It was the first time in a long time that I felt first day butterflies. I bumped into my friends on the walk over to Mt. Auburn Hospital and we strolled into the hospital lobby together. Several of our classmates were already there: the boys in ties, the girls in slacks or skirts, and everyone with a gray medical bag of stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs that we didn’t yet know how to use hanging from one shoulder.

Our medical director met us and took us up to four flights of stairs to a meeting room. We were instructed to put on our white coats and stethoscopes. The responsibility of the white coat felt heavy on my shoulders. We spent the first few weeks learning to function in a hospital. We fumbled with the coordination involved in using a manual blood pressure cuff, strained to hear differences in the lub dubs of patients’ hearts, and learned to manage the overwhelming amount of information that had to be obtained and written up through patient interviews and physical exams. Three months later, however, you would not have believed we were the same people.

I checked in on my patients every morning, gave reports of their progress to attending physicians, stayed at the hospital late into the night to handle emergencies, and taught patients what to do when they went home from the hospital. I learned to manage heart attacks, scrubbed in for surgeries, and held women’s legs as they delivered babies. I learned to speak in acronyms and deliver concise verbal summaries, i.e. "This is a 74-year-old female status post CABG in 2012 who presented to the emergency room with chest pain and dyspnea on exertion."

People do not usually associate MIT with medical studies. When people think of MIT, images of robots, machine shops, and powerful computers come to mind. MIT does not, after all, have a medical school. But my experiences at MIT have given me the best training I can imagine for a future devoted to healthcare innovation.