Auld Lang Syne. Even though I had sung the lyrics to that familiar holiday tune countless times over the years, I had never known what its actual meaning was until I finally decided to look it up. So on the very first morning of 2012, I pointed my web browser to my favorite source of information. According to Wikipedia, those famous Scottish words can be “translated into English literally as ‘old long since’, or more idiomatically, ‘long long ago’, ‘days gone by’ or ‘old times’. Consequently ‘For auld lang syne’, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, is loosely translated as ‘for (the sake of) old times’.” So for the sake of old times, let’s take a very brief look at the top 10 moments, in no specific order, that defined my 2011, good and bad:
10. Switching Classrooms: Graduating from MS-1. I adapted and overcame the obstacles of first year medicine, and advanced to the even more challenging, trying, frustrating, but ultimately more rewarding, 2nd year.
9. Glasses. My entire family has had them since they were kids; I had never had an eye exam. That is, until last summer when I finally went in and discovered some spectacles might not be a bad idea… All that straining to read PowerPoints in class really did me in!
8. My Car Accident. My precious Honda, lovingly named Jadzia, did a good job of protecting me from the car the crossed in through my path. Life is fragile, and this could have gone a very different way. God has some big plans in store for me because He was definitely protecting me here!
7. Sporting Events. I LOVE live sports, and over the year I managed a trip to see each of my favorite teams play at least once.
6. Academic Achievements. Whether it was success in the PDX lab, passing exams, or learning how to draw blood for the first time, learning new skills was always rewarding.
5. An Unexpected Visit to the Emergency Department. As you may recall from a previous blog, Thai food does NOT agree with me; this culminated in what felt like a very, VERY long weekend.
4. The Workload of Medical School Increases with MS2: A Metaphor. No explanation needed for these next pictures! They perfectly explain the jump for MS1 to MS2!
3. Meeting New Friends. As I continued to grow in the uncharted environment of medical school, I met a lot of new people, some who have become very good friends of mine, and one who I now can’t see myself living without.
2. A Very Important Outing to Long Beach, California’s “Aquarium of the Pacific”. When I awoke that morning, I was nervous about two things: 1. That morning I was taking part in an autopsy as a part of my Pathology course; I was humbled and blessed by the learning opportunity that I had been granted, though anxious as I didn’t know what to expect. Then there was reason number 2: I was taking a girl out on a first date! My nerves were getting the best of me as it had been awhile since the last time I had the privilege of taking a pretty girl out. I guess it went well as Brianna now lets me call her my significant other!
1. Precious Time with Family & Friends. In the midst of the countless hours I spent with books and notes, microscopes and slides, scalpels and cadavers, I made sure to make some time for the people in my life that I have grown to love and cherish. An important part of living a balanced life while in medical school is to make sure you take time to be with the people you care about. From joking around with my classmates, to visiting family & old friends in Ohio, to meeting my gf’s family in Washington, or just hanging out with people on Friday evening, it’s the relationships we build that make life worth living.
July 29: Visiting My Family in Ohio
As I reflect back on 2011, it’s crazy to imagine all that changed. I grew as a student, grew as friend, grew as a doctor, and most importantly grew as a person. I am continually amazed to see what God has done in my life and excited about what is yet to come. Last year had some huge downs, some even bigger ups, and I know 2012 will probably be just as exciting. Think about it… this year I move into the clinical stage of my education, conquer USMLE Step 1, and move even closer to my goal of becoming a quality, Christ-like physician. I have a lot more growing and maturing to do, and as I close this reflection of 2011, I just want to offer up a prayer of thanks and gratitude for how far my class and I have come, and that we will continue to do our best to keep moving forward.
Thanks to all the readers of this blog! I, and I’m sure my fellow student contributors as well, greatly appreciate your views & comments. Speaking for myself, I hope you will continue to enjoy reading this student blog as we provide new helpings of stories and experiences. Happy New Year!