EDIT: Here's my version of one of those long-winded "reflection" threads... People like NickNaylor have pretty much handled that topic, so hopefully this one will lighten the mood a little! Here I am, exactly one week into the rest of my life as a physician. Some would argue that first impressions serve an important purpose, and I can't help but notice a theme that has persisted thus far in medical school. Perhaps it is because the final Harry Potter film was just released (adios, childhood!), but everywhere I go- from our lecture halls in the tower to our labs to our dungeons, er, CT scanner basement- the medical center where I am starting my training just screams Hogwarts. It doesn't help that my former mailman is a bearded giant, but when I received my acceptance letter, I immediately felt welcomed into an exciting- and confusing- world. I began to consider my non-medical friends muggles. Their perplexed facial expressions whenever I mentioned anything pertaining to medicine confirmed the divide between "us" and "them". Now, as I walk down the cavernous corridors of our medical school, which shares a building with several research labs, I can peer into any random window to see an array of magical-looking scientific equipment. Some brightly colored, foul smelling potions line the tabletops in room 11-103B. Lightning bolts arc through the laboratory across the hall. And for some reason, there's a disproprtionate number of people in long coats who resemble Dumbledore, and they all keep telling me, "Don't worry, son, you'll understand in due time". My white coat has become my robe, and I sometimes feel an impulse to yell "expelliarmus!" and disarm my classmates with the beam of light coming from the tip of my opthalmoscope. But that's just my inner gunner... Or inner Hermoine, if you will. And there is no way I am the only one who notices the abundance of Latin roots shared between anatomy lab and charms class. But of course, no journey into the world of magic is complete without the dark side. We may not be fighting a slithery bald guy without a nose, but we will indeed be combating diseases that may cause pale, dry skin, hair loss, and for the future plastic surgeons out there, we can learn how to lessen overall nasal mass, so to speak. It seems like many of the pharmaceuticals we will be using to fight disease share the same mechanism: "We don't exactly know how it works yet, but it works". I challenge you, reader, to find a more appropriate example of real-world magic. So, as your medical journey begins, ask yourself this: What kind of wizard will you be? Will you be the Hermoine of your class- buried in books, your hand shooting upwards as if it were spring loaded, and wishing for a time machine necklace so you can do extra schoolwork? Or you may be Ron- not the top of the class intellectually, but making up for it tenfold in loyalty, determination, and comic relief. But one thing that we all share is a little bit of Harry-ness. To enter the world of medicine requires deep, raw courage, from individuals who will not shy away from a challenge, but rather run head first toward it. We are staring into the face of some of the world's greatest evils- I, for one, would much rather battle a hundred foot basilisk than cancer or heart failure or necrotic fasciitis (seriously, look it up). But that is the true magic behind medicine- unlike Harry, "the chosen one", we have all made our own deliberate decision to be here. So go forth, future sorcerers of the stethoscope, and have confidence throughout your journey. If Harry Potter can save the world by the time he was 17, medical school should be a piece of cake... with chocolate frogs on top.