This post is embarrassingly overdue. Especially given the fact that I’ve been done with classes since the end of March. Don’t judge me.
Anyway, my last ever class of medical school was called “Preparation for Internship.” It was mostly lecture-based, reminiscent of my first 18 months as a medical student. Faculty and residents taught us practical things about topics such as writing orders, approaching chest pain, and transitioning from full-time learners to part-time teachers. Standardized patients helped us learn about ways to deal with drug-seeking patients or to gain informed consent for procedures. We also had review sessions to practice components of the physical exam that are often deemed tricky by medical students. Much of these 4 weeks offered a great review, but I was honestly a bit shocked about how much I had forgotten over 4 years and how much I would still need to learn and retain as a resident physician.
On the first Friday of March, the fourth years got together for our final class retreat. Many of us hadn’t seen each other in several months or even longer, so it was good to be able to reconvene as a unit. During the day, we reflected on our experiences as students. We were even shown the personal statements we had written when we initially applied to medical school. After having served on the admissions committee during this past cycle and seen some very masterfully written essays, I was a bit embarrassed; I felt that I could have done a better job writing about myself back then! In any case, it was quite interesting to see how my perceptions of the medical field and my role in it have evolved since then. After looking back on where we’d all come, we looked ahead, spending some time talking about logistics for graduation and also crafting the class oath that will be recited during the ceremony. At the end of the day, we had a small pre-Match Day celebration during which classmates swapped both embarrassing and triumphant stories about the interview trail for gift cards.
And then came Match Day. On Monday, March 14, I got the news that I’d matched into one of the 5 psychiatry residency programs I’d ranked back in February. On Friday, March 18, toward the end of the Match Day Ceremony, after sitting through several speeches, celebrations, songs, and baby pictures, I opened my envelope and learned that I had matched at Vanderbilt–my top choice. I kept it together while I was on stage (people said that I seemed really happy when I read the name), but as soon as I sat back down, I cried tears of joy and relief. And the photographer got a picture of me crying and posted it online with the rest of the pictures. But she’s awesome, so I forgive her. I was especially happy because my grandmother got to see me match for her birthday.
The next day was Cadaver Ball at Marathon Music Works–what may have been my last (residents usually don’t go). This year’s theme and many of the videos were based on Saturday Night Live. The a cappella group performed on the big stage for the first time, and I also got to do a dance routine with some of the other 4th years.
About a week later, I went with several other Vanderbilt students to Austin, TX, for the Student National Medical Association’s national conference. The focus for this year was on mental health disparities, so they had several workshops and talks geared toward that topic. Additionally, they had practical advice for pre-meds, medical students, and residents about various points of interest (how to suture, how to study for the MCAT, what to consider when opening a private practice, etc). There were also recruitment fairs for current medical students to learn about residency programs, as well as fairs for pre-med students to learn about medical schools. Of course, I spent quite a bit of time getting to know some of the other students from Vanderbilt and other schools, and we explored the city some while we were there. One of my favorite moments was during the banquet on the final night, when the graduating students were awarded with SNMA stoles and pins and invited to join the National Medical Association. Hearing the names of so many other underrepresented minorities on the cusp of becoming physicians, and standing with them to take a picture was both refreshing and overwhelming in the best way possible.
So that’s my long-overdue update for March. I’m graduating 2 days from now, at which point I will update you on the time in between. If you’d like to watch the ceremony on or after May 13, click here. Get excited! I am!!