Third year of medical school is like learning to ride a bike

I could see the excitement on my six-year-old daughter’s face as we pulled into the parking lot and unloaded her new bike from the car. She had been anxiously awaiting this moment for several weeks — she was going to learn to ride a bicycle. She watched with increasing interest as I unscrewed the training wheels, tightened her handlebars and handed her the bike. She got on her new bike and with me holding onto the back of the seat and started to pedal. “Let go, Daddy,” I heard her say. She was ready to be “big,” and “big girls” don’t need help riding their bike.“Try to balance first,” I told her, “and then it’s all yours.”

After practicing for a few minutes, I thought she was ready to go solo, and I let go of the seat. Within seconds, she fell. She was disappointed but determined to try again. This was going to be harder than she thought. She once again mounted her bike, but this time she was not quite so sure she wanted me to let go. When I did let go, she would stay upright for a few seconds, travel half a parking space and fall. Sometimes I caught her in time, sometimes not. Despite the bruises on her little legs and the scrapes on her little knees, she was not to be deterred. She had a mission and that was to learn to ride a bike like a grown-up because she was big. Training wheels were not for big girls.

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