Living the Dream... Or Some Reasonable Approximation Thereof

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hi. I'm still alive, just mostly buried until a giant pile of notes and textbooks and study guides, swimming in a pool of my own tears. See also: Exam week.

This weekend wasn't super exciting, except for that Ken and I got to see my brother's a cappella group, After the Bar, perform as the opening act for Keystone A Cappella. It was really fun, and I was the world's proudest big sister ever.

Then on Saturday, I slept in and our new dining room table was delivered. It's beautiful:

The best part is that it is easily distinguishable from our floor, which was not the case with our former table.

Apparently, having our table delivered was entirely exhausting, because I went back to sleep for another 2 hours before heading out to Starbucks. I set up camp there and didn't leave for 7 hours, minus the 30 minutes I took to eat dinner with Ken at Chipotle. My friend, Julianne, came to study with me and she reminded me that yes, I do have friends in med school. She is pretty much the best and I need to hug her to thank her for her friendship and sanity-saving this weekend.

Saturday night, I continued studying at home until roughly 4 am, although from 3:30-4:00 or so, I was just knitting and finally catching up on this season of American Horror Story. As Julie said, "It's effed up." This is not surprising, given that it's Ryan Murphy and American Horror Story, so effed up is the name of the game. As expected, the acting is on-point, the writing is fabulous, and the story is shaping up to be quite interesting. The clown that everyone is talking about isn't as terrifying as I thought he'd be, but there's one character on there who isn't even one of the "freaks" that totally creeps me out.  Are you watching AHS? What do you think? Do you have coulrophobia? (If so, don't click that link about the clown, and if you did, I am not responsible for any of your medical bills or therapy that may be required as a result of viewing that article. Call my lawyer. Just kidding, I don't have a lawyer.)

ANYWAY, that was Saturday night. Sunday, I slept in again (because bed at 4 am) and then spent 4-5 hours at the library at school. We were baffled by the desk lamps, which led to this conversion:

Med Student 1: Med Student 2 came over and was freaking out because she can't figure out how to turn this light on.
Me: I know, she was under the table for awhile trying to fix it.
Med Student 1: I told her I'd come look at it. ::inspects lamp:: I think there might not be a light bulb in this...
Med Student 3: That could be a mitigating factor.

See also: How many med students does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

This gem also happened:

Med Student 1: Are there educational goals?
Me: Yeah. Don't fail. 

The rest of Sunday was spent studying, again until almost 4 am, which resulted in sleeping until 10 am today, and subsequently missing my appointment to get my car's oil changed and figure out why the engine light randomly lit up. Because that's what I needed this week.

Anyway, this weekend, my brain felt totally overwhelmed and overly full. There were many times I wanted to give up. There were many times that for an hour or two, I did give up. I just closed my notes, picked up my knitting, and watched an entire episode of something without trying to also outline something or cram information into my brain. During exam weeks, if you were to ask me how I was liking medical school, I'd probably tell you that it sucked, I hated it, and that I wished I could just go back to my office job where someone paid me to essentially organize large piles of paper while drinking coffee made by the office Keurig. If you asked me whether you should consider going to medical school, I would probably tell you to have your head examined and to pick something that was less expensive, less time consuming, and less stressful. When I left the library yesterday, I wanted to run screaming from the building and not look back. 

That all sounds pretty terrible, huh?

I have to keep reminding myself that about a  year ago, I was waiting for secondary applications for medical school and was hoping and praying to any deity that would listen that I would eventually be accepted somewhere. I slept, ate, and breathed med school applications. Whether I would be accepted consumed my every waking thought, and probably most of my dreams as well. When I was finally accepted in February, it was a huge weight that lifted off of my shoulders, if only momentarily, to be replaced with the much heavier load of, "Oh God, I'm going to go to med school." Regardless, I was finally getting to achieve this dream.

When people say, "Living the dream!" it's often sarcastically. You can almost hear the eye roll, the exasperation, the wish to be anywhere else, doing anything else. In fact today, I said to a classmate, "Yup, just living' the dream," and she chided me saying, "You should be more excited about it!" 

You know what? She's right. All 162 of us in this class are living the dream. The dream that at some point, none of us knew would be a reality. Out of over 5,000 applicants, we are part of the 3% that made the cut. There are plenty of people out there waiting for another admissions cycle, praying and hoping that they too can get to live their dream of becoming a physician. Sure, the dream may certainly feel misguided at times, and this week, I kind of feel like I'm living a nightmare instead of a dream, but this is it. This is what I wanted. For better or worse.

So yes, tonight I will go home after class, eat dinner, and shower, all the while minimizing the time it takes to do those things so I can get back to studying. I will continue to massacre my sleep schedule in the name of studying, and my husband may forget what I look like. My friends and family may wonder if they'll ever see me again. My blog will probably be neglected. (When you can barely remember to shower and eat, this is not a surprising idea.)

Eventually, Friday will come, I will take my exam from 8-12, and then I will go home and collapse into bed. Then I will reset my life and we will start this entire thing all over again. In a mere 60 days, we'll take our final exam for the first semester of our medical school careers, and then we'll be 1/8 of the way to being doctors. This is not a drill! 

We are all living the dream... or a reasonable approximation thereof.  I have to remind myself how damn lucky I am to be able to say that. It truly is a privilege, and I hope that all of you can say that you too, are living your dream.

- A

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