Chronicles of a Med Student: Enjoy Every Moment of Med School

Last Updated on June 26, 2022 by Laura Turner

One of the things I enjoy most about writing this med school column is that I get to tell a unique story from a unique point of view. No two people will have the same set of experiences in med school, and I’m so glad I get to share mine. It helps me in two ways: I get to keep track of all of my crazy happenings, and I get to pause for a moment and reflect on all of them. Medical school, I’ve found, progresses so fast. Honestly, the nervous excitement I felt on my first day still lingers as though it happened yesterday. It has really flown by, and to quote some users on the forums section of the site, “residency will be here after what seems like the blink of an eye”. I’m not to residency yet obviously, but at the rate things are going, I have no evidence against this statement. It will probably be the fastest four years of my life (actually, only 3.5 now! See how quickly that went?). I’m still so used to replying to the question “So how many more years do you have left?” with 4. But it’s zipping by.
One of my worst fears is that I’ll wake up one day and it’ll be my first day of residency and I won’t know what I was up to for the last four years. Well, studying obviously, but I want to remember more than that. When I was in high school, I didn’t really care about fitting in with the “cool crowd.” I would go to school, hang out with my friends at lunch, come home and do lots of lots of AP classes’ worth of homework. College worked similarly, but since it wasn’t as structured as high school, I was able to stray a little more from my books and take in more of the non-academic things around me. Looking back, I’m conflicted, because I wish I had lived a little more. At the same time I know it was the hard work I put in back then that earned me my scholarships in college and my seat in medical school. But now I want to remember every little thing I did outside of studying and sitting in lectures. I want to remember that time last weekend when I went rock climbing with a friend and almost fell off. I want to remember how I enjoyed getting to know all of my classmates over a glass of wine. Five, ten, twenty years from now, I’m not going to remember the time I put into studying (because, you know I’ll try to repress that as much as possible), but rather the friends I made and the experiences I shared with them.
It’s really hard to keep track of all of these awesome happenings, but one way to start is to share your experiences with other people: family, old friends, or anyone who will listen (like you all so graciously willing to read what I have to say). Reflection is an important part of this process. I’m fairly sure I bore my family and friends with med school stories, and at times they probably want to tell me to be quiet but are too nice to do so. I also like to journal a lot. I learn quite a bit about myself and the coolest part is that I get to see my transformation from one point in time to another! I take a look back at my entries from 7th grade (when things were far less hectic) all through my most recent one. It’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown, in large ways and small ones. (For example, I never would have realized that I had gone from liking hot pink notebooks to plain college ruled ones if I hadn’t kept track of it all!) It’s really hard to do this on a day to day basis though. I make sure take some time to reflect so I can continue to grow and be a more well-rounded person! The further I get into school, the more I realize that it is truly about the experience as a whole. I don’t want to ruin that by focusing on school 24/7. I was a person before all of this craziness started, and I have to remind myself of that every so often. Writing about it helps me do just that!
About the Author
Adelle is a 1st year medical student who loves to hike, bake chocolate chip cookies, and doodle on the corners of papers.