006: Last Day of M1

Holy moly. Today was my last official day of M1. The year is far from over, of course, since we still have a whole week of exams to get through. Still, it feels so weird to think about the fact that I’m already 1/4 of the way through. I suppose it’s because the process to get into med school is SO long and arduous, that it’s unbelievable how fast time flies once you’re actually in.

Maybe this is TMI, but earlier this morning as I entered the bathroom on the second floor of the med building, I couldn’t help but recall the first time I ever entered it. It was during orientation, and we all had to pee in cups for our drug test (I was clean, fyi). Perhaps not the most delightful experience to think about, but it also got me thinking about how I felt that day, interacting with the strangers who would become dear friends, and feeling quite overwhelmed after receiving so much information about the curriculum requirements, school policies, etc. To think that a little over 9 months later, the novelty has completely worn off, and mostly I just feel exhausted, hungry, and ready to get these exams over with.

It’s also fun to think about the next couple years. I still have so much to learn, and so much to experience. I’m still nowhere near close to knowing what I want to specialize in. This year alone I’ve jumped from pediatrics, to cardiology, to pediatric cardiology, to neurology, to OB/GYN, and now to endocrinologist. You can see I’m gonna have a tough time with this decision in the future, lol. But as mentioned in a previous post, I’ve learned to trust the process. I know at this stage I’m not ready to know what I want to do yet, and that’s completely okay. I’ll know eventually. Three years is a long time, and all the things I have yet to experience and learn from will make the decision easier. In the meantime, I can only focus on the challenges I face presently and nothing more.

And that’s my cue to end this post. My 20-minute study break is close to over, and I must get back to the grind. Maybe in the summer when I have more time (ahh!) I can share with you guys some good study tips I’ve learned and what I consider to be the best study music of all time. Until next time!

005: Apologies

I’m going to go right ahead and point out the glaringly obvious: I literally haven’t posted anything for almost a year. I feel kind of awful about it, but also…I feel like there’s no point on dwelling on it or making excuses. So, I’m just going to accept responsibility (mea culpa), apologize to any of you who may have wished I’d continued posting (what readers? lol), and go on with this blog as best as I can.

So where am I now? Well, first year is drawing to a close and I can’t believe it! I’m sitting at my dining table right now, sipping on spearmint tea from a giant mug as one does, contemplating how fast time has flown by. I still remember feeling so nervous and excited the first day, and meeting all sorts of new people. Now, almost 9 months later, I still feel excited to be here and I definitely still get nervous (hello, OSCEs!) but I’m more accustomed to it.

I have learned SO much. Like, honestly, SO much information has entered my brain these last 9 months. It hasn’t been easy. Study habits had to change, failures had to be dealt with, and to be quite honest, help had to be asked for. I’m not gonna sit here and pretend studying medicine is super glamorous. It’s definitely tough. And for someone like me, it was a rough transition, not just in terms of academics, but also in terms of living situations and being far from family. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that the struggles HAD to happen. I had to go through everything I went through and allow the process to be what it needed to be. That’s how growth happens. A lot of times we might wish we could get from point A to point B with a snap of our fingers, but life is like “nah, it can’t be that easy”. We must make the journey and cross all the hurdles, and that takes time. For me, it took almost 6-7 months, but I’m finally at a place right now where instead of feeling totally overwhelmed, I can confidently say, “I can do this!” And that feels awesome.  However…I’m going to spare you another 5 paragraphs of my ramblings, end my philosophical reflection here and just say to anyone struggling in school right now: trust the process!

This past year has been challenging academically, physically, and emotionally. But it’s also been tons of fun! So many great memories will forever remain with me. I’ve made close friendships with so many great people, and I’ve learned a lot from them too. We’ve hung out, we’ve partied, we’ve picked up new hobbies (running!), we’ve shared stories, and, of course, studied together. To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting to bond so easily and so quickly with people. Maybe it’s the shared traumatic experience of medical school? Lol. But I’m so glad to have met my new friends, and I can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with them and see what else the future has in store for all of us.

Now to be fair, my first year journey is not quite over yet. I’m about a week and a half out from our class’s dreaded end of unit exam. The unit: endocrine, reproductive, and gastrointestinal. We’ve definitely shifted into maximum overdrive in preparation for this exam, and I am no exception (although let’s be real, my productivity isn’t always the greatest–and I’ve learned that’s ok, too!).

And so, with that, I must return to my anatomy review guide. It’s been fun taking this study break to reflect and return to writing here. I don’t want to promise anything, because I feel like I can hardly trust myself, but I hope to continue this trend and really use writing here as a sort of creative outlet. Lord knows I need it. Until next time. 🙂

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.