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No matter what path you take in your medical career, exhaustion is going to, at some point, slam into you during your medical school and residency career. And it will happen multiple times. I wanted to take a small opportunity to share some words of wisdom about the exhaustion you will experience. First off, EVERYONE in medicine has felt it! No matter how tough or stoic those who came before you may seem, they have had these moments of overwhelming fatigue, dread, and loneliness. However, these moments are growing pains to what you will become. You will grow and adapt into a stronger professional who will know how to handle these moments in the future with grace. It is, above all else, to know that you are not alone. There is always someone available to talk to or lean on, whether it be a friend, colleague, or a family member. Never feel alone.

Secondly, you will learn more in the moments when you feel as though you have nothing left to give. You will wake up the next morning having made through the rough patch smarter, more experienced, and capable of overcoming obstacles in the future. There will be multiple times when you want to bail, but you will make it through everyday. It gets easier, and you will rest eventually. All shifts end, tests come and go, you will pass off the pager to someone else, and you will get a break!

Lastly, look at the rough moments as the biggest teachers. You learn the most significant lessons when you are working hard and pushing yourself to be better. Experience is heavy and grueling, but it will make you grow into a very well prepared physician. It gets easier. I promise you. And which that said, take the opportunities to take care of yourself. Put time aside when you are off, and a few hours a day to be normal! You deserve it. And you’ve earned it. Exhaustion is difficult, but it makes the breaks so much better and enjoyable. You become more appreciative of the world around you, and those who make you happy. Exhaustion is a part of the growing and learning that you will experience. Never feel alone. There is always someone who has felt what you have felt. And what you are feeling is totally normal. Reach out and talk to someone. It may be difficult, but it’s somthing that will make all the difference.

You are stronger than you could possibly know and have more potential than I can put into words. You can do this if you just work hard, be kind, and look out for one another. It’s not always going to be easy, you will make big mistakes professionally and personally. You are human, you will get through them and learn from them. When exhaustion hits, take a moment to look around, you will find that there are multiple people in the exact same boat as you. Find comfort in that and shove on, you are strong.

Leandra Jelinek, D.O.