There are things you absolutely look forward to going into medicine; the moment you get to tell your loved one that you’ve been accepted, your first day in class, passing your first exam, owning your first stethoscope, pair of scrubs, lab coat and obviously the day you get to wear all 3 at once. You look forward to the first time you set up a drip successfully, the first time you correctly diagnose a murmur, your first delivery, the first time you assist in theatre, the first time you save a life, the day you become a final year student and the day you graduate. There’s obviously so many other firsts but at this moment these are the ones that come to mind.
“Finally, you’re in final year.” I’ve heard that from family, friends and even strangers on the internet. Everyone has celebrated the accomplishments but if I’m being honest I don’t think it has hit me that I am in fact in final year. I mean for years we saw them, walking around campus, the five-to doctors. We were inspired by them, we looked up to them and now today finally we are them. In as much as I am glad the end of the road is near, I’m also greatly overwhelmed by how quickly it seems to be going. 3 years ago today I had just registered to do a honors course in Human Anatomy to improve my chances of getting into medicine. I had no idea what my life would be like, I had no idea if I would ever get into medicine and even if I did, how would I ever be able to afford it? And today here I am, a week away from starting what I’m anticipating to be the most important and amazing year of my life yet.
To be a final year student, what does that actually mean to me? First and foremost it’s the reaffirmation that I can do this, that my 20 years old (if not older) dreams are valid. This is not only motivational to me but to anybody reading this. This is a moment that defies race, gender, financial status and a very humble beginning. Secondly its a final chance to learn everything I’m supposed to know by the time my title changes from Mr to Dr. It’s a year where I’m supposed to grow in the field, grow as a man and take in the role of a leader. It is a last chance to leave a lasting mark at my school. I’ve done my fair share but somehow this year I’m feeling motivated to do so much more, so reach so many more lives, to mentor so many more people. Sometimes I need to take a breather and remember that my timetable is going to be pretty full as I plan all these great things. Thirdly it marks the end of probably one of the most important chapters of my life; for years all I ever dreamed about was becoming a medical student and now I’m about to leave that title behind. Becoming a doctor has actually become a short term goal now, that one is going to take some time to get used to. Lastly it’s everything I’ve ever wanted and dreamed of growing up happening right now, right in front of me.
I have such mixed emotions about final year; a part of me can’t wait to start, the other part is terrified and is happy to delay it all by another month or two. Maybe I’m just putting so much pressure on myself, maybe I just need to take my own advice; take a deep breath and enjoy the journey. I have an amazing emotional and academic support system in my family, friends, my clinical partners, my classmates, my mentees and my mentors. I’m full equipped to do this, to go through this last obstacle and come out victorious. This is a moment where I need to let life happen and to trust in myself, now more than ever. Most importantly I just need to have fun.
I am a final year medical student, finally.