My first time in the operating room (OR) was when I was a junior in college. I was beaming under my mask, so excited to shadow and observe my first surgery ever, a riveting and exotic procedure: a planned and standard laparoscopic cholecystectomy. A friendly circulating nurse that I had been chatting with asked me, “Sabrina, what’s your glove size?”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I kept myself sane by writing “Notes from the 13th Floor” — a series of moments I wished I could share with the outside world and the kind I never wanted to forget.
Much like the development of a butterfly, the journey through medicine is an exquisite metamorphosis. As a fourth-year student looking back at the past four years, I remain grateful to those who helped pave the path for me to grow into what will soon be a physician.
Endless alarms, coffee to-go, Adidas tennis shoes toe to toe./Password guesses, ID scans, room by room – endless lands.
Bone Marrow Insufficiency/ Bullies, Meds, Insomnia/ Blatant Media Influence
The gentle breeze of the summer evening embraces my hometown of Suwon, Korea. Holding my hand, my grandma takes small, deliberate steps forward. Two months into my fourth year of medical school, I am back home for a short break before beginning the residency application process.
Lights off./Screens on.
Touch, pinch. Move, shift. Tap, reflex.
The moon has risen and our shift has begun. / We night owls hold vigil in the resident room.
In a time when we began medical school online during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of our preclinical medical education was lecture-based. This meant my experiences at the free health clinics affiliated with our institution were more valuable than ever in introducing me to patient care.
With imposter syndrome raging,/ I sit quietly at my desk,/ reflect on goals for my future/ and what it means to do my best.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m just a med student. The rest of the team will be here shortly, they’ll explain everything to you.” We wait in silence.