When people ask me how my first year of med school went, I wish I had something extremely profound yet succinct that could describe the last year of my life. I would like to sound both cool and self-actualized, while also humble and funny. Sadly, I usually end up with some variation of, “It was really hard, but I loved every second of it.” I’m not sure how else to describe med school, other than hard. It was hard in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied after a long run. Hard like trying to grow up and start a new season of life. Hard in the easy way of falling in love, with a new city and new friends, while saying goodbye to old ones. It was an adventure, a grand one.
Ten years from now (much less right now), I won’t remember the vitamin deficiencies, the rare bacterial diseases, or the spinal cord tracts and neurodegenerative disorders. But I’ll remember the time when we danced all night at Trust in our Halloween costumes (and I lost my phone and didn’t even know it until you found it face down in the snow when we were going home). Those hikes at the Pinnacles, Raven’s Run, and the Gorge. When I was heartbroken and showed up to class puffy-eyed from crying all night and you told me I looked like shit. But you brought Magee’s donuts because you knew my heart. When we did BRS anatomy practice questions in your living room, and overdosed on your “go go beans,” laughing hysterically at how we learned so much yet knew absolutely nothing. That time in New Orleans when we walked to Cafe Du Monde twice in one day, the first with happy grins over dark chicory coffee and fluffy crisp beignets and the second to sop up our UK Final Four heartbreak tears with round 2 of beignets. When we hated every single second of neuro block and watched all those Thursday night movies at “our theater”, the cheap one with expensive hotdogs. The times you wouldn’t let me study alone, because you knew I would just fall asleep. When my car got towed from Common Grounds. When my grandmother and dog died in the same week and you were the first person I called. When we discovered Maria’s burritos. The nights we stayed in and baked cookies instead of bar hopping. When you waxed my legs and we drank all the wine. When we put each other on suicide watch and told each other it would all be okay, wouldn’t it? And it was okay. It was better. It was hard, soul-crushingly, inspiring and amazing.
And I’m better for it. Stronger, weaker, braver, kinder. Thank you for making the hardest year of my life, the most amazing so far. Cheers to three more years and ever after.