7:00 AM. For the 18th time since beginning my educational journey, I rolled out of bed, knowing that summer break had just ended and it was time to return to school. Ok, maybe it was 7:36 and I had hit the snooze button a couple of times! Whenever the familiar panic of how little time there was remaining had settled in, I ran through the shower, grabbed a granola bar for breakfast, and made a quick stop at my front door to fulfill a long running tradition. Over the years, my mother has taken a picture of us kids (I have a brother, Michael, 19, in his sophomore year of college, and a sister, Kristin, 2 days away from 13 and in 7th grade) standing in front of our home’s doorway as we head out to school for the first time:
So not to break tradition, I paused for a quick shot in front of my apartment:
I hopped on my bike and rode the already familiar 5 minute ride over to Alumni Hall, where my destiny as an MS2 was about to begin. Remember returning to high school after summer break and bragging to your friends and classmates about all the adventures you had? The scene here was no different. Except now stories also involved hospitals, engagements, weddings, and lots and lots of research! The next following moments were actually almost an overwhelming blur. As I passed each familiar face for the first time since the end of MS1, I had a fleeting memory of some occurrence, large or small, and all I could do was smile as many of the good memories of MS1 popped in an out of my head. I never thought I could get to know so many people in a class of over 150 members.
Orientation went about as can be expected for a day of reading syllabi. I haven’t yet decided if this year is going to be awesome or dreadful. Part of me is so scared, as the intensity level with which pathophysiology and microbiology were described sounds insane, on top of that looming USMLE Step 1. So many times has second year been described as the worst. The other part of me is super excited to study actual disease this year, along with finally understanding pharmacology so I can keep up with some of my pharmacy friends. I’m so glad that this time I’ll be able to jump right into studying, without having to figure out a new area that I live, the best places to study, how to maintain my own apartment, etc. I’m settled in and ready to go this time around! So is this year going to be awesome? I was pondering this thought while I walked up to the front of the auditorium for a quick snack of cheez-its, trail mix, wheat thins, and goldfish that had been provided to us during a break. I had just stuffed my mouth full of goldfish when one of our pathology professors, Dr. Cao, who had been standing up front, suddenly spun around, grabbed me by the collar, then shook me as he demanded with a laugh, “Since when are medical students allowed to be taller than me?!?” Haha yep, this year is gonna be hard, but awesome. 🙂
And one more thing before I go. If any of us should ever get discouraged along the way, let’s turn back and apply the following simple, yet sage advice: