8 things I would tell my younger self

Young, aspiring doctors are the Iron Youth of this generation. In Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, young German soldiers are called the Iron Youth as part of a campaign to generate enthusiasm for fighting in the war; these soldiers soon realize the true horrors of war and its lasting impact on the psyche. The analogy is not necessarily to compare residency to war but to highlight that many young physicians also experience similar disillusionment as they go through their training. There are long working hours, high-stress conditions, seemingly inadequate pay, and for some of us — surgeons, anesthesiologists, ER physicians — horrific traumas that sometimes make us feel like we work in a battlefield. There are many things I wish I knew when embarking on my medical journey. I like to think it may have prepared me better for what was coming, but who knows? At the very least I hope it will be useful to you or someone you know who is considering a career in medicine.

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