Starting medical school has undoubtedly been one of the biggest life changes I have ever made. The hours, the juggling of personal and professional life, making new friends and losing touch with old, figuring out what is due and when, learning humility, understanding that you don’t understand, and many more things that can all make you feel as though you don’t belong.
The topic of social isolation came up during our discussion today along with what is known as ‘impostor syndrome’. Both of these topics, in my opinion, hit medical students at some point throughout their career. In fact, I’m betting that most physicians still feel like they are ‘posing’ to be someone. When you realize that you’re considered to be a “doctor” when residency starts, but you feel like you don’t know anything… THAT is impostor syndrome. When you become an attending physician and you no longer have anyone to “page” to ask for a right or wrong answer, but you feel like you have no idea what to do… THAT is impostor syndrome.
In medicine, we’re all trained by top professionals in our field to notice the detail, and yet we become someone completely different before we even notice we’ve changed. I find this concept to be extraordinarily empowering. To recognize that through all the struggle, lost sleep, and mental frustration, you’re becoming a professional, even when you don’t necessarily feel it.
"Try trying. You’ll be surprised what you’re capable of."