Kevin Moser, MS4
This month, the incoming class of medical students will be having their white coat ceremony. It’s when they’ll take the Hippocratic Oath and don their white coats for the first time. Since I’m entering my fourth year, I thought I’d reflect back on my own white coat experience three years ago.
I remember the white coat ceremony as being the first time it really hit me that I was a medical student. I had already been living in Hershey for a few years at that point, and it took a while for me to feel like a medical student. It wasn’t until I was up on that stage and got my white coat that I really felt like my medical education had just began.
The coat itself is nothing special. It’s just a flimsy white cloth with a lot of pockets that always flops around and seems to get in the way. It’s the significance behind the coat that’s important. For me, it was a symbol of all the work I’d put into my education up until that point, and an acknowledgement of what I’d accomplished. I wore that coat with pride leaving that ceremony.
Now, I have four coats: two clean, one with a big ink stain that won’t come out, and my original, which is too small now and missing a button, but the sentiment still remains. I’m still proud to wear those coats. Looking back, the significance of the white coat ceremony for me was that it’s where, in my mind, I became a medical student. I’m excited for the incoming students to all find their own significance as they stand up on that stage, recite that oath, and put on their first of many white coats for the first time.
Kevin Moser, MS3
After almost three years, I’m finally at the point in medical school where I need to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.
For many of you it probably started with the simple choice of medicine or surgery. Well I’ve made that decision. I know I’m not going to be a surgeon. Now, if statistics are to be trusted, about 20 percent of you are shaking your heads in disappointment, and I can’t blame you.
Having the chance to stick my hands into someone’s abdomen during a partial colectomy was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done, but it didn’t take me long to realize that surgery just wasn’t for me. Something just never clicked. Instead, I gravitated more to the medicine side of things. As of now, I’ve narrowed it down to two choices: Internal Medicine or PM&R.
There are aspects I love of both fields, but I’m finding it harder to decide than I thought I would. After all, how can someone really know what they want to do for the rest of their life based on a few weeks of experience? I’m taking an acting internship next month in Internal Medicine followed directly by a PM&R elective, so hopefully juxtaposing those two fields will help make my decision more clear.
Ultimately, it will come down to a lot of thought (and a little bit of gut feeling) for me to make my decision. Though it’s definitely a bit stressful, I’m excited at the idea of finally choosing my career path.
Mona Lotfipour, MS2
My friends and I joke that every medical student has some sort of hidden talent.
Take for example one of my classmates who can beautifully play the violin to any song she hears…or my friend who is an incredible photographer…or his brother who is an unreal singer. Most of these talents stay hidden as we get swamped with school work, but the MAC Gala allows these treasures to surface.
MAC is one of the largest, and probably my favorite, annual events on campus. It is sponsored by the Multicultural Awareness Club, and it helps showcase the incredible talents and diversity that exist within our medical school.
Some of the acts have become tradition—for example, the energetic, ballyhooed dance number, performed by approximately two dozen students (some are professionals and others are new to dancing). But my favorite act this year was the whip demonstration. One first-year student who collects whips, from Indiana Jones to Zorro to Cat Woman, performed some targeting whip tricks. He was able to cut off a tip of a flower with a whip! It's nice to be reminded of the many talents my classmates have.
In addition to being a fun event for students, faculty, and physicians, this year's gala had a silent auction that raised over $1,500 for Global Medical Brigades (the audience had the opportunity to vote among various organizations).
Kevin Moser, MS3
It's a pretty great feeling the first time you realize you're actually helping to make decisions in a patient's care. Recently during my Family Medicine rotation, my plan for a patient was slightly different than my attending's. Instead of telling me that I was wrong and explaining the reasoning behind his plan, he thought for a moment, nodded, and told me we would go with my plan, adding that "often, there's more than one way to treat someone."
Useful learning point aside, this moment stood out to me. For the first time, I felt as if I had tackled a patient's problems all on my own, from start to finish.
For the first time, I felt like a doctor.
It's hard to recognize your own progress during third year. Often, by the time you start to gain some confidence in a rotation, you're already moving on to the next one. It's easy to feel a bit off kilter all the time because you're constantly trying to adjust to a new field of medicine, or a whole new medical team with people you've never met before. For a while, it was discouraging to be reminded of how little I knew each time I moved on to another service. It made it pretty hard to gauge my own progress. But you know what? Maybe there's something to this whole medical school thing.
Recently I've felt more confident about my level of medical knowledge, and I feel more composed in front of patients. I'm starting to feel a little less like a lowly medical student and more like a member of the medical team who can actually contribute something. I'm starting to notice my own growth. Half way through third year, I can finally see myself as a physician one day, and it's a pretty great feeling.