“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world
but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do
I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.
well, I hope that if you are out there you read this and know that yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” –Frida Kahlo
I shared this quote because when I originally created the concept of this blog, I was going to be real and honest about my experiences thus far. However, it’s getting harder and harder to do that. Keep in mind, that my experiences are my own. You may have a mother, friend, sister, cousin that has been in med school and had a totally different experience than mine and that’s cool! Even my own classmates might totally be having a different outlook than my own as well, again that’s cool. They should start their own blog and share it with the world. But these are my own personal experiences. I don’t even share my personal thoughts with my classmates and honestly, sometimes I fear that they will read this blog but oh well. Not everyone is genuine, real and open- I’ve always appreciated the ones that were.
Again, let me start by saying that I don’t have a parent that went to Med school. I don’t have a sibling that’s already a resident, etc. You’d actually be surprised, a lot of people in my class do. I wasn’t in a bridge to medicine program in college. That’s the thing with the whole first generation doctor thing, keep in mind I was a first generation college student too. This is all very new to me. Going to Med school, I didn’t know what to expect. So hell yeah, I was afraid. The only things I’d heard were things that I googled, the brief things that a doctor I was shadowing would share, just random tidbits. I just graduated college- an experience that I completely figured out each day along the way. And then med school happened. It’s all just been very quick. I went from the highest point of my life, straight to the bottom yet again.
But let me tell you, I’ve been learning very quick. Not only do you have to completely learn how to study all over again (knocking down my 3.9 college GPA ego all the way down) but you have to make your new apartment a home, you just met your classmates and you’re supposed to find a way to befriend them, you have to learn your way around campus, you have to figure out your study schedule, you have to find time to work out (especially after learning about the horrors of diabetes in biochem), you have to find time to go to church, you have to find time to call your parents, wash the dishes etc, etc. And don’t forget the random days where your AC breaks in your apartment, your car gets towed while you’re in class, Trump gets elected as president or any other mishap. And none of these other aspects of your life can just be ignored. And it’s so easy to say omg, that’s not that hard, if I were you I could do it. But being in the experience is completely different.
How have I personally been managing all of those things? Eh, depends on the day. I’ve been working really hard though to do it all with a smile, even if it’s forced. But there is a huge pile of clothes in my laundry basket that I haven’t washed in weeks because I’ve just refused to make the time, I’d rather study or just watch a show when I can instead. And lots of breakdowns along the way too. Within the past year, I’ve really developed the sense of how much I need God in my life. I can’t do it all on my own, I haven’t done it all on my own, there’s no way. And even when all of these things are just happening out of your control, it is sooooo peaceful to know that God is watching over you and protecting you through it all.
And then the aspect of comparison comes in. You’re doing you and you’re doing a damn good job at it, or so you thought. But then out of nowhere, you see your classmates on Facebook going to Six Flags or Europe over the weekend, while you’ve been studying your ass off just trying to grasp the 10 lectures that you’ve learned within the past week. And you’ve studied a lot today and been very productive- but now you feel like sh*t. You might even consider muting all of your classmates besides your own friends from your newsfeed just to make it through the day, and that is perfectly OK. Comparisons hurt, they will eat you alive. I’ve always been someone to try and make the best of my situation, but you have to relearn how to do that in every new situation. I know that comparing myself to others is unhealthy but damn, it’s so hard not to. But I’m learning to not let myself even water those thoughts at all. It’s a process, but it’s vital to learn as you go all throughout life. If you focus on the things that you don’t have constantly, of course you’ll be unhappy. But if you focus on the things that you do have, you will be more grateful, more mindful and more proud to be you.
But overall in retrospect, I am damn proud of myself. I am 1/8 step closer toward becoming a doctor. I am blessed and humbled and more grateful than ever for this experience and this opportunity. No one said becoming a doctor was going to be easy, I didn’t expect it to be. And I am so much stronger than the girl who walked in all bright eyed on the first day of orientation. I’ve met some pretty amazing people and I look forward to building upon those relationships and forming new ones. I’m thankful for my parents, my family and my close friends- I know they are praying over me often, even if I’m not aware of it. Apparently the time in med school flies by, but even through it all I’m going to consciously try my best to make the best of this experience for everything that it is worth. One day I’ll be glad that I got through it, but until then I just have to get through it. This is just the beginning of my journey and I can’t even imagine what’s in store for me through the next chapter. But God will be there with me through it all.
Cheers, to a new semester that starts this week.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” –Nelson Mandela