Holy shit, new residents are starting on Wednesday! Residency, for me, was such a far cry from medical school. When I started residency, it was back in the "dark ages" of medicine. Read: prior to the (oh so benevolent) 80 hour work week. That's right. I worked 120 hour weeks in my first 2 years. Uh huh. I'm the monsta. But seriously...I did have weeks when I was on call Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. 36-48 hours on, 6-8 hours off. It was unbelievable. Surreal. I often fell asleep in my bed after a (much needed) shower with a Smirno.ff Ice or Be.er in my hand. I remember holding a retractor for a vag hyst, in an oncology case, at 9 pm, when I was post-call. I had tears streaming silently under my surgical mask. I thought I was going to die. But, guess what? I did not die. Not physically, anyway.
Residency isn't as hard as it used to be, but the principles remain the same. Work. Your. Ass. Off. I mean that. In order to be a good intern/resident, you'd better work (now turn it to the left). Pay attention in morning rounds. Make check boxes and lists. Make sure the labor and post-partum floors are taken care of when you are the OB resident. Be sure that all Gyn cases are covered, pre-opped, and post-opped when you are the Gyn resident. Be everywhere at every time. Seriously. I mean this.
A good resident knows his/her patients. Labs are checked often. Notes are written. Labor progress is always recorded. Gyn patients are rounded on 4 hours post op, AM, and PM. Know your patients better than the attendings know them. Be able to regurgitate labs, post-op blood loss, and diet orders. Help your fellow residents and interns. Don't throw people under the bus. Work as the team. If someone isn't sleeping, then *no one* is sleeping. Divide and conquer. Be nice to the nurses. Round on the floors and give universal "Wal-Mart orders" to the floors before you try to lay down (IE. if they can buy it at Wal-Mart ~heating pad, Tylenol, Tums, fan~ they can have it!)
Help your junior residents, and teach them how to run the board. There is no such thing as a "little" case. Scrub in on as many surgeries as humanly possible. I don't care if you have seen a million c-sections, scrub in on the next one....it may be a C-hyst. You need as much surgical exposure as humanly possible. Especially now in the restricted 80 hour work week.
If you have to do research for your residency graduation...do it NOW. Do not wait until your Senior year when you are trying to interview for jobs, study for written boards, and get licensed. Do the research early. Just suck it up and do it. Be good to your nurses, and they will be good to you. Don't whine. Don't ever let them see you cry. Stick up for yourself. Enjoy your time off. If you are considering a family, residency is a decent time to have a kiddo. Just be ready for the way your fellow residents will treat you. Especially if you are in a small program. No one wants to work more than they have to work, but you may never have so many people to cover your absence again. Don't delay your personal and family life for residency. Take care of yourself. Don't eat those fries with a grilled cheese at 2 am because you "deserve it." Exercise. Leave your job at work. Stay in touch with family and friends.
Learn as much as you can. When you go out into the "real world" you will wish that you did more surgery and paid more attention in clinic. Even when it sucks, you can do it. Even when you think you won't make it, you will. One day you will look back and 4 years of residency will be over...seemingly instantaneously. You can do it. One foot in front of the other. Life on the other side is good. Keep moving.