Reflecting on My First Year as an Internal Medicine Resident

May 31, 2023

Dr. Silvia Cherian, PGY-1 Internal Medicine resident, shares her personal journey through her first year of residency below!

Describe yourself and your journey in studying medicine.  

Growing up, I had a fascination with physiology, pathophysiology and wellness. I saw how diseases, mild or severe, can impact someone’s quality of life. With the right doctor and adequate guidance, a lot of the negative outcomes of having a disease can be mitigated. I also started to enjoy reading and learning about Ayurveda, an ancient science rooted in India that believes in holistic medicine through diet, lifestyle and even natural treatments. I knew I wanted a good understanding of anatomy to understand physiology. This interest led me to Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I received my medical degree. I learned to identify anatomical landmarks through the physical exam, evaluate the dynamics of the human body and associate them with diseases and treatment options.  

Although I was raised in India for a few years, Georgia is home to me. I completed the majority of my schooling including elementary, middle and high school in Lawrenceville. Then, I received an undergraduate degree in Athens and a masters and medical degree in Suwanee. During this journey, I found Northeast Georgia Medical Center. I initially worked as a unit assistant on the ortho/neuro floor and then as an imaging specialist in the radiology department. This is how I was able to understand and assess the culture, values and outlook at this hospital system. I didn’t have to think too hard about where I wanted to start my residency in internal medicine.  

What is your perspective so far as you enter your second year of residency? 

It’s hard to believe that I’m approaching the end of the first year of my residency. These past few months of training have opened my eyes to how complex but rewarding this career is. I’ve made so many connections that are truly memorable. There is no doubt that intern year was challenging. After all, residency is a time where I can grow, despite all the struggles, with the guidance of experienced attendings, co-residents and other ancillary staff.  

What are you doing to stay healthy and maintain wellness during residency?

I learned to prioritize and make residency an enjoyable experience. I had to accept that I must put in extra effort now to be able to confidently practice on my own in a few years. But, I also find time to see family, spend time with friends and do things that I enjoy on the side. A huge shoutout to Noha, my partner, best friend, counselor and study buddy, for supporting me through this journey! Although it is difficult, not sacrificing sleep has also been a huge determinant of my overall wellness. Before starting intern year, I made a plan of what I wanted to accomplish, including taking board exams early, attending a conference and being involved in research at a rate where I could also maintain wellness. Although it’s tempting, I try not to take on more projects than I can handle. Intern year was for adapting to new responsibilities, living the residency life, building discipline and learning faster than ever before.  

What else would you like to share with others? 

I’m excited to start the second year of my residency. With all the advancements in medicine and more changes on the horizon, there’s a lot to look forward to. I’m very thankful for my choice of residency, the hospital system, my attendings and my co-residents. Residency is a huge commitment. I hope all residents can light their path daily rather than wait for the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone is working so hard; don’t forget to cherish each day and take care of yourself.  

Learn more about the Internal Medicine residency program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.