Almost three years ago, I remember leaving my research job and receiving a copy of First Aid for USMLE as a going-away present from my coworkers (being absolutely clueless as to what the significance of this book was). After several weeks of the best time with family and friends, I packed my Honda Accord with as much as I could fit and drove the 16 hours to medical school. I had no idea what the next four years would entail but I thought for sure that it was going to be a long journey. Yet, somehow fourth-year has already arrived!
It is mind-blowing to me that I have reached this point in my medical school career already. We were always told that second year and Step 1 would be the hardest hoops to jump through but nobody warned us what May of third-year would entail. From finishing rotations, taking shelf exams, scheduling audition rotations, passing OSCEs and COMSAE (practice board exam), preparing our residency applications, and studying for Step 2, May has been quite a busy month.
I think what scares me the most about fourth-year is the fear of the unknown. For the first two years of medical school, we knew our goal was to study for class exams and Step 1. During third-year, it was all about getting through rotations and doing well on our evaluations and shelf exams. As for fourth-year, the goal is so much bigger. What do we want to do for the rest of our lives? Where do we want to be for the next several years?
I know where I’ll be for my audition rotations and I know what specialty I want, but will I succeed? Will I be happy? I guess we’ll find out.