Third Year of Medical School in Retrospect

This post concludes my time as a third year medical student (MS3) and aims to reflect on a few milestones I’ve encountered over the last twelve months of clinical rotations (links to summaries of my MS1 and MS2 years).


The USMLE Step 1, easily the most important exam I’ve taken so far, has come and gone. I studied just over four weeks in February/March and took the exam on March 18th. Studying for Step 1 was a nice reprieve from rotations and gave me a chance to really assess how much I learned *cough-retained-cough* in the first eighteen months as a student – I’m incredibly grateful for all the professors and my colleagues for giving me incredible insight regarding the wonder of the human body.

Finished Core Rotations

After Internal Medicine and Psychiatry as an MS2, I started third year on OB/Gyn and proceeded to Surgery -> Neurology -> Family Medicine, and recently finished Pediatrics. Looking back, the variety of patients I saw in the Texas Medical Center provided me with unparalleled opportunities to learn from and partake in the care of my fellow man. I’ve come far from writing the brand name of glucose testing strips in my H&Ps during Internal Medicine, but I still don’t know anything about renal (only kidding). 😆

Career Goal In View

Over the last few months, I’ve reflected on my strengths and weaknesses, desires for the future, and incorporated advice I’ve received from attendings, residents, and other mentors to arrive at the final choice of pursuing pediatric anesthesiology. There are horror stories of residents starting in one program and switching to something entirely different a few months in, but I feel I’ve put enough consideration into making this choice.

I’ll be applying this fall, interviewing in the late fall/winter, and then anxiously awaiting that fateful “Match Day” in March 2013.

In the meantime, I need to get my recommendation letters and continue doing research with the department of anesthesia. I’ve also recently been made one of the co-chairs for our admissions committee. Though it’ll be a lot of work, I’m genuinely looking forward to sharing my zeal for Baylor Med’s program with other applicants from around the country. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll be starting an elective in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU). The thought of seeing some of the sickest patients in the hospital has me a little concerned, but I think confidence is key. This is a chance to assimilate the tricks and knowledge I’ve picked up in all my core rotations to better address the needs of those on the brink of life and death. It’ll be a unique learning opportunity; I just need to get back into the routine of waking up at 4 AM. 😮

Three years down. One to go.

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  1. I enjoy your posting. It gives me some idea of US Medical school education. I like your reasoning of chosing anesthesia. Wish you all the best and I am sure you will do well.

  2. Hi Rishi,

    Sounds like you’ve come a long way since that first day when you arrived at BCM!

    If it’s okay, I have a few questions…

    1. How did you find the time to do research and go to clinics and study, at the same time? I know that med students are the top of the crop, and that they are super smart, but one person cannot possibly be in three places at once. Unless if I’m missing something… ;D

    2. I remember you wrote in an earlier post that you said you were staying at home home during your pre-clinical years. Are you still living at home now? Or have you moved to somewhere closer to the med center, e.g. Lanesborough or Greenbriar?

    3. How much vacation time did you get between 3rd and 4th year? From the looks of it, I think there is 1 month of vacation between 1st and 2nd, 2 weeks between 2nd and 3rd, but I heard that after Match Day you guys are pretty much done, except for Apex. I think other med schools (aka UT Southwestern) don’t pile everything on at the beginning like BCM does, but they don’t have as much free time during 4th year. Is this correct?

    Sorry – this is a lot of junk, and I know you’re super busy now! Thanks for just reading this far into a super-long comment XD

    And one more thing – this is the first time I’ve typed in HTML (or rather, composed, translated into HTML) so apologizes for the mess-ups.


    • 1.) When I get home on the weekdays, I mostly look over the questions I encountered on the wards (ie, what do certain tests/labs ascertain?) and push off studying for shelf exams to the weekend. Depending on the rotation, some have more “free time” than others, so it’s relatively easy to pick up a short, part-time research project. You’ll find your own comfort zone when the time comes. Many of my mentors feel research is NOT appropriate during the first year – you should focus on getting acclimated to the environment and mastering the basic sciences.

      2.) Nope, I still live at home. Commuting was tough as an MS3 (especially on my general surgery month), but I’m on the home stretch and saved a ton of money in retrospect. I actually calculated my commute total over the break, and its amounted to over 35,000 miles for strictly medical-school related travel since my first day. 😯

      3.) Yep, you’re absolutely right about our break durations. We get one full month between MS1 → MS2 and two weeks between MS2 → MS3 as well as MS3 → MS4. The second semester of fourth year tends to be laid back at most medical schools, and BCM is no exception. Except for APEX, most people spend it traveling, getting married, relaxing, etc. before graduation. 🙂

      Oh, and your HTML is just fine! 😉


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