A new beginning
by Lorien E. Menhennett
Today I enter a new chapter in my medical school journey: clerkships. This is where, as they say, the rubber meets the road. This is why I came to medical school, why I wanted to become a doctor. I wanted to work with patients — not sit in a classroom and study all day long. So this is a thrilling transition. Scary too, because new things are scary. But mostly exciting.
I start with six weeks of OB/GYN. It’s divided up into chunks of time where I learn specific aspects of this specialty. My six weeks are as follows: two weeks of gynecology, a week of maternal fetal medicine (high-risk obstetrics), two weeks on labor and delivery (a week each of daytime and nighttime work), and a week in the ambulatory clinic. I don’t know much more of the specifics yet — today is our orientation, so soon I’ll have a better idea of how things will play out. Our workday is about 12 hours (give or take a little), so this will be an intense six weeks. I’ll try to update here as I can.
A brief update on my Step 1 saga too: It’s not quite over. I was scheduled to take my exam on Friday, Feb. 10, but we had a snowstorm the day before. The people running the testing center decided that this was cause to close their doors both Thursday and Friday. So I’ve been rescheduled to take my exam this coming Wednesday, Feb. 15, just across the border in New Jersey. I was so ready to be done with Step 1, so this was very frustrating. But I made the best of it, and still enjoyed my last weekend before clerkships. I took a trip to Dō, a shop that sells incredible flavors of cookie dough (made with pasteurized eggs so you can eat it), as well as to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. So much of the last six weeks has been me at my desk, staring at either my review book or my computer screen. So getting out and enjoying the city was a much needed change of scenery.
This drama with my test date, while frustrating, does relate to medicine, I realized. It reminded me that control is an illusion, that it’s important to be able to go with the flow, because things can change at any moment. This is true in life in general, and I know it will also be true as I start clerkships. My mom shared with me a saying that captures this perfectly: “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.”