It’s Over, But Not Really

It is now just over a week since I marched at my Commencement ceremony and received my diploma. Yes, the actual diploma was inside the folder — which is very exciting since all my previous diplomas (college and high school) had to be mailed to me once the financial office had decided that I no longer owed the school any money.

I suppose that this is officially my first post as an MD. I am now a graduate. I now can tack on the suffix M.D. to my name. I remember just one day after graduation I sat staring at my diploma. As I stared at it, I almost could not believe it was in front of me. I looked at the piece of paper — a sheet of paper that has been the most expensive (physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) paper I have ever earned.
During the days prior to graduation, I remember feeling excited. At the same time, I also felt nervous. Nervous about being done. Nervous about new responsibilities. Nervous about wearing the long white coat I have wanted ever since I looked into the mirror and saw how ridiculous my short white coat looked. I am now waiting for my long coat. Literally. I sent an email to the Graduate Medical Education (GME) office a few weeks ago with my size. I hope I sent in the right size. Again, I am excited. But again, I am nervous about the long white coat and all the responsibility it represents.

I have a few more weeks before residency starts and I step onto the wards as a new intern. During this time I will have to complete some online modules and get certified for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). I will also complete my move into a new place. It is a few weeks that I know will go by very quickly. Actually, I feel like the next few years will go quickly, but I don’t really want to think about that at this point.

And so, my medical school career is over. One chapter is completed. But I know that I am far from the end. Medical training continues at the next stage — residency. I know, too, that it will continue long after I leave residency. Medicine, as they have taught me throughout medical school, is about lifelong learning. In the grand scheme of things, I am still at the beginning. I have “leveled up,” but I’m still at a very low level.

I have a long way to go. I know the road ahead will be hard. But it’ll be full of adventure, I’m sure.

I will continue to blog here. For those of you who have been following my journey thus far, I hope you stick around.


Since I started medical school, I get the occasional item in the mail that looks like this — a letter addressing me as Dr. W. The front of the envelop usually says Jeff W. M.D. above my address.

It always amused me. I suppose you could say it tickled me.

I felt the same way when I saw this today.

And then I realized that after labor day weekend next year, I will have earned those two initials.

I know I’ve made a similar statement a couple of times in recent months. But it’s only because the whole idea is still surreal to me. It hasn’t sunken in yet.

On Thursday I will be taking USMLE Step 2 CS, one of the many exams we need to take in order to get a medical license and DEA number (we need to pass USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step2 CS, and Step 3).

Sometimes I feel like I’m barreling towards the finish line. At other times I feel like I’m plodding along at a snail’s pace. Regardless of my perception, I’m moving steadily towards May 27 — scared and excited all at once.