The Big Day

The big day is here! Today, I officially start medical school. Freshmen orientation will take place in Wong Kerlee, where we have been told to bundle up and prepare for a possible 9-hour day. My college, high school, junior high school, and even elementary education have all led up to this point.

Last September, I received a call from Dr. Ask, MD, assistant professor of health promotion and education. He asked whether I wanted the good news or the bad news first. Wanting to end on a good note, I chose the bad news. He replied that in the upcoming years I would face debt, exhaustion, and stress, but the good news, I made it into LLUSM. Yay!! That phone call started me down the process of financial and registration paperwork. I filled out the FAFSA, transcript requests, promissory notes, health forms, etc. All of which brought me to today. I have now completed registration, and all I have left to do are my parking permits (although, I’m sure I’ll receive an entirely new to-do list today).

Although I completed the majority of my registration process during the summer, I took the advice of those before me and enjoyed what they said would be my last summer. In the six weeks after my graduation at PUC, I squeezed in two camping trips, a complete room makeover, a new dog, Dark Knight Rises, a trip to the air soft field, a triathlon, and much more. I had an amazing, rejuvenating summer, and I’m sad to see it go. But, it is time to move forward. As Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

I can definitely say I am curious (and nervous and scared) for what med school will bring. I have heard more than once that med school is the end of your life. But, I chose medicine to help others live, so I’m not quite ready to end my life.

At yesterday’s picnic hosted by the alumni association, Dr. Ask gave me some advice that eased my fears. First, he said that what helped him through med school was realizing everyone was in the same boat. You are not the only one experiencing the terrors and joys. Second, he said to trust the administration who believed you were ready for med school, and believe in yourself. And, third, he said to maintain a balanced lifestyle. He likened med school to an ultramarathon or hiking Kilimanjaro (which he did). You have to pace yourself, and accept your pace. Accept your capabilities.

At the picnic, another alumnus gave us the med school version of the Olympic motto. Instead of “faster, higher, stronger,” the med school motto is “hungrier, sleepier, poorer.”  And, putting our med school experience into perspective, she also told us that by the next summer Olympics, we will have completed our four years of med school.

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