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Goodbye: Looking back on four years of medical school

Somehow, time has passed, and this is my last entry on Stanford Medicine Unplugged.

It feels like just months ago that my classmates and I arrived on campus, only to pack our bags immediately and head off into the woods for our orientation camping trip. I remember seeing a baby bear, followed closely by its mother, and subsequently huddling in my tent with a fellow classmate, too afraid to venture back into the dark.

It feels like just weeks ago that we finished our pre-clerkship exams and hung out in front of the Li Ka Shing Center, enjoying the sunshine and one another’s company. It was soon after that we disappeared into our Step 1 study caves and emerged weeks later -- paler, thinner, and in some of the boys’ cases, hairier -- to start third year or take gap years.

It feels like just days ago that I started my very first clinical rotation and had no idea how to write an admission note or a discharge summary. To this day, I recall the kindness of the three residents who patiently walked me through every step of every day on that rotation, slowly molding my uncertainties into what, if you squinted, almost resembled confidence.

It feels like just this past weekend that I uploaded my personal statement and CV to ERAS, only to read and re-read my application obsessively before finally working up the courage to hit submit. How surreal it feels to be done with interviews, and to have matched.

It feels like just yesterday that I stood proudly beside my family at graduation, thrilled to be able to share this special day with them, to tell my dad that “Yes, there truly are no more tuition bills to be paid,” and to finally be able to add that “MD” to the end of my name.

As I think back on the past four years, I want to thank the audience of SM Unplugged for allowing me to share my journey through medical school, from the inaugural entry back in January 2014 to this final entry of mine, three and a half years later. You’ve given me the chance to reflect on both the highs and lows of medical school, and you’ve helped me remember what a privilege it is to be a physician, to see others in what are often the most vulnerable moments of their lives. Thank you so much.

Stanford Medicine Unplugged is a forum for students to chronicle their experiences in medical school. The student-penned entries appear on Scope once a week during the academic year; the entire blog series can be found in the Stanford Medicine Unplugged category.

Hamsika Chandrasekar recently graduated from Stanford’s medical school. 

Top photo by David Carreon; bottom photo by Neethi Venkateswaran

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