When I arrived in Puerto Rico, questions swirled around in my head. It was September of intern year, and it was my first time attending a conference as a resident. Would I fit in among all these academic faculty? Was it even safe to stay there given the Zika outbreak? I calmed my nerves by exploring Old San Juan before the conference started. At the opening session I was pleasantly surprised by how approachable everyone was and was just starting to settle in when the lights flickered and then went off. We were all relieved when they went on a few minutes later, and I didn’t think about it again until an announcement at the welcome reception that the power was out on the whole Island. The speaker went on to say we should be okay as long as we didn’t leave the hotel. My heart sank. I was staying at a different hotel and my room was on the top floor. My fear was confirmed a few minutes later when I learned that my hotel did not have a backup generator. I asked one of the conference organizers what to do and after a few minutes was told that Marika Wrzosek had a space in her room and that I could stay with her. I’d like to say that the rest is history because that is how I came to write this article. Through Marika and the rest of the AAP leadership team’s kindness, I was able to enjoy the rest of the conference and and meet many new mentors, role models, and friends.
As our program recently celebrated match day, I found myself reflecting on how much I have changed over the course of one year. I have grown significantly into my role as a Physician and trainee while at the same time developing in my role as teacher and mentor to the students who rotated with me. Before doing a postbacc and attending medical school I worked in resident and medical student education. I attended medical school to gain better perspective on how to improve our medical education system but the path forward was not always clear. Having experienced the challenges of sleep deprivation, burnout, and self doubt, I realize how much work there is left to be done. I have come to understand that no one person can solve these problems alone. I have so many ideas, and I am so excited to have found an organization filled with other people who are just as excited about answering these questions.
AAP Bulletin – Summer 17, Page 5 of 7