So with the calendar being at the appropriate point, I had an editorial theme all teed up dealing with the start of the new academic year for residents and medical students. I try not to make a habit of borrowing these ideas, but I am the first to bow to better execution.

Back in 2003, the editor of the British Medical Journal asked his editorial board to share their suggestions for his upcoming address to an incoming class of medical students.With a tip of the cap to Richard Smith, BMJ editor, here is a path to follow whether you’re starting your career as a student or starting your day as a clinician:

• Learn to cope with uncertainty.

• Challenge what you are taught, especially if it seems inconsistent or incoherent.

• Regard your knowledge with humility.

• Be yourself at all times.

• Enjoy yourself.

• Try to practice medicine with the same ethics and principles you believed in when you started medical school.

• Never be afraid to admit your ignorance.

• Medicine is not only clinical work but is also concerned with relationships, team work, systems, communication skills, research, publishing, and critical appraisal.

• Treat your patients with the same care and respect as if they were your loved friends or family.

• Cure is not what everyone is expecting from you: your patients and their families may be just seeking Support, a friendly hand, a caring soul.

• Outside the family there are no closer ties than between doctors and patients.

• Don’t believe what you read in medical journals and newspapers.

• Aim at knowing how to learn, how to get useful medical information, and how to critically assess information.

• The first 10 times you do anything— present a patient, put in an intravenous catheter, sew up a laceration—will be difficult, so get through the first 10 times as quickly as possible.

• Although you should not be afraid to say “I don’t know” when appropriate, also do not be afraid to be wrong.

• Cherish every rotation during your training, even if you do not intend to pursue that specialty, because you are getting to do things and share experiences that are special.

• When you have a bad day because you are tired, stressed, overworked and underappreciated, never forget that things are much worse for the person on the cold end of the stethoscope. Your day may be lousy, but you don’t have pancreatic cancer.