Oh and Netflix….lots of Netflix.
The days passed quickly. Too quickly.
Nine days off was not enough to fill the deep void that being alone in Redding for three months has left. I didn’t realize that it would be so hard to be the only med student for miles around. I miss you guys. I knew not having you around me all of the time would be hard, but working with an extremely terrible attending who has a penchant for yelling and living with incredibly weird dental students makes things extra difficult.
Its hard to work at clinic all day and never once get told that I did a good job, or got a question right or showed empathy and understanding towards a patient. If this was KevinMD there would be a slew of comments that med students are too soft these days and we need to suck it up and we can’t expect a trophy for participating. Screw those people. They don’t know (or don’t remember) what it feels like to be a third year med student. I need to hear that I did at least one thing right every day. I just do—otherwise I go home and hate myself. And is it really that hard to be thrown a bone once and a while? We’re human and we’re trying. How about showing a little empathy to your med student every now and then.
And the thing is, we’re good. We’re so good. We want to help so badly. We care. We’re good people. We’re working as hard as we can. That matters. The rest will come with time. Being made to feel like terrible incompetent idiots just doesn’t pay. It doesn’t make for better doctors, it makes for burned out students who lay in bed at night and question whether they should have gone to med school in the first place. It drives us to have a secret fantasy about working in a little shop that sells soap and other sundries (just me?). If we are not going to be reminded that we can do this and that we are going to be good doctors—then we need to remind each other- every day, all the time.
I am so lucky to have such wonderful, smart, caring and capable classmates. When in doubt think about graduation day—its going to be here sooner than you think. We’ll come out the other side of this academic war, perhaps a little worse for wear, but still awesome, still good.
So where does that good feeling go? It didn’t go anywhere.
You’ve always had it.
And all you need to do to feel it, is remember that its there.
And if you can’t find it, we’ll be there to help you look.