After enjoying what could possibly be my last pre-retirement 5 week vacation with a family trip to Italy, setting an alarm last night to bring me back to the real world was a bit unwelcomed. But after my first day of residency, my main thought is, Wow! I get to do this every day for my career! That’s awesome. Being an eye doctor is great.
I felt like I was acting as someone else introducing myself as Dr. White to my patients today. It’s an interesting transition to begin to identify yourself as something different from how you previously saw yourself. I imagine it might be similar in some respects to how women who change their names feel after they get married. Most of us have spent the majority of our pasts being students, with jobs possibly throughout the school-year or in the summertime, but our main “job” was being a student. Making the transition, which academically we know we are ready to make, psychologically takes a bit longer. Each time my preceptor would refer to me as Dr. White to my patients, I was giddy and had to hide my face so my patient wouldn’t see how much I was smiling over hearing it.
I realize this is possibly a little overzealous for being only three patients deep, and after all it’s just a title, but for me it signifies all the hard work and effort me and my classmates have put in and confirms for me that I can do this. I left with a feeling of all those hours of studying, all the financial debt, all the stress will be worth it. We are going to have great careers as optometrists, Class of 2013, whatever path we choose to take.
In the office I saw a roster of all the current residents. I felt so proud seeing so many of my classmates names followed by O.D. in print. We’ve worked hard for it.
Not that having this new phase doesn’t come with its fair share of responsibilities. I’m a bit overwhelmed with a stack of papers of information from everything to parking passes to life insurance and retirement plans. Do I want my paycheck sent to my checking or savings account? What mutual funds should I be investing in? Do I file “0” or “1” for my taxes? Not to mention trying to find a parking space for my car during non-clinic hours, a task that in most other parts of the country cannot be as difficult as this to find. All these new tasks to welcome us into the world of adulthood and start us along the path of fiscal independence.
As excited as I am from day 1, I know this year will bring with it A LOT to learn, in aspects of life, not just optometry. My skills felt a bit shaky coming off nearly a month and a half without having used them, but it’ll all come back and then be refined from there. I guess that’s all a part of the game, accepting where you’re at while being open to what the future holds.