Celebration! Time and again, us med students are told to not let the constant studying consume us. Have balance, live life, blah, blah, blah… Well let me tell you this, it is SO hard to adhere to that challenge when you constantly have pathology or pharmacology coming at you at break neck speeds. Fortunately, I have friends and family that have helped me take two seconds to stop and enjoy some of the more important moments of the year.
Two weeks ago, I somehow made it to my 24th birthday. With all the crazy adventures I have had thus far in my life, some would probably applaud the fact I even made it this far! (I am of course, only kidding 😉 ) When asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I just had to seize the moment and get everyone to come participate in one of my all time favorite past times… laser tag! Something about running through a dense fog in a dark maze while shooting your buddies with an over-sized laser pistol is utterly satisfying. And of course, I won ;). I mean, when your code name is the same as the Cincinnati Bengal’s victory chant, how could you not?!
Now, this laser tag goodness didn’t actually happen on my real birthday. For some reason, my girlfriend Brianna (you should know who she is by now if you regularly read this blog!) told me that the evening of my actual birthday, wasn’t available. Confused, I didn’t question why she would be gone when all I wanted to do was play laser tag! But I didn’t care since it would still happen, albeit a week earlier. But to my surprise, the real reason soon revealed itself: Brianna had bought tickets for us to see “The Phantom of the Opera” in Las Vegas that Saturday night! I am a huge fan of theater, and that musical had always been at the top of a list of plays I wanted to see.
So on my birthday, November 19, we dressed up all fancy, and along with two other friends, saw the dark and tragic tale of the Phantom of the Opera unfold. It was, in a word, breathtaking. The theater, located in the Venetian Hotel, was specially designed for this musical, and so the production value and special effects were incredible. I left the theater more or less quieted by the power of the “music of the night.”
On our way out, we stopped to bask in the grandeur of the hotel, taking pictures and enjoying the scene of it all. We walked out of the hotel, and right in front of me, getting ready to perform one of his famous “saxagrams” stood the Sax Man himself, the saxophone prankster from the YouTube video I mentioned in my last post. I felt kind of like a celebrity stalker, but he was very nice and even posed for a quick picture with me. He tried to stay and chat, but his next saxagram victim needed to be caught before leaving the Venetian, so he ran off. It was very random, but really cool nonetheless!
We spent the rest of our evening touring about and seeing all the sights and people. On our way out of Vegas that same night (lots of studying to do the next day!), we posed for the very popular and slightly cliché picture with the Las Vegas sign. It was such a great birthday!
But we can’t stop there! Apparently all the exciting celebratory events happen at once! After resuming study mode for only three days, I was fortunate enough to travel up to the Northwest and enjoy Thanksgiving with Brianna’s family for a few days. It was so nice to get out of the South and have a change of scenery. After meeting Brianna’s family for the first time (in which her dad jokingly held his shotgun 🙂 ), I tried to be responsible and continue my studying efforts. I made it through a good deal of neuropathology, but managed to get plenty of rest and enjoyment from spending time away from school. To relieve the stress of studying, Brianna and her father took me up into the mountains on Thanksgiving day, where he showed me his large collection of various firearms, and tried to teach me how to shoot each one. I had never done this before, and I was super nervous that one of the handguns would kick back and knock my unconscious, making me look awfully silly in front of someone I needed to impress. Fortunately this was not the case, and much fun was had.
Thanksgiving dinner came, dinner went, and after decorating a newly cut Christmas tree and playing a game of Monopoly, Brianna and I headed back to Loma Linda the next Friday. I spent the rest of the time studying all weekend, which brings me to today.
AUUUGHHH!!! Less than two weeks until final exams. This is the time when a very special and specific fear helps push you through one more hour of study, one more audio review, one more set of drugs to memorize, not to mention the super speed at which I am typing this blog! Fortunately, the holidays are upon us, and that cheeriness helps balance out the stress that comes with finishing out a quarter. Here’s to finishing out strong and getting lots done… enjoy the beginning of the holidays everyone!