We don’t even have to ask, and you certainly don’t need to get out your credentials.
It’s so obvious that you are a medical student.
And it’s not just the short white coat and student identification badge half-hidden in your linen pocket that says it all.
We’ve seen you at all hours around the hospital during your clinical rotations. You tend to appear a half-hour before everyone else, just in time to commandeer the most functional computer in the medical break room. You also tend to come and go as you please throughout the day. I hear this may be due to mandatory teaching sessions — my instincts tell me otherwise.
You have been spotted at odd places around the patient wards. For instance, during a medical emergency, we will note you webbed against the far corner of the patient room as if Spider-Man just had his way with you. Yet during periods of calm, it is you that is coming and going to patient rooms, gifting patients with mini-bottles of orange juice as you sit beside them to hear their life stories.
The way you interact with your fellow medical student colleagues at work ubiquitously calls out your job description. It’s not the content of what you say to each other as you cross paths in the hospital hallways that leaves your identity utterly exposed. Rather it is the way your eyes transmit a complex but mutual signal of despair and competition that clearly says it all.
And outside of the hospital? You think you can bust out in plainclothes and try to come off as just another civilian, but you and I both know this is far from the case.
Let’s start with your street style. Given that 90 percent of your wardrobe is exclusively purchased from the biannual friends and family deal at Banana Republic, your casual doctor-wear clearly precedes you.
Sources also hint at your line of work when they reveal your tenacity to purchase one small coffee for every eight hours you study for your shelf exams at the hip downtown café. While I respect your ability to eschew being escorted out by its owners, I do think that packing daily sandwiches in a place that clearly serves provisions while installing a bronze-bordered nameplate at your favorite table is perhaps a little overboard.
My love life? Does that expose my area of study?
Online dating and not-so-clandestine library pick-ups: The one time you used the “doctor card” and failed = medical school student = you.
Take home point
Regardless of where you go and what you do, it is so obvious that you are a medical student.
You might ask why, after the quickest of introductions, do I know this much to be true?
Because I’m just. That. Good.
Fades away in sweater vest and cell phone belt holster.
Brian J. Secemsky is an internal medicine resident who blogs at the Huffington Post. He can be reached on Twitter @BrianSecemskyMD and his self-titled site, Brian Secemsky MD. This article originally appeared in LeadDoc.