Getting Ready for Your Internship

Everyone who has ever graduated from medical school worries that they aren’t ready.  If you aren’t a little worried, there is something wrong.  It’s a big transition!  But, that being said, I can reassure you that first, you are in good company; every new graduate feels the same way!  Second, your attendings and senior residents understand.  Not only did they feel the same way, but they’ve been through it a few times before with other interns.  They are there to teach you and help you learn your field.  It’s not always going to be easy, but you are never going to be completely alone as an intern – there will always be someone there to help.

Many of you will have the feeling that you need to review everything from medical school in the next 2 weeks, and read the entire textbook in your field after that.  STOP!  It won’t help and it will drive you crazy!  Here’s what I recommend instead:

1.  Develop a new exercise routine that you can stick with when you get really crunched for time.  Figure out something you can do for 20 minutes every day consistently.  After you move in to your new place (assuming you are moving to a new town), check out the gyms near work and/or your home.  Joining a gym should be a top priority.  But – you may want to wait until you’ve been at work for a few weeks.  There may be a preferred gym for most of the residents, and that’s the one you should join.

2.  Think about how you are going to eat well as an intern…. which is VERY hard.  Find the good grocery stores, prepared food places, take out (healthy) restaurants that are near where you work and/or live.  Read about nutrition, ask your family for favorite recipes.  Take a class or two to learn easy cooking techniques.

3.  Do spend a little time thinking about your new role.  You are going to have to master your field in a short time (it sounds long now… but just wait).  This is a good time to go through your medical school notes and take out the ones you know you’ll use during your internship.  Don’t read or study, just organize them so you can find them again when you need them.  If you know which textbook is the most recommended in your field, this is a good time to get it.  Don’t study … just skim through it.  You are NOT expected to know it yet, so don’t let this scare you.  Instead, take some time to marvel at all the amazing things you are going to learn, and the people you are going to be able to help with that knowledge and skill.

4.  Take a vacation.  I’m serious.  Spend most of this month visiting family, reading novels and hanging out on the beach.  Read poetry, call friends.  You’ve earned it!

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