|this photo was taken on my gap year travelling in Ghana the year before medical school|
Dear 1st Year Me,
First of all, congratulations! You’ve finally done it, your determination, energy and drive got you this far, they’re going to see you through med school.
Stop worrying, stop feeling inept and inadequate, it’s okay…. most all of your comrades feel the same. Calm down, breathe and start enjoying things. This is it!
A few pieces of sage advice, don’t get that drunk at Halloween, the next day isn’t even worth it, one of your DPaC tutors is going to black list you but going to Natalie’s mum’s funeral, so much more important.
There’s going to be so much that you didn’t expect, embrace this and don’t whine so much. Medicine is an education in life, and the science bit. You’ll pick that up super quick, the feeling of being overwhelmed won’t be going away anytime soon. Learn to master it.
Don’t be filled with distain, everything being asked of you is for a reason, you might not realise it now but it will help and stand you in good stead. You’re going to encounter good teachers, brilliant teachers and teachers that will frustrate you. World class physicians are going to teach you and their wisdom is inspirational (Even if their power point looks like something out of the 90s!)
Learn to share more, don’t be so competitive, everyone has their strengths and for the start you need to guide and help but they’re going to shine too.
Learn how to learn again, medicine is a different kettle of fish and driving yourself into the ground trying to know everything about everything isn’t achievable. It’s about systematic approaches and pattern recognition over fact learning.
The profession you are preparing to enter is fluid, go with the flow and accept your feedback ain’t always going to sing from the same hymn sheet but that’s okay and it’s fun.
Keep trying your hardest, if you’re doing your best that’s all that’s wanted. Enjoy your successes more, you deserve it! Don’t beat yourself up over the exam grades in first year, they’re amazing, and most importantly not the be all and end all of this degree. Knowing that your patients come first and that you’ll be a safe, secure and confident doctor out trumps that elusive online A grade.
you won’t be able to do everything, you can’t and it’s okay. It’s going to land you in a bit of trouble so beware, you’re resilient and will get through things.
The next few years are going to be a roller coaster (I know you don’t like these and scream you head off) but go ahead. Trust your judgement, be patient, be professional, be kind and be yourself.
An older and wiser you….