I started radiology residency full of hopes and dreams on July 1st, 2015. I thought radiologists are the happiest and nerdiest bunches of doctors in the whole hospital. Sipping coffee, listening to Pandora station in a precisely dimmed room (dark enough to optimally visualize the beautiful PACS images, yet just enough light to not stumble on everything in the reading room), enlightening the medical world with diagnostic acumen from the shadows and Brownian motions of another human being’s physical body…

Mini’s new piece of empowerment from her summer at Toscana Art Studio.

The truth this, radiologists struggle with keeping up with the imaging study list that seems endless and self propagating.  We limit our bathroom breaks by Not drinking water or eating all day.  We politely answer the constant & relentless phone calls from the ED, the hospital wards, & the clinic, asking “Did you read that study yet?” “When can you read the study?”

I went from walking 6 miles daily seeing patients throughout the hospital as a preliminary intern, to barely walking a quarter mile during a 10 hour continuous work day as a PGY2 radiology resident. Sedentary life style is proven to be as bad as smoking tobacco as risks for developing peripheral artery disease. So the train rack CTA (vascular study) I’m reading now… could be me one day.



The worst of it all is the constant feeling of inadequacy, the vast amount of knowledge a practicing radiologist is expected to master is unfathomable to my small little mind. I thought was high functioning student when I posted a high USMLE score with only studying 1 hour/day maximum during MS1/2 while working 2 jobs and raising Mini Wise Money. The level of confidence I had in my ability to learn and apply knowledge was annihilated just a few weeks into first year radiology residency.

Contrary what my ex-co-interns who are now PGY2 medicine residents (peeps I love) believe, I was pretty down in spite of the 7-5pm & most weekends off schedule of PGY2 radiology resident.

I was miserable.




However, my misery turned into joyfulness, without a discrete dark-vs.-light switch in time or space, a few weeks ago (I wrote this near the end of PGY2.)

When I realized that I do know a little bit about radiology. Just enough so that I could build my fund of knowledge up from. Having gone through the various sub-specialty rotations in radiology the first round (where every day I felt absolutely inadequate and idiotic), and now returning to some of them a 2nd round, I feel different! It’s as if my eyes are opened for the first time, and I’m starting to see…

Before starting radiology residency, I wonder why the training is so long, 6 years including internship and fellowship. Now, I have no doubt that I need the full 6 years to learn the basics of radiology and become an effective radiologist.


My professional transformation from misery to joyfulness may parallel
someone else’s financial transformation from defeat to success.

What I’m trying to say is, a little (of anything, especially knowledge) goes a long way. 

1 is infinitely larger than 0.

We all got to start somewhere.

Having gone through PGY1 rads and learning simply how to utter sounds, see things, communicate findings like a new born, I can relate to those who find finances unfamiliar and cold.

I’ve reached out and been sought out to assist my peers, my attendings even, and other outside of work in personal finance. However, I sense the powerlessness many people feel in financial matters. I am saddened and sometimes discouraged by their dismay and how overwhelmed they feel. Frequent comments I hear are:

  • “I never paid attention to money. I feel like a financial dummy.”
  • “I have no idea where to start.”
  • “My family told me I’m a total failure when it comes to money.”
  • “I don’t trust banks with loans/interest rate deals – reminds me of vampires asking for permission to come into your house at night. They have their own interests in mind, not yours.”
  • “I’ll just pay someone else to take care of my money for me.”
  • “I’ll just deal with this when I get my first attending paycheck.”
  • “I don’t worry about it. I’ll make so much money* in a few years, I can fix everything then.”

*Brand new radiologists in private practice on partnership track usually makes 250-275k to start… that’s not that much money if you have 400k of student loan, house payment, no retirement savings, no college funds, a few credit card with revolving balances… and you are in your late 30’s. Starting today to build your financial fitness is the best way to tackle even the worst financial disasters.

My dear esteemed colleagues:

I’ve come realized that doctors are the least cared for & barely-supported professionals.

It behooves us to band together and help one another out.

May my humble efforts in blogging financial literacy & effective monetary decisions

assist you to get on solid financial grounds.

Let’s ascend this ladder together in all aspects of our lives, be it

intellectual, professional, physical, psychological, spiritual or financial…

i can do this


  • Share your insights, ideas, & questions to help one another out.
  • What and how can I do better as a blogger and colleague to help?
  • Is there anything in particular you want to learn about?

Feel free to comment below.

If you like this article, you might enjoy other DWM articles on Personal Finance, Investing, Retirement, Practice Management, & Lifestyle. All articles by DWM are for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a professional accountant, financial adviser or lawyer, before making financial decisions.

Mini started dabbling in Manga from her YouTube learning sessions and self study.



Misery to Joyfulness… Life as PGY (1 is infinitely better than 0)

2 thoughts on “Misery to Joyfulness… Life as PGY (1 is infinitely better than 0)

  • September 19, 2016 at 12:43 am

    DWM, kudos to you for completing and continuing your journey in radiology. You are no doubt an inspiration to family and friends around you.

    And, you’re right. Physicians are often unsupported professionals when it comes to finances. Most outsiders would write them off as “rich” and “spoiled”, not ever realizing the sacrifices made and the debt accumulated.

    Keep up the great content here for your fellow colleagues and all who read. You’re making a difference. 🙂

    • September 19, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words! i enjoy learning from your blog very much as well. i’m especially inspired by your introduction video, which was succinct and informative. i hope to make my video contents more succinct as well.


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