“Qualities you need to get through medical school and residency: Discipline. Patience. Perseverance. […] Unfailing optimism that the end is in sight.” – Khaled Hosseini

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And just like that, medical school is over. The end of my 12 hour overnight ED shift serves also as the end of my clinical duties as a medical student. ✌🏿 Like woah – how crazy town is that?

These past four years have been equal parts informative and irritating; beautiful and bothersome. I was asked if I would do this all again. I hesitated and then said “yes, but I’m glad I don’t have to….let’s just keep this thing moving.” And I meant (and still mean) it.

Real talk: medical school isn’t easy. I won’t downplay it. Hours spent in the library were by no means the most challenging. These were the moments I found difficult: 1) when the patient who referred to me as his “adopted granddaughter” handed me his cell phone and asked me to explain metastatic multiple myeloma to his daughter because he “never learned how to speak coherently while crying,” 2) when my first adult patient passed away, 3) when my first pediatric patient passed away, 4) each time a patient shares his/her trauma history, 5) when a patient tells me nobody has ever /really/ listened before, and I could go on forever.

I am grateful (of course) for my family and my friends. I feel like I never say this enough: they deserve medals for being so supportive of this absentee daughter/sister/friend.

And what I need to say but can’t reasonably put into words: I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to learn from my patients, the privilege of being trusted with the most intimate of secrets, and the chance to see the spectrum of the human experience. The conversations about how racism, homophobia, and transphobia negatively impact the experience of POC and LGBTQ+ individuals in the healthcare system were impactful. The conversations about how to move past personal trauma were restorative. The times we linked hands to pray together changed my life. And when you said I can share your stories to help people and patients who were experiencing similar feelings of grief, pain, and hardship – you launched a series of stories and articles and reignited a part of me that was lost long ago.

Forever indebted. Incredibly humbled. Entirely exhausted. Time for a nap.

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