Emotional Baggage · Medical School

Late Night Ruminations

Very strong in obstetrical and gyne knowledge. At times needs to recognize her limitations for training level. Keen learner, eager to be involved.

There’s a reason this evaluation bothered me so much, and it’s not because it is going on my dean’s letter.  The real reason is what’s keeping me up ruminating and unable to sleep tonight.  From the moment you told me what you heard people saying about me, I knew that recovering from that kind of reputation was going to be impossible.  I went home that night and tried my hardest to stay positive.  I thought of what I could do to change the situation and besides just making adjustments moving forward, I decided to talk to the people I worked with and apologize for anything I did wrong.  After that night, I held my head high and worked hard at doing things properly and learning as much as I could.  I knew I was losing my battle, though: it was blaringly obvious for the remainder of my rotation.  I tried to convince myself that I was wrong and that it was just my own insecurities.  However, I felt that the comment about the issue in my evaluation confirmed my belief.

On that same night we were out, quite early in our conversation, I told you that, barring anything drastic, we were planning on staying here for residency.  I wasn’t lying when I said that because I like it here, a lot.  Given that, I am a little ashamed to say that I was relieved to be done my obs/gyne rotation.  I loved the rotation for so many reasons, the most important being that the work was enjoyable, rewarding, and it confirmed that I want to do this for the rest of my career.  However, it has been a long time since I felt as awkward and uncomfortable amongst a group of people as I did for the last few weeks of that rotation.  I don’t know (and I never will) if the awkwardness had to do with me, or if it had to do with the politics and relationships among the residents themselves, or maybe a little bit of both.  Regardless, I felt that learning from the residents, friendliness and conversation, and feeling like part of “the team” was difficult – if not impossible.

For the last month or so I’ve really been forced to re-evaluate so much about my decision and it’s been overwhelming.  I know I like it here so much because of people like you, Dr. JM, D, Dr. TM, etc.  But, should the fact that I like the attendings really weigh that heavily into my decision-making process?  Certainly, there are other reasons why I would choose to stay here; however, there are so many reasons why it’s not the best choice either.  I know things will be different when I’m a resident and not the med student: I’ll definitely be more part of the team and I’ll have the opportunity to continue learning as much as I want.  However, I feel like it says a lot about a person (or group of people) when they are exclusive of someone or feel threatened by them because they know more, or work harder, or are liked by certain people, or whatever other reasons that this problem may have arisen in the first place.  Before I started the rotation, I had this illusion that, because I was keen and interested, the residents would be excited to have me around, they would be eager to teach me, and they would want me to enjoy the rotation as much as possible.  Unfortunately, with the exception of a few select residents, I never felt that at all.  In fact, I felt the complete opposite.

I know that going away for electives is somewhat of an artificial situation.  However, the time I spent on my last elective was completely different and exactly what I was hoping to have.  Everyone was friendly, eager to teach, willing to include me in everything. I was offered the opportunity to do exams and procedures before I even had the chance to ask, and the residents always made sure to invite me to every coffee break or lunch break that may have been happening.  I saw quite a few of these same residents at [the conference] and even though I may have only spent one afternoon with some of them, most of them recognized me and came up to me to chat and ask me how I was doing.  A few of them even came to my presentation.  I hardly saw the residents from our program at the conference, and when I did, it was because the other two med students and I sought them out to sit with them in the large group sessions.  There were even a few times when they were planning evening outings as a group, in front of us, but didn’t include us or invite us to join them.  I get that they’re probably closer friends with each other than with us, but it just felt rude.

It might sound odd, or petty, or childish, I don’t really know; but I feel like the interpersonal interactions between the residents and I was just so “off.”  I was caught off guard (yet not too surprised) when you told me what you heard about me.   I still maintain that I was never inappropriate, nor did I ever do something that I wasn’t supposed to do or that was beyond my level of responsibility.  Unfortunately for me, whatever happened and whatever was said just stuck and my keenness and eagerness to be involved only landed me in a difficult and awkward predicament.  I was saddened (but again, not surprised) that despite my best efforts, I still left a sour aftertaste as a result of this initial situation.  I always appreciate constructive criticism and tips for improvement.  However, I thought this was identified and dealt with after the first two weeks of the rotation.  I’m surprised there wasn’t something else, something more constructive, for them to say.

I was happy for the rotation to be over because I wasn’t learning anything anymore.  I was feeling so out of place and I didn’t want to be there.  I’ve spent the last few weeks telling myself that it was all in my head or that I was the problem and not anyone else, or that the feelings were all in my head.  I’ve also tried to remember that residency will be different.  Unfortunately, that evaluation just brought all those emotions up to the surface again.  It may be different when I’m a resident, and I know the department is changing all the time.  Regardless, I feel like I don’t fit in and I don’t want to become a part of that kind of environment (if it’s not all in my head).

I wish that wanting to stay because I love the attendings was a good enough reason.  I know you all want me to be here, too – and that is an awesome feeling.  But after this whole experience I feel even more confused and more uncertain in this decision-making process than I have ever before.  What I really wanted on this rotation was to work hard, learn a lot, make a good impression, and feel like I was wanted as part of the team. Unfortunately, and completely unknowingly, I did the wrong thing and I’m stuck here with the feeling that I completely messed up or that I’m a bad person.   It all just makes me very sad to be in this position right now, and that’s why I was so bothered by the comment they made in my evaluation.

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