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This is my first week as a clinical student! It’s exciting to start my first clerkship – obstetrics and gynecology. It was a little bit nerve-racking to be given a schedule for the month on the first day without any idea of what to expect. However, before I tell you about my first week, let me give you a glimpse of how incredible it was to have a few weeks off between second year and third year.

Up near Yavapai point before we hit Slim Shady trail

I spent my vacation in Arizona and Texas. Even though we’ve had a mild winter in Ann Arbor, it was great to spend time in warmer places! This was a chance to truly decompress: I was without my computer for a whole week for the first time in a long time. I enjoyed taking in the sights with my fellow classmate Crystal as we hiked many of the trails in Sedona, and had an awesome time at the botanical gardens in Phoenix learning all about cacti. We even tried fried cactus in Sedona (really interesting flavor, would recommend).

One of my favorite parts of the trip was looking out on the night sky in Sedona and realizing how many more stars I could see than when I’m in Ann Arbor. Having a chance to reset my brain was fantastic given the chaos that can come with learning in medical school and also with being in the hospital. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to take some of that calm and relaxation with me. Even when things are really busy, it’s nice to be able to remember and to channel those quiet moments of peace.

Amazing pies in Dallas with Michelle! After hearing about Emporium Pies from M3 classmate Kayla, I had to go.

In the second half of my trip, my close friend Michelle showed me around Dallas, Texas. We had a wonderful time trying out many of the restaurants in the city while catching up. I don’t think my taste buds have been happier.

After coming back to a busy week of M3 orientation, I also went to watch the 99th annual Galen’s Smoker, an incredible musical production put together by medical students to roast the faculty. It’s crazy to think we are in our “third year” of medical school since it has been closer to 18 months since we started. We are the first class at Michigan to start clerkships before taking our first board exam (Step 1). I’m currently on the labor and delivery floor and have started in an Ob-Gyn continuity clinic. I have loved my first few days! It just feels like magic to go from having one patient to two. I’m also loving taking a deeper dive into women’s health than we do in the pre-clinical curriculum. It is taking some time to learn how to approach self-directed learning based on clinical encounters, but I’m hopeful that I’m on the right path.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to hit the books and read more about my patients!

Nonie Arora is a third-year medical student at University of Michigan Medical School. She is deeply invested in health policy initiatives and quality improvement research. She can be followed on Twitter @nonie_arora.