Almost every person I talk has given this singular piece of advice about the fourth year of medical school: take time off before residency starts. Prior to starting fourth year, I had thought of this year as my last year to cram everything clinically related that I would never get to see ever again. However, since I’m going into family medicine, I will definitely be able to experience many parts of medicine and even surgery again, so I’m not too worried that I’ll be missing out if I don’t do some sort of clinical elective every block. The best part of this year is being able to be a true student without the confines of too many tests and grades that carry a lot of weight; I can actually take the principle of lifelong learning and apply it with the less restricted time that I have. Nevertheless, I am planning for that vacation after match day…I need some time off before the real training begins!
As for the stuff in fourth year that is slightly on the road less traveled, I want to be more creative and enrich my life with things that I have always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten around to for the past few years. I want to go out of my comfort zone and be challenged by things unknown to me. I want to attend concerts put on by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. I want to attend more culture and food festivals, especially those at the 17th Street Farmer’s Market. I want to watch ballets, plays, and operas. I want to learn how to knit and maybe even make myself a fuzzy hat. I want to be able to hold conversations in Spanish and I want to learn how to code, even if it’s something simple, but I’ll be proud of it because I figured it myself.
In the words of Marina Keegan, “we are so young.” At the cusp between finishing medical school and starting residency, the possibilities are endless. Despite all my years of schooling, there is still so much more to see, do, and learn.