Hey you. I don't mean to blow your mind, but I'm you, writing from the future. No, you are not on Punk'd, I assure you. You don't believe me?
Well, I know you have a crush on that cute guy in your class you went to coffee with the other day. The one you talked to for hours, losing track of time. You are going to be married in 6 years. I know, score! Your wedding day is going to be the most perfect day, ever, complete with birds chirping and a gentle breeze blowing. Don't be scared by the weather forecast. The clouds will literally part that day.
Are you with me?
I wanted to pass on some advice because I think it will save you a lot of stress and anxiety. Listen, all of those years of stress and anxiety about everything from career choice to thoughts about the future and families really can add up (really add up = multiplying white hairs = a return to getting highlights again = major upkeep commitment = $$$). So, in essence, I'm saving you time and money by sending you this note.
1) Go with you heart when choosing a specialty.
I remember how much you wrestle with this. I know it's hard sometimes to imagine what you might like to be in the future, but whatever you choose will have to sustain you intellectually over the years. Do what you love. Do what challenges you. Your career is going to take a few unexpected turns (I'm convinced that it always does), but it will lead you to where you are now, in the future, and it is so meaningful and fulfilling for you. If you love what you do, you'll find a way to have the kind of life you want in that specialty. You'll "make it work," (reference to a show in the future that you will absolutely adore.)
2) Having children does not mean giving up on your career.
You may think now that choosing to have children early on in your career will necessarily mean a hiatus from doing anything productive, career-wise, for many, many years. You may be resigned to not being able to accomplish your career goals because of this. Don't. Because I'll tell you that having time constraints because of your family can make you that much more productive during your other times. You'll have rushes of creativity, of ideas, moving ahead productively in ways you would never have imagined.
3) Having children will make your life unbelievably rich.
It's amazing. It's all that you dreamed of and more. Go for it. (But, no need to rush in - enjoy the alone time with your husband - travel, explore, really solidfy your two-ness. Children are wonderful but you'll miss that two-ness later on.)
4) Take calcium supplements now. Hello, peak bone mass?
5) When making your residency rank list, remember that it is MOST important to be around people you love who can support you, not the fine details of the program.
6) Dream big.
Don't stop setting high goals for yourself. Don't settle. As a woman in medicine, as a mother in medicine, you can do great things. Dream big.
See you in the future,