This phenomenon of imposter syndrome is prevalent in many of us pursuing medicine. Especially for those of us who are first-generation physicians, we are left to fend through uncharted territories. While we try to do our best to navigate this difficult path, we are left feeling that there is someone else better suited for our spot in medicine. We feel that we are not deserving of this privilege. As we pass through these high obstacles — basic sciences, board exams, core rotations, even electives — we stew in self-doubt after each success.
You already started / your medical school journey / non-traditionally. / Just keep pushing
You lose / your pen with / the red and blue and black ink
So, one way or another / I keep craning my neck / Looking up.
We all earn our way here / Paid in hours of studying / and minutes of fun lost.
“Eager and enthusiastic” / As I drag myself from bed. / “Positive energy” / Do you have an injury to your head?
I am waiting for my coffee when / a middle-aged Turkish man / asks if I am a medical student
They say you’re at the top of the class / I say I’m barely able to pass
I know better. / I know nothing, and I am useless. / So don’t throw words at me insinuating that / I am knowledgeable.
As a medical student, I have big shoes to fill. I feel that void in my foot-space at all times. These shoes are expensive, and they are monstrously huge. We’re talking circus clown, Shaquille O’Neal, Andre the Giant shoes.
I don’t want to admit that medical school is tough for me. I want to be a natural at this. I want to devour my schoolwork and never satisfy my thirst for more.
I breathed in and out, in and out, in and out, trying to slow my heart rate. Countless hours of preparation had led to this day: the day when I would get the honor of donning the white coat that characterized the profession I was about to enter.