A Letter in the White Coat Pocket
Hi. It's me. Yourself from the future. (Don't worry
Instagram is still very much a thing and, yes, your caption game is still very
much on point.)
First thing, congratulations beautiful. You did it. You
got that White Coat. You achieved what you have fought and clawed for over the
past 5 years. You are a rockstar and you deserve every smile and ounce of joy
that you are feeling today. So sit with it. You don't need to worry about
studying yet; that will come soon enough.
Once the White Coat is hung up and your friends and
family have gone home, though, there are a few more things you should sit with
and know. Med School is going to be so hard. Just so so hard. And I
don't mean in terms of books and notes and studying.
You are going to be so overwhelmed and so overstimulated so
much of the time. You are going to feel scared and inadequate and frustrated
and grated. You are going to feel like if you study ONE MORE WORD your chest
will cave in from sheer, raw, emotional exhaustion. You are going to feel torn
in a million directions for where to invest your time.
You are going to miss your family. You are going
to worry about your family. You are going to feel guilty because you can't talk
to or see your family as much as you want.
You are going to cry. You are going to scream. You are
going to stare at the ceiling silently and wonder if this is all there is.
You are going to crave a warm body in the bed beside
you... but there just won't be time to go searching for that someone. You will
wonder why you don't look like all the other girls in your class. You will
wonder why you were made to take up quite so much space. You will feel
your heart break and then just as quickly begin to re-mend itself.
You are going to become acquainted with illness and
death a little too intimately. And you are going to mourn the time
that already feels lost with the ones you love so much. You will try to
disassociate yourself from the bad and the hurt all around you, but it will
creep back in while you're in a patient's room or while you are reading a slide
You will reach the lowest of lows and there will be times
where you aren't quite sure what you have gotten yourself into or what you have
given up in the process....
But, you are also going to dance several nights away in
a gold dress... or a Santa dress... or a Superwoman dress. You are going
to have so much pizza on these nights and it will be absolutely glorious. You
will be 23 and stupid and you will love every questionable second of it.
You are going to call your Mom and Dad after all
of your tests go OK and you are going to light up as they call you “a
real doctor"... with more pride in their voice than you have ever heard.
You are going to hear, on your most exhausted of days, a
patient say, "You are going to be a great doctor." And it
will make the load a little lighter.
You are going to open yourself up to new friends and to
old ones in ways that you never have before. You are going to cry into their
coat collars. You are going to hog the wine. You are going to tell them your
insecurities and your fears. You are going to annoy them (just a little). You
are going to ask for a lot of patience and a lot of support. But guess
what? They are only going to love you (and lift you up) all the
You are going to laugh so much. In
anatomy lab. In a cabin on an Asheville mountain-side. At a tailgate. In
your car. At your kitchen table. On a basketball floor. In some very
Spooky Woods. You are going to laugh so so much and you are going to find pure
joy in the most unexpected situations.
You are going to learn a little of "practicing
medicine" and A LOT of "being human".
You are going to grow from this; you are going to
change from this; but you are going to love this.
Never forget who you are and how far you have come.
Never forget you are loved. Never forget that your friends and family are there
for you. Never forget what it means to be kind.
All of my love,
Year in school: 1st year Medical Student
Hometown: Erwin, TN
Undergrad attended: Wake Forest University
Favorite quote: “Here's to the fools who dream.”