March 11 was my last shift as a medical student. A doclette. A wanna-be-doctor. A short coat. Whatever you want to call it.
I was excited and knew it was a big deal. It was all I thought about for a week.
What I didn’t expect were tears.
Tears of pure relief.
Medical school is like getting dropped in the middle of an ocean and being told to find your way back to land.
I doesn’t matter which way you go or how you swim—just that you make it.
So I’ve been swimming. Hard. Harder than I’ve ever swam before.
And I’ve been holding my breath…the entire time.
Wondering if I could do it.
Wondering if it would work.
Wondering if my family would be ok at the end.
Wondering so many things…
But that last day…
While pulling out of the parking lot, suddenly I could breathe.
I did it.
My family is more amazing than I could have ever dreamed.
And I can breathe…
There are 3 more years of training and hard work to go.
An insane amount of hours.
A large amount of reading.
Days to go without enough sleep.
And I’m sure a few tears.
But it will be ok.
We will do it.
It will work.
And my family will continue to flourish.
I would like to think that when I return to this place as “Doctor”, I will keep my white coat cleaner, my notes more organized, my exercise routine, and a lower level of stress. In the back of my mind I‘m aware of reality.
But once again, there is hope.
Perhaps there is some experience from the past 4 years that will make it a bit easier all around, though I imagine it won’t feel like it when I’m back in the middle of the ocean, trying to find my way to solid ground once again.
But right now, I can breathe.
And this feeling, I will never take for granted.
To those of you in the middle of your ocean:
Keep your head down. Keep holding your breath. Just keep swimming.
Do whatever it takes to keep your family intact.
Then, and only then, will it be worth it in the end.
Remind yourself of the places that the Lord has called you and the promises that He gave you.
Sometimes that is the only thing that will keep you going.
And as I often prayed along this journey “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
2 responses to “What the Last Day of Medical School Feels Like”
This post left me unexpectedly teary-eyed. I am so proud of you and Michael! You find ways to inspire those all around you; age irrelevant. Much love to you both – honored to be part of your world.
So proud of you Steph! Cheering for you all the way from this side of the pond 🙂 may God who began this good work in you continue to give you the strength to finish strong! xxx