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Lessons for Medical School

Today, hordes of brand new First Years arrive on our campus. Wild-eyed and bushy-tailed, I wonder if they hear the seniors murmuring, “Run now, while you still can.”

It was not too long ago that I was there… three years ago, I was a scared little kid, stepping into a world where the maturing process would be escalated far beyond my then-eighteen years.

Tomorrow, I will be giving the newbies and their parents a speech. I’m still trying to polish it, but I know that it must be short: I remember close to nothing of the Chairperson’s speech in my first year.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would have liked to hear as a vulnerable (and gullible) little first year.

There are many things… but one thing sticks out:

Medicine will take so much from you. It makes you study longer and later than most of your friends. It works your fingers to the bone, literally. It places you at physical and psychological risk. It shows you things that the human psyche is not equipped to understand.

Medicine will take so much from you: cling to your little bits of individuality.

Cling to those things that make you, you. Cling to the things that remind you who you are.

I have a bright pink stethoscope – and who’s business is that? I like the colour and it makes me happy. It appears to make my patients happy too.

You want a neon stethoscope? Get one – make the decisions that remain fully yours.

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