Towards the end of April, the second year class is hosted to our annual Transition Ceremony. This is when we are considered to have finished our preclinical curriculum, and now we have transitioned into our clinical years. This is scary since all of us are still studying for Step 1 and are so focused on passing the exam.
We heard from upperclassmen, from residents, and from our professors, all who shared sage wisdom about how to survive the long hours (nap even when you don’t want to), what to put in your pockets (granola bars), and how to listen to your patients (with both ears). But one unique analogy shared to us was this: identify your siren song. In The Odyssey, Odysseus travels by sea and wants to hear the beautiful sound of the sirens, a sound that will drive you crazy. So he asks his crew members to tie him to the mast of his ship so he can enjoy the sound without causing any harm.
Since we live in rural New Hampshire, nowhere near the sea, I don’t see myself being tied to any ship. But, for me, the metaphor for our clinical years is this: there will be parts of the clinical experience that will drive you crazy, and that will push you to be overworked and exhausted. But that there is beauty in it. And also, to identify what will push you to the edge, quick. And to find the right resources that will keep you sane throughout the process.
So for anyone out there who has gone through the clinical experience, what has kept you sane and happy throughout the process? Running, cooking, yoga, a specific patient interaction? I’d love to hear.