For the last three years of medical school, I have looked forward to my fourth year. All the upper classmen make it seem like the greatest time of medical school. From what I gathered, it is supposed to be a magical land of constant sunshine and butterflies. And I can understand why. There are so many great milestones that we get to finally meet – like the day we decide our specialty, or the day we finish off Step 2, or the day we match, or even the day we graduate.
But, fourth year has a lot of tricky road blocks I didn’t expect. For example – doing away rotations. They sound pretty simple at first; just go to another school and do a rotation there to experience what a different hospital would be like. Easy-peezy…or not. You have to apply to several schools hoping they have space for you, upload 18 different health forms, get random documents approved/signed/notarized, do hours of online classes to make sure up you have the correct certifications necessary for each school, pay exorbitant prices just to submit the applications, and then just cross your fingers and hope that someone takes you. When you are finally accepted, you have anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months to figure out where to live for a month in a random state or country where you know no one. Oh! And you probably have an apartment near your current medical school – so you’ll have to also figure out how to sublet it (and don’t forget to make sure the new renter isn’t a serial killer).
But despite my complaints, it truly is an amazing opportunity; and one that we probably won’t ever be able to take advantage of again. So jump through the hoops, cross your fingers, and don’t stress out too much – fourth year seems like it’s going to be a blast.