You’ve heard it’s that big, beautiful light at the end of the third-year tunnel. Well, not quite, because it’s even better than that! Fourth year is whatever you want it to be. Most people choose a few “real” rotations right at the beginning to get those final letters of recommendation and to make sure they actually know what they want to do. After that, it’s completely elective. Want to study the effect of juggling on happiness in pediatric inpatients? Awesome. Want to spend a month learning about wilderness medicine by visiting the Colorado backcountry? Great. Sure, there’s matching and residency to think about, but there’s plenty of support to manage those big questions. Meanwhile, you can get a taste of life in the intensive care units. (Surgery? Neonatal? Up to you!) And you can daydream about where to travel with your friends on your two months of vacation. Fourth year is amazing at Wash U, there’s just no way around it.
— Hallie M., M4