Confessions of an M3

Emily Rupe, M3, Class of 2023

The growth I’ve experienced since starting medical school is staggering. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed lately is my confidence. Entering into the medical profession is intimidating, to say the least. Like many others in my cohort, I struggled with imposter syndrome. Starting third year, I fell into the habit of introducing myself as “Just the medical student,” constantly apologizing for being in the way. Although there should always be a sense of humility in the way we show up to learn from others, I learned to show up for myself. I learned to ask the resident if I can throw that extra stitch when they are getting antsy and wanting to get on their way. I learned to bravely ask the attending the questions I’m ruminating on in my head. One of my recent lecturers said it perfectly, “Sometimes you gotta pull your education outta people.” Your learning experience is what you make of it; how important we are as medical students depends on us.

This year, I’ve learned to advocate for my patients when the residents are tired and may be overlooking something, to ask why we can’t try that extra treatment or test. I’ve learned that it’s our job to listen to the patients that no one else can find the time to listen to. It’s our job to explain to our patients the process of their disease that they were diagnosed with ten years ago and never understood. I’ve learned to embrace and accept my role, and to acknowledge its importance. As I am getting ready to transition into a new role, I hope to find that sureness in myself again, even though it will all feel just as overwhelming at the start.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been curious about the “why” to everything. It became very obvious to me in college, when I would try to ask my professors questions that no one else was thinking about, or even understood. I started to think I was communicating poorly, and would try to look up the answers to my questions on my own. Once I started medical school, it was clear that was just how my brain worked. I cared about the physiology of things: why our bodies work the way they do, why a certain enzyme is elevated in a certain pathology. As I’ve made my way through medical school, all those pieces have started to come together. It has made me better understand the material so much more. It made it easy for me to tutor first-years during my second year, and in my third year, it made it so gratifying to explain complicated pathology to patients in a way they could understand. All in all, medical school has helped me to better understand myself, and I think I am going to be a better doctor because of it.

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