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Transitions: The Reflections of a Fourth-Year Medical Student


TFYFI walked into the medical school this morning, happy to back in a place I’d not seen much of in a year and a half. I stopped midstride as I saw a sea of new faces sitting in the common area. The faces I saw were young and eager, full of promise, hope, and fear — clearly new first-years.

It struck me then, as I began to walk more slowly through the hallowed halls that had educated me. I am officially an old man.

I recalled walking into medical school for orientation four years ago. I can relive the emotions that roiled inside my chest. Eagerness to move forward, disbelief that I had made it, confidence that I would be the smartest, fear that I wouldn’t, and, most of all, angst of the unknown path on which I was treading.

I remember walking into our big lecture hall and sitting on the left sided batch of seats. I remember sitting there and watching my peers, wondering was kinds of MDs they will be. In a few short months, those peers will be MDs. I remember seeing those same people at a social event that evening imbibing copious doses of alcohol and wondering all the more.

I remember the drive to do well on my tests and get that honors, and the degree to which my self-worth was tied so intimately in the letter each course gave me. I recall the gnawing feeling in my gut when I didn’t get honors, or when I simply did “okay.” I smiled when I thought of the first time someone let me do something in the hospital and how cool it felt. I remember how uncool it felt when I had to do something after my fifth surgery call night.

That walk wasn’t a long one, but during it my mind walked the ups and downs of the three and a half years. I ran a discussion group for the first-years about a book they read. After I was done, one of them came up to me to talk. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, she reminded me of myself during my own first year. As I left I gave her a parting word of advice: “Don’t worry too much during med school. It ebbs and it flows, but ride it out and you’ll be just fine.”

My journey here will soon end. In a few months, I’ll be an MD. In a few more, I’ll be a resident. And sometime after that maybe I’ll be a good doctor. But I know that leaving this door only marks the next unknown path my feet will follow. And now I know I’ll be just fine.


The Fourth-Year Faux-cisian

The Fourth-Year Faux-cisian deals with the trenches of medicine, the dirty details and the inglorious scut, as well as with the sublime and transcendent moments. The posts I write are about medicine, humanism, life, philosophy, and most of all the ruminations of a young doctor-to-be as he embarks upon the transformative journey of becoming a physician while attempting to hold onto his humanity.

Sarab Sodhi Sarab Sodhi (10 Posts)

Columnist Emeritus and in-Training Staff Member

Temple University School of Medicine


I’m a fourth-year medical student and masters in urban bioethics candidate at Temple. Medical school helped me realize that the only way for me to stay sane after seeing and doing what we do is to express it- and this is how I express the madness that is my life, and my life in medicine.

The Fourth-Year Faux-cisian

The Fourth-Year Faux-cisian deals with the trenches of medicine, the dirty details and the inglorious scut, as well as with the sublime and transcendent moments. The posts I write are about medicine, humanism, life, philosophy, and most of all the ruminations of a young doctor-to-be as he embarks upon the transformative journey of becoming a physician while attempting to hold onto his humanity. Follow him at @SarabSodhi and his website www.sarabsodhi.com !