Our orientation for third year consisted of a very confusing mix of "it will be the best year of your life" and "it will be the worst year of your life." Someone gave a lecture imploring us to "wear a rain coat", or essentially have a thick skin. Though I grew up knowing that emotions need to be processed not bottled, I took his advice because I felt I had to. Though I did well clinically and academically, months of denying myself my own emotions was psychologically disastrous.
I now advise first and second years and struggle with what to tell them about the wards. How do I balance the bad (the wards are often isolating, disorientating, dehumanizing) and the good (you learn so much, you are so much more capable than you know, you will find your path)? How do I encourage students to process the challenges they will face while acknowledging the reality that in a twelve hour day on the wards, there isn't time to process and you do sometimes need a thick skin?
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