White Coat Woes

“Hi, I’m student doctor James, nice to meet you. What brings you in today?”

I never really intended on blogging, but after starting a maybe-kinda-sorta-project on Instagram a few months ago, I decided to chronicle my adventures in medical school. I have no intentions of being famous from this, I just want to share my story (but with the way my student loans are looking, that actually wouldn’t be so bad). Though I initially intended my IG account to be a superficial collection of lifestyle posts, OOTDs, and awesome food, it soon became apparent that I needed to do more. While I believe my IG account will continue to stay as it is, I hope to use this to share more detail: thrift store hauls, style tips for the sartorially inclined, an awesome meal I’ve had, advice and fears about medical school for premeds and fellow medical students. I also hope you all can share with me, even if I only have 5 followers. So, let me start off with my first few months of medical school.

Like many of you premeds and med students out there, this is a goal that I’ve worked toward for the majority of my academic life. It’s interesting being back at square one, especially after being so laser-focused on getting into med school for over 10 years. It’s humbling (yet funny), going from knowing nothing to still knowing nothing, but about different stuff. I’m adjusting well both academically and socially, but to be honest, I’m still uncomfortable in my white coat. I just don’t feel like I’ve earned it yet.

Before my white coat ceremony I thought it was nice that my school waited until after our first exam to don us with the symbol of our profession (although if I had to change one thing, maybe it wouldn’t have been directly after our exam that morning). In contrast to some of my peers at other schools, I thought “yeah, I’ve earned the right to wear this.” I was right, kind of.

Since then, I’ve demonstrated proficiency on two exams in genetics, biochemistry, physiology and most undergraduate science majors combined and condensed into two months. I’ve had simulated office encounters on standardized patients and had the opportunity to become part of the healthcare team in our student-run free clinic. I’ve rotated through different departments in the hospital (OR, IM, Peds, OB/GYN, ICU, ED) and contributed my knowledge as a healthcare professional in laboratory medicine. And yet, I’m still unsure. Our professors tell us all the time how different our school is, how special our class is, how they wish they had received same the immersive, integrative training when they were in school. I try not to take this experience for granted, I’m in a special place after all. But, and I think this is the first time I’m admitting this, I’m actually terrified.

It’s amazing how quickly the nagging monsters of self-doubt come back to haunt you after you thought you’ve laid them to rest, especially when you’re caring for a real, live person. I just want to do good by them, by all of them. The ones I’ve seen and have yet to see. I just want to be a good doctor. I see the M3s and M4s walking into patient rooms, talking to them with confidence and assuredness, impressing the attendings and residents with their knowledge. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, we’re only a few months into school after all. We’ll all get there soon, call me impatient.

WELL. Hopefully that wasn’t too much of a downer. I hope to keep this blog relatively light, but I don’t want to be afraid to tackle real issues if they come up. Thanks for reading, everyone.

Come back soon for your refill,

– TS℞

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