Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moving on, when everyone else is moving out…

Graduation is such an exciting time. After match day, when everyone finds out what that magical algorithm has in store for them for the next stage of their lives, most of the fourth years have a fairly easy coast to graduation. They need the rest to prepare for the internship that starts relatively shortly thereafter! Watching my class walk across the stage was really inspiring, realizing that they are actually doctors now, and will be residents in a few short weeks. It was also inspiring in another way - I’m ready to move on too! Unlike the other bloggers who’ve been here for four years, I won’t be graduating this year. As an MD/PhD student, it’s likely that I have another 4 years left before anyone will be calling me doctor. I’m certainly not the only one - there are lots of other MSTPs, and the other folks who took 1-2 years off for an MPH, MBA, MPP, an international internship, or a variety of other reasons (research and babies being the two that come immediately to mind) were all sitting in the seats with me, cheering on our classmates as they walked up the stairs, “got hooded” (I swear that’s what people say) with their green velvet-lined hoods, had their names called (“Dr. So-and So”), and accepted a diploma. “But isn’t it depressing?” you ask, as you realize how much time I have left, noting perhaps as I have, that I will be an M3 with this year’s incoming class.

In truth, it’s not depressing. Match day was a little rough, as it became increasingly clear that there was no way to head out to some exciting new place until I finished what I’d started, but since then I’ve been reflecting on why I’m still here. I was certain that I wanted to do this, as were most of the other folks who’ve gotten other degrees, spent substantial time doing research, or had babies. Though that certainty is invariably tested with statements along the lines of “if only I hadn’t [insert whatever here] I would be a doctor today,” overall I haven’t done much questioning. Graduation fell right in the middle of prelims, and a little circumspection was just what I needed. I realized that I really love what I’m doing, but that I want to be as efficient as possible so that I can keep going with the plan, and with my life. Notice I didn’t say “get going” or “get started,” but rather “keep going.” I think most of us who’ve taken time off would tell you that we’re not putting off getting started, we’re just running a longer race.

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