Jack Parker, ARCOM Class of 2023
Where are you a resident and in what specialty?
I’m a PGY-1 pathology resident at Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC) in Dallas, TX.
How do you manage work/life balance?
When still at ARCOM, I would usually treat the day like a 9-to-5 job (more like 7-to-7) where I’d do my best to get my work done during those hours allowing me the evening to enjoy dinner with friends, a movie night, or spending time catching up with my family, all relatively guilt free for not studying deep into the night. I’m an ardent advocate for sleep and spending quality time with loved ones, so I will ensure I keep some semblance of this lifestyle as it worked in the past. (Plus, it’s pathology, pretty good work/life balance in and of itself!)
What did you struggle with most during medical school?
It was always much easier said than done to not compare yourself to others. Watching my colleagues thrive during clinical rotations and have the motivation to study for Level 2 while I, frankly, did not. It made me feel like I was going to be hurting myself come time for residency applications. There were times I questioned why I chose medicine and if I’d made the right career choice.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Finding what I truly enjoyed in medicine, which was pathology, and immersing myself in studying the field. I spent a significant amount of time researching pathology residency, fellowship, and the job post-residency, all of which served as a mental break from the other course work and rotations that I was struggling to get through. I made sure to use these moments as a reminder of what’s to come and that there was a field for ME.
What has your experience been like in residency? Is it what you expected?
It’s a strange, yet exciting, yet humbling experience to transition from the “know-it-all OMS IV” to a first-year resident. The field of pathology there’s a steep learning curve to recognizing the patterns, allowing the lingo to become secondhand, and categorizing the vast number of possible diagnoses. However, I will admit the transition has been relatively smooth since I’m doing residency in my home city, I had completed four pathology audition rotations, and one of those rotations was at BUMC. Thus, I haven’t had to encounter as many “firsts” as I’m within my first few months of transitioning, much of which I attribute to actively seeking opportunities and putting forth time and effort into my audition rotations.
What are your biggest challenges in residency?
I suspect as I start to gain more independence it will become increasingly important to maintain the proper mindset about where I am in my training. Having a consistent reminder of keeping a marathoner’s pace rather than that of a sprinter will become crucial all while giving myself grace when I do hit those potholes along the way. This is what I’m meant to do, so let’s have fun while doing it and enjoy the process!