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Countdown to clinics: The 5 best things about jumping into third year

SMS (“Stanford Medical School”) Unplugged was recently launched as a forum for students to chronicle their experiences in medical school. The student-penned entries appear on Scope once a week; the entire blog series can be found in the SMS Unplugged category.  

cake2Here at SMS Unplugged, we’ve been counting down to July 1, when current second-year medical students make the leap from pre-clinical to clinical trainees – arguably the most formative transition in medical training. We started our countdown with the most challenging aspects of the third year transition, and continued with the most pleasant surprises. Now that the long-awaited day is finally here, we present the final installment in this series: the best parts about jumping into third year.

5. Reclaiming your mornings
The silver lining of early mornings on the wards is the moment around noon every day when you realize that you and your team have completed almost a full day’s work. Of course the day is only half over, but still: Third year will make you into an early-morning All-Star (whether you like it or not).

4. Medicine as a survey course
As difficult as it is to start an entirely new rotation every few weeks, there’s something to be said for being a ‘chameleon’: blending in wherever you go, sampling a little bit of everything and entering each rotation open-minded. Hate suturing wounds? Don’t worry, surgery rotation will be over soon. Had second thoughts and can’t wait to get back to the operating room? Good news – it’s only a matter of time until a surgery elective comes around.

3. Delivering babies
Each rotation has its own highlights, but obstetrics and gynecology takes the (birthday) cake. Even those of us who are headed toward a different specialty can always look back and say our hands helped to guide a new life into the world.

2. Everything is interesting
For all the agonizing about picking a specialty, there’s another side of the coin: When everything is interesting, it’s hard to go wrong by picking one over the others. And for those who truly can’t make up their minds, there are fields like Emergency Medicine that still see everything.

1. Finally doing what you signed up for
After two years of studying for and taking an endless array of multiple-choice tests, it’s time to start doing what you signed up for: seeing real patients with very real needs. One of our professors would start morning rounds every day by saying, “Let’s go save some lives!” He was only half joking.

To all the new third-year students out there: Congratulations and welcome to clinical rotations!

Mihir Gupta is a third-year medical student at Stanford. He grew up in Minnesota and attended Harvard College. Prior to writing for Scope, Mihir served as co-editor in chief of H&P, Stanford medical school’s student journal.

Previously: Countdown to clinics: 5 pleasant surprises of jumping into third year and Countdown to clinics: 7 challenges of jumping into third year
Photo by Kimberly Vardeman

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