Yes, I’m only one week out of my third year. And yes, the transition from 3rd to 4th year is unceremonial. But given that third year is probably one of the most challenging parts of medical school, I wanted to share a few pieces of advice that I picked up from the experience:
- Be shameless. Take on new patients, try new procedures, learn about cases regularly. You have to ask to do procedures and take on patients. The worst they can say is no.
- You may not always get recognition for your work, and that’s okay. They may gloss over your presentation or forget you even wrote patient notes. They don’t often think about your learning and development, and that’s okay. Know that the work you’re putting into your time on wards is benefiting you.
- At the beginning of your rotation, identify the goals you want to get out of the experience. Even (or especially) if you know you don’t want to go in that rotation. Hate surgery? Identify what you want to get out of the rotation so you can focus your time on those goals.
- For each rotation, treat it like it’s what you want to go into. But don’t lie to residents that you want to go into their field. If you know you aren’t going into psych, act like a psychiatrist for that rotation. You may have to use those skills later. Or, it’ll be the only time you’ll ever get to have that experience, so embrace it. Otherwise, you will be miserable.
- This you learn more throughout the year, but learn when to leave. Have to study for shelf? Ask to go study if your work is done. I spent most of my early rotations just sitting and waiting while my residents wrote notes, only to frantically study at night or on the weekends.
- Have social awareness. Know when to ask questions, and when to not. This is particularly important in the OR during a tough case.
- Don’t take feedback personally. It’s there to make you better. There will be many things you will struggle with. But you will get better. Even at the end of each week, you’ll notice yourself improving.
- Identify your non-medicine needs early and hold onto them. If you used to work out every day, keep that going as much as you can. If you like to cook, keep doing it. Otherwise, you will learn to regret medicine.
It’s a trying but rewarding year. And it’s very exhausting. These are my thoughts. What are other pieces of advice about making it through 3rd year?