A new year is overwhelming for a lot of people - resolutions and this pressure to become someone different all of a sudden just because the man made calendar/clock has struck 00:00.
In medicine, our clock re-sets in July, when the new academic year starts. But the new year is often a time of reflection for me, and it helps me obtain perspective and grow from growth. In 2018, a lot happened - I became a second year surgery resident, I did my first right hemicolectomy as surgeon junior, I began to feel comfortable with lap choles and that reading has finally paid off as far as knowledge base, I started truly enjoying residency (instead of constantly feeling stressed and tired even if I am stressed and tired), I watched my nephew grow into a little boy, learned a lot about myself in all arenas and challenge after challenge feel like I have that breath of fresh air - and last but not least - Babe and I have had countless adventures/memories and just celebrated our one year anniversary (time has flown).
January is always a more tense time as ABSITE, our surgery boards, is at the end of the month - all of the pressure on this one score. Things like this shouldn’t define you, but unfortunately they do most of the time — whether it is mental or not. You can have a wealth of knowledge but be an average test taker and it makes all the difference. Especially if one question wrong/right can sometimes cause a 10 percentile difference.
As future general surgeons, we have to learn everything from diseases/cancers/procedures/treatments of all of the organ systems as well as the head and neck, breast, hematology, and even immunology. The scope of our knowledge spans great lengths and that is what makes general surgery so interesting but also challenging.
It brings us back to the daily struggle of juggling clinical patient care, learning academics, and basic resident responsibilities. This process makes us better, it makes us into exceptional physicians, if we let it. Bad habits, burn out, and ignoring the lessons we are being taught will be a deterrent. And sometimes—sometimes you inspire a medical student to follow in your path, sometimes you have a patient who really sees and appreciates you, sometimes it’s all worth it.