totem poll
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totem pole
Red arrow shows where the poor, inconspicuous med student is standing

SOMEWHERE AT THE BOTTOM BUT DEFINITELY FAR FROM THE TOP – Realizing that the commonly-used phrase to depict medical hierarchies is not a metaphor, first-year medical student Samuel Klein sizes up the task at hand before he begins his long, long climb up the physical totem pole.

“It’s much taller than I thought,” explained a grim Klein as he stands with hands on hips (see picture above with red arrow) gauging the true awesome height of this thing.  “I will need sustenance.”  Klein raided available nurses stations‘ drawers for graham crackers and ketchup packets, which will hopefully nourish him during this arduous journey.  “Wish me luck.”

For a first-year medical student like Klein, it is expected that his trek to the top of the totem poll will take at least 7 to 8 years, maybe more, depending on the specialty he chooses along the uphill climb.  That is also assuming, however, that he doesn’t quit or plummet to his death along the way.

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