6th Year MSTP
University of Michigan
Post #3 of the "Back to the Wards" series focusing on the transition from research years back to the medical school and clinical rotations.
As I contemplate returning to the medical school and starting my clinical
rotations, I’ve come up with a few strategies along the way to calm myself down
and turn my anxiety into anticipation. These include reminding myself of how
much support I will have over the next few months to regain my clinical
skills, evaluating potential sequences of rotations to maximize early learning
but minimize early embarrassment in front of future colleagues (by choosing to
start with a field I don’t plan to call my career), and spending time with my
resident/doctor friends, who all assure me that I will be fine and that no one
will remember my first few awkward weeks/months on the wards. The strategy I’ve
been using most during the last few weeks, however, is looking forward by
looking past. I’ve been motivating myself to gear up for the third year of
medical school by contemplating potential away rotations, research experiences,
and vacations I would like to take during my fourth year of medical school.
Although I have come up with a volume that would not fit into another four years
of medical school, much less a single year, the process of thinking about what
comes after the exhausting, but hopefully rewarding ordeal of third year makes
thinking about that exhausting ordeal a little bit easier.
I really embraced this strategy at the American Public health
Association Annual Meeting in Denver earlier this month. As I prepared for
my own presentation, I worked hard to attend the presentations of other scholars
in my field, to introduce myself afterward, and to a few with interesting
research or clinical connections, suggest the possibility of an away rotation in
a unique clinic or a scholarly collaboration on a project that would extend my
dissertation research. Honestly, until I was at the conference and sitting in a particularly inspiring session, I hadn’t thought much about the next big transition after
PhD-years to MD-years: school to the “real world.” As scary as it might seem to
think about finally leaving the happy bubble of Ann Arbor and my alma mater, it
was exciting to think about what is coming next. I think that holding on to the
exciting possibilities beyond my clinical rotations just may get me through the
worst of it.