The Year of Privilege: A New Perspective on Third Year

During my pediatrics clerkship, one of our core faculty gave a lecture during orientation. This orientation lecture was particularly good, as the professor giving it was one of our most-loved faculty members who is deeply in tune with medical students at all stages. This was back in the summer when we were just getting started with our clinical experiences, but what he said stuck with me all year. He noted with a bit of humor that third-year medical students are the lowest of the low—barely even acknowledged by many team members, ignored by some patients who refuse to talk to anyone but a “real doctor,” disregarded by residents unless it is to point out something you are doing wrong. We chuckled, already able to relate with this view, but he turned the conventional description on its head by encouraging us to think of the third year of medical school as “the year of privilege.”

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