Med Life Toledo: Transitioning from Student to Professional

We’re following Sophia Toraby, a first-year medical resident pursuing her dream to become a surgeon, through her learning journey. She is a member of the first class of learners to receive their training as part of the Academic Affiliation between The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and ProMedica. You can connect with her by following and commenting on her monthly blog, Med Life Toledo, or by using #MedLifeToledo on social media.

Going from student to professional should be exciting, empowering, relieving—everything a young adult should want in life. While I could in some ways apply these adjectives to my current position, I have to admit I am more terrified than anything else.

Even after matching into a residency program or graduating medical school, I may have put M.D. at the end of my name without feeling the true weight of the title. There has been, up until this point, a sort of detachment from this reality—as if looking without touching.

My whole student life, as impassioned as I was about scientific discoveries and learning about the human body, I couldn’t help feeling like I was still waiting for my life to start. Only during my brief stint in AmeriCorps did I get a glimpse of my purpose by participating in patient care as a social worker for refugees.

So, for all the excitement and anticipation that led up to this, there is an equal and opposite reaction of dread. I don’t want to fail my patients. With that thought alone, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with the level of responsibility that is now on my shoulders.

“…for all the excitement and anticipation that led up to this, there is an equal and opposite reaction of dread. I don’t want to fail my patients.”

It has been such a long journey to even reach this point, and now I finally feel the fruits of all that work start to pay off. And I don’t just mean that I’m getting my first real salary. I am training for a profession that holds the authority, knowledge and skill to change people’s lives.

As a physician, I will look after and be looked up to by the elderly, educated, ignorant, wealthy, indigent, beautiful, broken, careless and innocent alike. I have taken an oath to treat all in my care with equal justice, to act only in their best interest and without intention of wrongdoing or harm.

This is my first blog entry of my first ever blog. I’m not usually the type of person to publicize my thoughts and feelings to everyone around me, but I do want to leave a record of what it feels like to embark on my training and share any perspective or insight I might gain along the way.

My first post would be remiss without an emblematically inspirational and corny quote, so I will choose one appropriately from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Being an Oberlin graduate, I do think that one person can change the world (as per our former school motto), even if it starts as that symbolic pebble diverting a stream. That’s the type of attitude I wish to bring not only to medicine, but especially Toledo. Although I may be an outsider to the area, I want people to know how much potential this city has, and how grateful I am for the people and opportunities here.

What is a residency?

During residency, medical school graduates train to become specialists in a field, such as pediatrics or surgery. Residents have earned the title of doctor but cannot practice medicine independently at the start of their residency. They work under the supervision of a senior, licensed physician and can write prescriptions, give medical orders and document in the medical record.

It was my undergraduate research summers here that founded my interest in The University of Toledo. Then, while I was a medical student at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the doctors who mentored me were relentless in their support for my education and future. It’s my turn to inspire a new generation.

Even in this blog, I hope to do more than educate people on important medical issues or talk about life as a resident. I want to highlight our exciting partnership with ProMedica, discover and suggest fitness activities around Toledo, promote health literacy, start discussions on improving patient care and more.

“…the doctors who mentored me were relentless in their support for my education and future. It’s my turn to inspire a new generation.”

Now that I have even a smidge of authority and responsibility, my whole vision for change can truly begin to be realized. Not that it wasn’t possible before, but the ideal way I wished to execute this goal would be through the field of medicine. By investing myself in the lives of others and shaping them with my own hands—sometimes quite literally—I shall create change, hopefully for the better. I can’t wait to share it all with you.

Sophia Toraby is a medical resident at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. She received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and continued her medical education at the University of Toledo. She is one of the first medical residents to be a part of the Academic Affiliation between the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and ProMedica.

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