My Thoughts on Intern Year Thus Far

Its hard to believe that my first year of residency is almost over. So much has happened. I’m not usually the reflecting type, but I’ll give it a go for the sake of this post. I’ll start at the beginning, I suppose.

I moved to Minneapolis last June, just early enough to get my apartment organized before starting orientation mid-month. That orientation was just the same as any other. Lots of new people, lots of overwhelming information, and lots of paperwork. After a few days of that stuff I remember thinking, lets just start working already…

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And then came my first rotation. In the MICU. You know that feeling that you get when you start a new job and don’t know anything? I mean anything… like how to log on to computers, or what the code to the bathroom is, or how to find a darn stairwell so you don’t have to take the elevator down one floor? Well, there was a lot of that feeling. But on top of that I was supposed to be taking care of sick and dying patients. It was rough, but what made it even harder was not having family or friends around for support. I tried to stay optimistic, but there were definitely a few days there where I just felt like I couldn’t handle things.

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But life got better quickly in the following months. The work got easier to handle, like it always does. I became familiar with the city and picked up much needed new hobbies, like yoga. And most importantly, I rebuilt a social support system. As an overworked resident, I knew I wouldn’t have much time to go out and meet new people, which initially worried me (especially since I was newly single at the time). But then I started getting to know my co-residents. Wow. Not only are these people smart, but they’re supportive, funny, helpful… they’re just wonderful to be around. I even started dating one of them. :p I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends.

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Even though everything was going even better than I could have hoped, I started feeling burnt out by mid-winter. Its unavoidable, I think. Not only is it cold and dark, but its also holiday time. Its hard to hear about everyone making holiday plans and visiting friends and family when you’re stuck at work on Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And New Years… Its just depressing. But life goes on. I took a much needed vacation in February, which was great for a re-boost. I’m still feeling worn down, but I try to make sure I have things to look forward to. Even simple things, like some hot yoga, or grabbing brunch after a night shift, or searching on eBay for my next gorgeous HG handbag, or going on a walk with the boyfriend and his dog. You do what you can to keep you going.

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So, this year has definitely been a challenge. Although I feel worn down and overworked most of the time, I try to focus on being thankful for everything I do have. And I try to be very present, which is something I’ve been working on for a while now. Its one of those yoga concepts. There are so many teachings on it, but one of my favorite quotes is this one by Thich Nhat Hanh: “Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”