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I had a somewhat eye-opening experience yesterday. I had just gotten back into Ann Arbor the night before and, in typical fashion, already had the day booked solid with appointments, errands, visits, etc. A good chunk of those things were at the hospital, and so I found myself there despite not formally starting back to work until Monday. I initially felt kind of bummed to be back in all honesty. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself “burned out,” but it really is exhausting having to be “on” all the time (at least for a closet introvert such as myself). The truth of the matter is that, as medical students, we’re constantly being evaluated by our superiors. At best, it can get a little old. At worst, it can drive you into a neurotic frenzy. I find myself somewhere in the middle ground between the two, perhaps a smidge closer to the frenzy end. Even so, simply being in the hospital felt more like coming home than it ever has. It felt like a reminder that all this grading hullabaloo is only temporary and worth enduring.

It ALMOST made me forget about the 2000 dollars I just spent registering for Step 2 examinations. Almost.

I’m getting ready to start the last of the M3 core rotations: Pediatrics. I’ve got a lot of things to mentally prepare myself for, such as catching every upper respiratory infection known to man, having the fact that I have no idea how babies work exposed in front of a bunch of experienced parents, not absolutely embarrassing myself should I run into someone in a Star Wars costume, and so on. It’s going to be rough.

omgomgomgomgomg (Play it cool, Stef, PLAY. IT. COOL.)

I am, however, very much looking forward to having an excuse to act like a total goober while on the job. (I’m building rapport with the patient, DUH.) I’m hoping to get some reticent tweenage boys and win them over with talk of video games. I’m also hoping that I’ll manage to finish out strong rather than succumbing to the finish line effect because wow is it difficult to focus when such a huge milestone is within reach.

Since I last wrote, I’ve decided that I definitely want to do a research year and I’m currently working on finding myself a lab. It sort of feels like a blast from the past, harkening back to my M1 experience trying to find an SBRP mentor for my summer research. Of course, this time the stakes are a wee bit higher. Aside from the obvious difference of duration, I’ve really got to be able to show something for my time (read: get published, preferably more than once) and I also need someone who is going to be ok with my schedule being a little flexible to allow for clinical exploration. It’s not exactly the easiest thing to ask: “Hi, I need you to get me into fancy journals and also let me do what I want. Kay thanks!” It’s also not ideal that the first chance I really had to sit down and start contacting people was over the holidays, when said people were likely off doing things other than obsessively checking their email. (I was playing video games AND obsessively checking my email.) Things worked out wonderfully in the case of my SBRP mentor; I just have to believe that it will happen again and keep plugging away!