004: Dog Days

We’re officially halfway through June and almost halfway through 2017, which I am having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around. It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating my acceptance, and that was almost 5 months ago. Spring semester finals, graduation, and summer orientation zoomed by just like that. It’s definitely been a crazy few months to say the least.

As far as preparation for the fall goes, I recently attended what my school calls a “pre- summer orientation” in order to get some major paperwork out of the way. I felt like I was signing my life away, one sheet of paper after another, for all sorts of things–mentor preferences, photo releases, fingerprinting forms, etc. Immunizations have been another huge thing; in fact, just 3 days ago I had to get a shot in each arm and the first part of a 2-step TB test. So whoever said the pain is over once you’re in…you lied! And it doesn’t end there. In August, we have a 3-day orientation scheduled where we’ll undoubtedly have even more paperwork to fill out as well as getting tested for drugs and receiving our university IDs. But although it feels a little tedious, it’s mostly exciting to feel like I’m finally taking action and it definitely just sort of solidifies the fact that I am in medical school.

Aside from the mounds of paperwork, I also got a chance to briefly meet some of the people who will become my classmates. I say briefly because amidst all the hustle and bustle, I only got to really talk to 2 or 3 of them. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really an outgoing person. In fact, it can sometimes be really hard for me to work up the nerve to talk to someone, especially a stranger. I get pretty awkward, to say the least. I was a little worried because it almost seemed like a lot of people already knew each other from before. I, on the other hand, attempted having a conversation with one guy, only to see he ended up talking to the people sitting on the other side of him. Kinda sad, I know, but I can only laugh it off for now and hope I make life-long friends like the dean of admissions assured us we would. My school actually prides itself on being on the smaller side, with less than 100 students per class. We’ve been told repeatedly the small size of the class allows us to get to know each other really well, which I am sure will be the case. It’s just hard to reassure yourself of that sometimes when you know you’re not the best at making new friends. So here’s hoping!

The rest of the day was spent getting to know the town I’ll be calling home for the next year or so. I managed to find a pretty great place to live, close to campus and the train station which will be great for when I want to visit home. I won’t have a car on campus this year, so I’ll probably be biking everywhere (how environment-friendly of me). I’m pretty excited about getting to have my own apartment, so I can’t wait to move in come August. The town where my school is located isn’t huge, but since it’s a college town, there’s a lot of activity in and around campus; shops, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, you name it. Geographically (or demographically, you could say) it is a lot different, since it’s in the Southern part of the state, so it’s a lot greener and hillier, and the people seem a lot more open–I guess the myth about Southern hospitality isn’t a myth after all. I didn’t have time to explore every inch of the city but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunities for that once I’m living down there.

All in all, it’s been great getting to know my school and just getting used to the idea of what my life will be like in medical school for the next 4 years. As far as this blog goes, I know it’s been quite a while since my last post, but there weren’t many medically-related things going on for me to write about. My plan to “journal” my experiences is still a solid go, so once August comes around you can expect to be hearing a lot more from me. Until then, thanks for reading all the way through! And if you’ve got any tips for being less socially awkward, I’m all ears!

002: Match Day 2017

Today thousands of 4th year medical students across the country found out where they will be spending the next 3-4 years of their lives. It is a momentous occasion, worthy of celebration and excitement. My school’s Facebook page happened to be live streaming their match day ceremony and I managed to catch it in my feed. I saw smiling faces, eagerly receiving their envelopes, and counting down the minutes until they could open them all as a class in unison. Before opening, they were allowed to “break the scene” and leave their seats to go stand by their family and loved ones. And on the count of three, envelopes were ripped and slowly but surely…the squeals, the shouts of “YES!” and the happy chatter began to fill the room.

I watched in awe…it was a weird feeling, A) because I knew none of these people personally, had no idea what their stories were or the events in their lives that led them to this point, and B) despite all of that, I got excited for them. And I think the knowledge that some day it was going to be me opening my very own envelope got to me because I actually got chills (as cliche as that sounds).

I’ll never get to meet the class of 2017, but I know for them right now it’s not the end…it’s just the beginning. A lot of them are going out of state to places like Seattle and New York (so jealous!) , and others remain here. No matter where their career takes them, I know all of them will be successful doctors in their field. And getting to share in the excitement of match day for the first time only makes me more excited about what is to come!

001: Acceptance

It’s official. I’ve been accepted into medical school! It’s crazy, it’s unbelievable, I don’t feel like I deserve it…and yet, here I am–about to go from pre-med to full-fledged medical student. I’m unbelievably happy, relieved, worried, scared, excited, apprehensive, and just shell-shocked. I had honestly been preparing myself for the worst. I thought I’d end up having to re-apply in the next cycle. To have been staring for so long at a door you thought you’d never get to go through and now to be standing on the other side…It’s just an indescribable feeling.

I found out about my acceptance about 3 days ago, and right away I called my parents. Their responses were also a mix of thrilled excitement and apprehension. They were happy for me to be sure, but not psyched about me having to move so far away (I’m not even sure how I feel about it yet). I’ve also told my siblings and closest friends, but I have yet to make a big announcement on social media, mainly because I feel like it’s not official yet. I’m planning on sending in my acceptance form and deposit tomorrow, so maybe after that I’ll feel like it’s actually set in stone. In the meantime, I’ve actually been afraid to call myself a med student. It’s ridiculous, I know, but I feel like at any minute I’m gonna get an email saying “sorry, we sent you that acceptance letter by mistake”, etc.

The other part of me (the one I’ve been trying to keep in check) is super psyched, ready to buy school and office supplies, hunt for apartments and move in. That part of me needs to chill. I can’t deal with so much giddiness and excitement right now, especially knowing I have half a semester left of undergrad, plus all of summer after graduation. What kills me, though, is not having much information at the moment since I’ve yet to send in my acceptance.

If there’s one good thing that’s come out of this, it’s the feeling of relief. Knowing I’m done, I no longer have to worry about “will I or won’t I”, I know where I’ll be in the fall and there’s no more uncertainty about the future. I can actually look forward to graduation. And it’s the feeling of knowing God closed every single door except this one–that thanks to His mercy, I’m even able to attend medical school. It’s knowing the medical education I’ll receive is truly a gift from God, and I plan to give everything I have to do it right and to be great for Him.

Also, I’m finally leaving my hometown! Although, I am going to miss my family a lot.