So, I’m a doctor now.
I’ve spent a lot of time moving towards this goal: about a third of my life spent in post graduate education moving towards getting this one piece of paper. But, surprisingly, I spent very little of that time actually imagining what it would feel like to finally get there. In medical school, doctors would occasionally call me “Dr. __” to the patients, and I’d always bite back that “I’m not a doctor yet!” that wanted to escape.
I still find myself having to bite that back now. Because now I am a doctor.
As of yet, I find being a doctor a little bit like being an adult. Adulthood is one of those things that, as children, we mythologize. For our late teens and early twenties, I think most people wonder, “hey, when am I going to finally feel like and adult?” At least for me, in my late twenties, I’ve made peace with the knowledge that adulthood isn’t like a threshold I crossed, or a switch that was flipped; that how I feel now is what it feels like being an adult, because adulthood is a spectrum, variable and individual.
I think perhaps being a doctor is like this.
Sure, there was a moment where I passed over the stage, and the Dean shook my hand, but feeling like a doctor isn’t a down to that handshake. Feeling like a doctor is something that will evolve for me as I as move through my career. It will be different as I start my residency, as I finish my residency and as I move through my practice. How I feel now about being a doctor is a valid way to feel.
Because I’m a doctor, and this is how I feel.
Aware, likely, of the fact that none of us speak Latin, the school included a translation of the degree with the degree itself. The text reads:
To all about to see these letters, greetings. By these letters we, having being appointed to this duty by the highest authority in the Province, certify that we have made _________ a Doctor of Medicine, since she has completed with industry the prescribed programme of studies and has duly carried out all the training required thereto, and that we have bestowed upon her all the honours, rights and privileges which pertain to that degree.
I like this phrasing very much. The idea that, my medical degree greets all those who see it, and that it bestows upon me the honours, rights and privileges of being a doctor. It does not mention, but it is always on my mind, that it to has bestowed upon me the duties of being a doctor, and that isn’t something I take lightly. The next two years of my life are going to be busy, and at times very hard. But this is the life I want, and this is the goal I’ve achieved, and I’m pretty honoured and privileged by it.
So. To all about to see these letters, greetings.
I’m a doctor.