Dear First Year Me,
I’m sure you can’t imagine it just yet, but today is the White Coat ceremony. Today is the day you will receive that symbolic piece of outerwear, relegated for those of the medical profession. As you don that White Coat today, and prepare for clinics to start in just a few short weeks, it seems unfathomable how fast the last 3 years have gone by.
First of all, trust me when I tell you that you belong here. I know Orientation was overwhelming, and there are so many intelligent and capable and amazing people in your class–and even if you don’t believe it, you are one of those intelligent and capable and amazing people.
Don’t forget how hard you have worked to be here. I know you have a lot of work ahead of you, but try to take a peek in the rearview every now and again to remind yourself of all the things you have already accomplished, all the things you’ve already overcome, all the successes you’ve already seen. Let that help fuel your path forward.
You already know it’s not going to be easy, but don’t give up, okay? There are days and weeks that are going to be terrible, and exam seasons that you can’t even imagine right now. Know that you aren’t alone in the struggle; this isn’t going to be hard for only you.
Find your people. Your class has some really cool individuals in it and while you’re not going to have a lot of time for socializing, there are some really kind and uplifting peers that you will need in your life. The same goes for professors. There are a group of professors that really have their students’ best interest at heart and they truly want to help you. Let them.
Be open to searching out opportunities of all kinds; you will find some exceptional experiences in places you might not expect.
If you have to choose between studying and sleeping, please pick sleeping (I know you probably won’t, but it’s worth reiterating).
Pack your breakfast and lunch the night before, because by tomorrow morning you’re going to forget a spoon for your oatmeal and you’ll be hangry.
Stockpile a few extra thermometers.
And watches (with batteries).
And blue pens.
Always carry your bandage scissors with you. The only time you’ll need them is when you don’t have them.
Remember that even when it feels impossible and the exams feel unending, that you will make it. You will be at White Coat, getting ready for clinics, and you will be making your dreams come true.
And yes, you have time to go see your horse today. Just go do it. You’ll be a happier person for it–trust me.
See you in about 3 years,