After spending most of my winter and summer traveling during my semester off, it’s time for a new kind of adventure: medical school.
Medical school has been the end goal for so long it’s almost unbelievable that I am finally here, and part of the school I wanted to be at. What I have realized though, is that now I need a new end goal. Passing. kidding (but not really) It has been three weeks now and while I definitely can’t deny that medical school isn’t for the faint of heart (or of stomach in some cases), it definitely isn’t as overwhelming as I was imagining it to be. The first week was definitely the most confusing and exhausting though. We were thrown into classes (apparently syllabus week isn’t a thing in medical school) and given a million and two resources for each class that we could use “if we wanted.” Telling that to a medical student is just not ideal because obviously we assume we should try and use every resource available. WRONG. So my first week was spent trying out different resources and determining which ones I wanted to use and which I wanted to pretend didn’t exist. This took a while and I definitely spent the majority of my days and nights in the library that week, clocking in around 12 hours a day on campus in class or studying. As sustainable as that lifestyle sounds (lol), week two started and I was finally feeling a little better about my study tools. The mission for the second week was to determine what I wanted to get done each day so I wasn’t crazy stressed. Our schedule stays the same basically all semester, so I could pretty much make a weekly template of things to get done and review for each day, and it stays the same basically every week. I also managed to be efficient (enough) to feel like I could take a weekend “off” and go to Duluth with my mom, brother and boyfriend after my second week, which was awesome. We spent the weekend walking around the lake walk, riding bikes, skipping rocks, and eating yummy food (and drinking a few margaritas). The trip was definitely a needed break, and also made me feel confident that it is possible to (kind of) have a life outside of medical school if you use your time wisely. I also haven’t had any tests yet, so I could be saying all of this and then fail my tests because I’m completely ill prepared, but that’s a post for another week! Fast forward a little more to the present and I am sitting in a coffee shop on campus “studying” (or writing this blog, making plans for the weekend and not doing anything school related.. but you can choose which seems more likely) and I feel pretty good about where I am in terms of having a routine.
Don’t get me wrong, med school is definitely not “a breeze” and I don’t have a lot of free time, but the free time I do have to rest, see friends, and enjoy the things that make me happy, definitely fuels me and makes it easier to focus and keep moving forward in school. I’ve learned to treat it as a job, and my goal is to grind everything out during the week and give myself some more free time on the weekends to see friends and relax. If I am being completely honest, I’d have to say what I am most concerned about the next 4 years (besides failing and never becoming a doctor) would be my relationships outside of medical school. I have made AMAZING friendships in school already, that I hope to be life-long, but those friends understand the toll school can take on you because they are living it right along your side. On the other hand, my family and friends outside of school definitely don’t see or hear from me as much, and it’s hard to balance everyone along with my school work. I am doing the best I can to make time for everyone I want to see, whether it’s coffee, making dinner or just a quick chat, but it’s hard to do everything. First semester is a struggle for everyone as it’s definitely the most demanding, so I hope that even though I may be MIA for the next 5 months, the friendships I have are strong enough to withstand this period of (potentially) radio silence from me.
All in all, medical school is good (but ask me after my first exam). What I am learning is really interesting (especially learning skills that real physicians use!), and the people are definitely the biggest positive from the experience. The next 4 (*cough couch* 12) years are going to be a wild ride, but I am so excited to see where this next adventure takes me.