When I woke up this morning, I realized something. Today, exactly one year ago, I stepped into our teaching hospital, got a white coat, and started my rotations. It may sound very cliche, and it might be, but that moment really seems ages ago.
When I now walk through the academic hospital and bump into younger students, they say “you’re a fourth year, right?”. Then I realize that I am. I actually hadn’t realized that before, that I am in my last year of my masters. The year of rotations really is a big, big hill, and I’ve gone over it. I have made my way through the jungle, cutting away the branches that were holding me back. It’s a metaphor that actually fits. I’ve had difficult times during my rotations, especially in the first four dark months. I really got to know myself, how I stand towards others, how I deal with things, and people. I learned in what settings I thrive, and in which I get blocked. I have felt stuck many times, but I have also felt revelations when I got myself past that bump. I have learned to stand up for myself, to not let authority figures misuse you as an intern, to know my value and to let others know my value. I have grown to be a stronger person.
It has been an emotional roller coaster also in another way. For years, I dreamed of becoming a reconstructive surgeon. And during my rotations, I felt so at home in the OR. I never felt more capable than when holding a scalpel or when stitching the wound. However much I was nervous during my assistance in the skin transplantation or when I was allowed to perform a tonsillectomy on my own, my hands were steady. I got complimented on that, several times. I felt so sure that I was born to do this. But as time passed, and I learned more and more about myself and my values and my wishes, I also grew more distant of the plan of becoming a surgeon. I know what I find important in life, I have just always put that aside for my dream. Now that there really is only one year left before I have to decide what to do, I have become more realistic. I am listening to rational self right now.
Thinking back on my year of rotations, I precisely know what I loved doing the most. My favorite rotations besides surgery were the ER, general practice, ENT, and gynecology. Those are practical fields. I need some adrenalin, I want to practice hands-on medicine. However, I would miss topics in neurology, psychiatry and infectious diseases. When combining all those interests, only a few options remain. Can you guess?
The past year has been important. However much I did not look forward to it, it has been one of the most important times in my life, I think. All that I learned about myself, and all that I learned about my wishes for the future. It has taken some form. I feel more relaxed. I’m in a good state of mind right now. I certainly did not expect all of this when I stepped into the hospital, on Monday October 29, 2012, 7:30am.