Hello and happy fall! It’s actually starting to feel like fall now. The mornings are chilly, and the heat feels much less oppressive. I saw a few leaves changing colors, and there is apple cider everywhere. I love it so much. Fall also means that we’re halfway done with rotations. We had an intersession week three weeks ago that marked the halfway point. I can’t believe that the year is flying by so quickly, but I’m also very excited for what is to come next year.
I admit that it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted an update. It turns out that being on the wards and studying for shelf exams is decently time consuming. However, I’ll try to bring things back up to speed.
Last time that I wrote, I was starting my surgery rotation. After the initial shock wore off, I really enjoyed surgery, despite the very long days. I learned how to sew and throw knots, and I touched a carotid artery. I learned anatomy much better than I learned it the first time around, and I saw the inside of a living, breathing person. These are amazing privileges, and I try to always remember that my training is also a privilege, especially on those 4am mornings.
Next up was family medicine. It was a rather short rotation at three weeks long, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved the variety throughout the day, as we saw everyone from children to senior citizens. The scope of family practice is astounding, and every day was different. I spent my time at the Chelsea clinic site, and it was a great experience. The public health part of me really enjoyed the focus on preventive medicine, and I just really enjoyed my time on family med.
After family med was another quick three-week rotation: neurology. We spent a week each on three different services, and I spent time on consults, inpatient, and pediatric neurology. The brain is an absolute black box, and it was great to learn a little piece of the mystery. I was a little scared of the rotation after our M2 neurology block, but it ended up being pretty great to see the things that we learned M2 year applied to patient care.
Now, I’m on obstetrics and gynecology, which we generally shorten to ob/gyn. In my three weeks on service, I’ve scrubbed into gyn surgeries, spent time in gyn onc clinic, spent time in ambulatory clinic helping with pre- and post-natal visits, and watched several births. Labor and delivery is the most emotional setting I’ve worked in so far. There is every kind of emotion, and I admit that watching parents cry joyful tears over seeing their babies for the first time made me a bit sniffly too. I have one more week on ob/gyn, and I am excited to see what it brings.
That was a whirlwind tour of the last couple months. I’ve been pushed and stretched in many ways, and I know there is only more of that to come. Despite the fact that there are good days and bad days, rotations that I like more and rotations that I like less, it is an incredible privilege to be able to learn in this setting. I want to take a moment to thank the patients who allow us to learn. I know that every patient I see has made a conscious choice to let a student see him or her, and I thank them for allowing me to speak to them, examine them, and learn. Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to make them proud.
There we have it. We’re halfway done with the core rotations of third year, and it’s October. For me, it seems like time is moving much too quickly. However, a lot has happened during the past few months. I’ve learned a lot (but definitely still have so much more to learn…), and I’ve started to figure out what I may be interested in doing as a specialty (and if nothing else, I have definitely crossed a thing or two off the list). It turns out that sometimes life is surprising, and sometimes the last thing you thought you’d ever do may be the one thing you can’t stop thinking about. I still have a few months to decide, but I’m definitely experiencing warm fuzzy feelings toward a certain specialty. We’ll see if it ends up being the one I choose.
However, I don’t have to make any decisions today, so for now, I’m going to enjoy the last bits of summer and the beginning of fall. I hope that you do the same. As always, thanks for reading, and until next time, spend some time outside and have some apple cider for me.
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Angelica is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. When she’s not on the wards, you can find her on a run around Ann Arbor or passionately discussing medicine and public health over tea.