Three lessons from the first year of residency

Three students wearing white lab coats and backpacks stand together in a well-lit hallway, looking at books and engaging in conversation.

In your first year of residency, you’ll be very busy. You know that you’ll be working long hours. But what else can you expect? We have some lessons from doctors who have been there:

  1. Stick to a budget and savings plan. First, get your finances squared away by creating a realistic budget, and make a plan to save some of your money every month. Make a note of your fixed expenses- things you have to pay like housing and loan repayments, and discretionary spending, things like groceries and entertainment. And try to keep your fixed expenses to no more than 50% of your paycheck.
  2. Create a loan repayment strategy. You have student loans, so it’s a good idea to make a plan to tackle them. Look into loan forgiveness plans like  Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) . And the best plans are usually pay-as-you-earn instead of income-based repayment, since with pay-as-you-earn, you only pay 10% of your discretionary income.
  3. Focus on becoming the best doctor you can be. This is important. Your job in residency is to learn the skills and professionalism you need to be the best doctor. Remember why you’re here.
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