Enjoy This Time

A fourth-year medical student reflects on leaving medical and entering residency—and all the patients who impacted their life.

As I prepare for residency, I find myself mourning the fact that I will be leaving medical school behind me. Although it feels odd saying it, I love medical school. It was difficult at every turn: I changed career paths to finish all the prerequisites and study for the MCAT at the same time. Then there was the anxiety that comes from being constantly evaluated, the studying for Shelf exams after a full workday, and the sitting down for hours for standardized tests that determine one’s future. I, of course, will not miss that gnawing feeling that I do not belong here—how did I even get in? Yet I still love being here.

The amount of knowledge gained in 4 years, the friends made, the younger students taught, the feeling of being a part of a team: I will look back on this part of medical school fondly. However, the best part of medical school, and the one I will miss the most, is the time I am able to spend with my patients.

Even without the full responsibilities of a physician, I already spend most of my time in the hospital in front of a computer. Reviewing a patient before seeing them, writing their note, and rounding occupies most of my time, leaving only a small percentage of it left to patients. Yet, as a medical student, I still had more time with them.

This poem reflects on the moments I was able to spend with the people whose charts I was reviewing—on the time I might never have again as I move into residency. It is for RH, KC, TH, YM-R, CP, GV, LC, and TT—all of whom were patients that changed the way I see medicine and the world itself. They were people with whom I had the privilege to sit down for hours while they impacted my life. I can only hope in that time that I had a positive impact on theirs.

Although I am ready and excited for the next steps in my career, I will miss medical school. In the months to come until I graduate in May, I will be grateful for the time I have with the people who trust me with their darkest secrets, their fears, their families, and their triumphs. I will enjoy this time.

Time

Enjoy this time

Slow down

Lean back

Sit with them

Open ears

Listen to their stories

Open heart

I see you

Enjoy this time

Before you have none

Embrace stillness

While the universe

Expands around you

Enjoy this time

In the center of their world

While entropy

Augments around you

Enjoy this time

Calm in the center of a storm

Learn, teach, grow

Slow down

Enjoy this time

Mx Mendelow is a fourth-year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. They received their Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages and Literature and International Studies from the University of Michigan and practiced as a licensed aesthetician before medical school. They hope to pursue Ob/Gyn and incorporate their love of psychiatry into their practice.