Wanna know one thing about med school that is really, genuinely challenging that you might not have ever thought about? (I certainly didn't before I came.)
The logistics. They will kill you if you're not careful.
Say, for example, that you are on a rotation like the one I'm on now, and that rotation requires you to be in a different place pretty much every day. Say that you have never been to any of these places before. So first you have to figure out where in the heck you are going in the first place, and then you have to navigate the parking situation, and then you have to go searching for the right office and then you have to find the correct person you are assigned to be with for the day, and if you are lucky, they will actually be there and have clinic that day and they might even be expecting you. If you are really lucky, you might even manage to do all this and still be close to being on time.*
(*By this, I really just mean when I get really lucky, I can figure out where I need to be and how to get there and then still arrive at clinic almost on time.)
Anyway, by the time all of this happens, I feel like most of my metal energy for the week has gone into just getting to where I need to be, when I need to be there. It's sort of exhausting. By the third time you go to the same clinic location, it's no longer even a second thought, but just imagine going to your first day of school at a new school, with new teachers and a new schedule, every day. And now that I think about it, that is actually exactly what this situation is. You know, and you want to be dressed like all the other cool kids and stuff.
On Tuesday, I started my ob/gyn rotation with a day of orientation. Wednesdays are didactic days, so day 2 this week looked something like this: get up, drive to Emory Midtown Hospital. Tell the parking attendent that I'm a med student on the first day of a rotation so he would let me into the lot. Find the correct lecture hall for a 7am anatomy lecture. Try not to fall asleep during Grand Rounds. Rush down to the Public Safety office (which, thankfully, I already knew where it was located) to get a parking pass for the month at Midtown. Get there first (yesss!). Feel thankful that I have my license plate number memorized. Parking pass in hand, hurry back to the lot, get in car, try to figure out the fastest way to Grady Hospital from Midtown. Try to figure out the best way to the visitor parking lot via lots of different one-way streets. Rush to the wrong building for a lecture that was supposed to start ten minutes ago. Find the right building. Luckily step into the elevator with someone else whose ID badge works for access to the floor I need to get to. Arrive late, but still beat most of the rest of the group making the mad dash from Midtown. Lecture, lecture, lecture. Lunch hour - cross the street to the main hospital to try to get a scrub card and activate my Grady badge and get a parking pass for the month for Grady. Run all over the hospital, getting different directions from everyone I ask about the offices I am trying to find. Get told repeatedly "I have no idea" or "I don't think that is on this floor." Take, like, at least five different elevators and four different stairwells to finally find the world's most well-hidden secret hiding place, aka the Grady Public Safety Office. Hand in a form. Follow directions to make my way through another super-secret short-cut maze to the parking deck. Pay for my parking pass and chat with the parking office guy about how some character on a show I have never seen has my same last name. Run back to lecture, get there late. Learn how to suture on pigs' feet. (By the way, I brought my lunch with me and have been carrying it around with me this entire time, and at this point have not had a single second to eat any of it. And I am starving.) Lecture. Scarf some of my food while learning the cardinal movements of labor. Lecture. Race back to the office where I am hopeful I will find my scrub card waiting for me so that I can get the scrubs I need to wear the day after tomorrow. The card is actually there, with my name on it. Win! Am told by at least three people that "there is no scrub machine on the 4th floor" even though that is apparently the only machine my card will work in. Finally locate the scrub machine on the 4th floor.
Ok, by now, it had been a fairly long day. I was with my friend Kristine, and neither of us had ever seen these particular machines before, so it took us a little bit to figure out how on earth they worked. The scrub machines struck us as hilarious for some reason. We were the only two people in the room, and we just took turns swiping our cards and cracking up when the machine would spit out a little green set in the size we requested as if it were the funniest thing in the world. I don't know, maybe you had to be there. But the good news is that I now have access and parking and attire for the next six weeks!