This is going to be the only happy thread in this entire Counselling section, isn't it? I get nervous, but never afraid. They say confidence untested isn't confidence at all. When your superiors lay into you, you smile and take it, or you bite back hard. I've done both, with different results. Generally, doing the latter gets me in trouble, but I made a firm decision not to get trampled on by anyone, period. Effective? Maybe. Mature? Hardly not. But I made a decision and would do it again if given the chance. I've worked with men and women (mostly men) who are considered the intellectuals, the hardasses, the demanding, the critical, the challenging, the encouraging. Their teaching styles may take on the form of simple guidance, direct instruction, didactical lecture, or--and this is always loads of fun...--throwing a student directly to the sharks and seeing if they drown or not. However, they all want to see a second generation follow in their footsteps with the level of competence they expect. It is a rite of passage, a crucible of fire. Many of you here probably would bitch and moan if put into a situation where a supposed mentorly figure continually tests your patience with humiliation, the continual grinding down of your supposedly vast intellect, and overworked schedules that keep you on your toes from 5 in the morning to 7 in the evening while still being expected to study on the side. I don't complain (much, anyway; there have been days....) and I don't dodge work. Largely because I know I have it a little easier than others. Three of my colleagues are currently married. Two have children. Three are engaged. Three are divorced within a year of two of entering medical school. One has two infants, a stressed wife and in-laws, is overworked, is underpaid, and has far more responsibilities than any of the rest of us can ever dream of. Somehow, they juggle the hardasses, the critical, and the demanding doctors trying to teach them. They juggle the schedules, the call nights, the chaos, the bookwork, the nerve-wracking exams, the long hours away from spouse and children. They juggle the continual drain on their confidence. And all this with whatever zaniness or tragedy is waiting for them back home. Somehow, I've managed to remain in a stable, healthy, happy relationship with a beautiful young woman. I've managed to pass everything. I've only pissed off two doctors (believe me, at least two other med students have tanked with more than that....). I'm still in trim form and even managed to put on 10 pounds of muscle over the last year. Hell, I even get sex more than twice a week, which is a lot more than I was expecting going into this thing. I miss being able to play on the piano for hours on end. I've lost a lot of interest in following the latest video games and anime, so I don't miss those as much. I miss being able to box and fence as frequently. But these minor sacrifices pale in comparison to what some of my colleagues have to deal with. One of us is on call on Easter Sunday, even. Another had to do the dreaded Christmas day call. All in all, I'm quite happy with things. I'm healthy, I'm in love, I'm passing, I'm cheerful, I'm getting laid a lot more than I thought I would this semester, I got 15 more months until I graduate, and I'm built like the goddamned Batman. Really, the only things I have any complaints about is that one fucking jackass of a surgeon and the fact that I'm the shortest guy on the rotation.