By graduation, you should have:
1. One attending who you want to emulate when you become a physician, and one who you vow never to be like.
2. A copy of Netter’s anatomy textbook never owned by anyone else.
3. The perfect tailored suit for your residency interviews, and the perfect outfit for the resident happy hour the night before.
4. A stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, and reflex hammer you’re not ashamed to carry around.
5. Step 1 scores you are proud to leave behind.
6. A patient story moving enough to retell until you’re an attending.
7. The realization that you’ll actually be an attending one day, and a loan repayment plan in place after graduation.
8. A Facebook and Twitter account cleaned up enough that any future patient can see it.
9. A resume that shows all your hard work during med school.
10. One classmate who helps you study, and another who helps you let loose on weekends.
11. Extra gauze, sutures, and trauma scissors in your white coat pocket.
12. Something engraved with “Your Name, M.D.” because you totally deserve it.
13. The knowledge that yes, after four years of hard work, you do deserve that M.D.
14. A sleep mask, a good coffee maker, and a plan for dealing with the night shift during residency.
15. A foundation for an incredible career in medicine, both in residency and beyond.
By graduation, you should know:
1. How to become a competent physician without becoming jaded.
2. When you’re going to squeeze in a significant other, and maybe even kids.
3. How to ask for help, challenge your resident, or disagree with your attending without failing the rotation.
4. When to shoot for Honors and when to be satisfied with that Pass.
5. How to ask your resident, “Is there anything else I can do?” in a way that communicates perfectly that you would like to go home.
6. The names of the Surgeon General, the “father of medicine,” and the barista at the hospital coffee shop.
7. How to sleep on a call room mattress, even if you already have a bad back.
8. Where to go — whether it’s the Student Lounge or the hospital gym — to clear your head when you’re coping with an emotionally difficult patient.
9. That you can’t change the med school you attended, the residency program you’ve been matched to, or the fact that you’ll be applying to fellowship all over again in a few years.
10. That the grades from your clinical rotations may not have been stellar, but at least you never have to go back to being a third year med student.
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for Honors or perfect board scores.
12. That nobody gets away with not studying, not giving presentations, and not taking responsibility for patients and still does well.
13. Which attendings are kind, which attendings are harsh, and why you can learn from both types.
14. To take responsibility for medical errors, even if they weren’t solely your fault.
15. Why some say life really begins with internship.