TransitionsOne great thing about being in a smaller program within a larger medical school class is how incredibly supportive and helpful the students are. Yesterday, we had a little question and answer session for PSTP students about the transition to the third year of medical school. Obviously, there are sessions about this with the entire medical school, but it's nice to get the inside scoop and uncensored opinions while eating food in someone's livingroom. Though I know I've got quite a long way to go before 3rd year, it was incredibly helpful in terms of knowing what to expect, how to fit in PSTP requirements with the different pathways, etc. As PSTP students, we are exempted from certain requirements (in order to allow for a flexible start time in the 3rd year), and are required to do a senior research project in the 4th year.
Having these little get togethers to talk about experiences in the different stages of our education is rather common in my program. In the fall, we have a careers retreat, where students, residents, fellows, and faculty talk about their experiences with md/phd training, and how we can prepare for things down the line.
I must admit that it is a little intimidating how much work and time the 3rd and 4th year of medical school entails. Is it really more work than being a 1st year, or a grad student trying to finish in 3 years? It may not, depending on the person. As someone who needs a good 8.5 hours of sleep, and some downtime, I know it will be a challenge for me. But despite the complaints about the hours, the subjective nature of rotations, and terrible residents, it was clear that they loved every minute.
One thing is clear though. I need to work on my ability to be proactive and ask for things. I've never been one to ask for favors or specific treatment, but I really had no idea how important it is to be a bit outspoken in your rotations in order to get the most out of the experience.