Last weekend, the entire medical school was invited to put down the books, take a trip up a winding mountain road, and fellowship together at the Pine Springs Ranch Retreat. Pine Springs Ranch is a little mountain oasis tucked away about an hour from our school. We first years had heard about how fun this retreat weekend would be, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the incredible experience we were about to have as we packed into our carpools and headed up the mountain.
My carpool group, which happened to be my main study group, decided to leave around 3 on Friday afternoon, foregoing the notion that we could stay at the school and study until sundown and then leave. We thought, “We can study in the car and then once we get there, we can find a nice spot and study amidst the nature.” We faithfully studied physiology and mastered the types of adrenergic receptors during the car ride, but as soon as we reached our destination, the clean, crisp mountain air whisked away any further thoughts of anatomy, biochemistry, or physiology. We therefore finished the afternoon off with a self-guided hike and proceeded to share some of our favorite stories of past adventures with each other. This was the first blessing that came from the weekend, a chance to spend normal quality time with a group of friends that I usually only get to study with.
That evening began the first of several very spiritually rejuvenating worship services as the school gathered together to sing, praise, pray, and hear God’s word through our speaker Barbara Hernandez. She shared the message that the Bible is like one big storybook and that our lives are similarly full of many stories. She encouraged us to mark the important stories and landmarks in our lives and share them with others. Stories like the first moment we knew we wanted to become physicians, how God provided to get us into medical school, and stories about the people we encounter along our healthcare journey. I couldn’t help but think about this opportunity that I have to blog and share some of my stories with those of you who choose to skim through these words. I feel blessed to have an opportunity to share my story and I can only hope that it will have some sort of positive impact on you.
Saturday brought more opportunities to worship and play together. After Sabbath school and church a group of us decided to try out the White Pass Mountain Trail that we had heard people talking about. I thought, “I’m in decent shape, I can do this no problem!” However, little did I know just how much work this hike would actually be. After a large portion of our group decided to head back to camp and forego the rest of the adventure, I became the only girl amidst a group of very athletic boys. Luckily they were kind and allowed me to stop and catch my breath every once and while and put up with my obnoxious questioning of, ”Are we there yet???” In the end, it was so worth the effort when we reached the peak and could look over both the mountain valley from which we had just ascended and the desert valley on the other side of the mountain range. It’s amazing how caught up in our own little world we can be sometimes and it is experiences like this that make you realize that God’s creation is so much more expansive, intricate, and beautiful than we can ever begin to comprehend.
On Saturday night we finished off the retreat with the annual med school talent show where our deans and our students strutted their stuff and impressed us all with their comedy and musical talent. Things like this make you realize that medical students aren’t always the type-A “let’s study all the time and have no fun” group that society makes us out to be. While there was no shortage of nerdy med school puns throughout the evening, we spent the entire night laughing, singing along to silly to songs, and just plain having a good time.
PSR Retreat turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences thus far in my medical school journey and I am so thankful for the amazing friends that made it unforgettable, the dedicated faculty and staff that made it possible, and the God that showed me once again how beneficial it is to take time away from the drudgery of studying to worship him and gain spiritual rest and rejuvenation.