The Meaning of Student-Run Free Clinics: Staying Connected to Your Purpose in Medical School
Gretchen Rubin famously coined the adage, “the days are long, but the years are short,” in her 2009 book “The Happiness Project.” These words were etched into my memory on the very first day of medical school when Dr. Roshini Pinto-Powell, our Dean of Students at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, offered her advice on maintaining a healthy perspective throughout the four challenging years to come. This phrase has a unique meaning to different people, but as I am sure many current and former medical students can attest, the days can be even longer than you think. Long days sitting in a lecture hall, endless afternoons spent poring over an infinite pile of textbooks and notes, and eternal nights spent in a library sifting through case study after case study. So what makes it all worth it? What is your purpose in medical school that gets you through the day? Undoubtedly, these are very personal questions. Questions every medical student knows the answer to without hesitation until those long days seem even longer. We are always told not to forget this purpose, but the hardest task is finding out how.