They’ll tell you you’re the lucky ones

It’s snowing mounds of wet ugly messy white stuff on the first day of spring, while yesterday was +8 and sunny and I was wearing flats. I’m spending pretty much every free moment I have studying for about a million exams I have coming up in the months of April and May, including one rewrite that continues to bring up the shame bubble around me. All this in the midst of my sister’s chaotic wedding planning, being reminded of how very single I am, still trying to process the ending to this last one without any closure, and trying to fight for my right to go on a grad trip with my BFF without causing domestic breakdown despite being a 25 year old who can really be making her own decisions at this point, thank you very much.

Yet despite all the excuses I could give myself to be in an unhappy slump, I’m not. Yes I’m studying day and night for what feels like the first time ever. I feel like I am finally earning my title as a medical student by finally working hard. It truly feels like I am busting my gut for the first time in med school and my whole postsecondary career, working long hours on surgery, spending my evenings and weekends revising and meeting with study groups, looking up every single detail I feel unclear on rather than thinking “This won’t be on the test,” seeing myself as an actual pre-doctor who is going to be a doctor in a very, very short amount of time. Seeing myself as someone who will be trusted with lives and trusted to manage entire wards full of sick patients while the staff sleeps in his own bed at night. Seeing myself as a competent R1, not the “off service resident,” not the “she’s in psych so this won’t matter” resident. I’m being told by others in my study group for the first time ever that they’re impressed with my knowledge, making me swell up with pride and achievement, and for once I don’t feel like the bottom 10% of the class who’s apathetic and willing to scrape by for that MD. For once I feel like I’m doing my work to earn it.

I’m also happy with who I’m training myself to become. I’m someone who does really well alone, and I think finally being in a condo by myself without exams to worry about come July 1st will give me ample opportunity to read all those self-improvement books, practice gratitude and meditation, be disciplined all around. I’m happy that I’m someone who goes to the gym despite a gruelling schedule and enjoys every sweat-soaked minute of it. I’m happy I have enough going for me to earn the respect and admiration of my peers. And I’m even happy at how I’m handling being very single, navigating these awkward pitfalls and conversations, and being brave enough to keep being who I am.

Of course, it helps matters to know I’m just 2 weeks from the end of clerkship and the last rotation of medical school. And that I’m just over 2 months away from graduation and being handed that certificate. And potentially treating myself to a fabulous grad trip. I’m so, so privileged–I know. I forget that, like we all do sometimes, but I know it and believe it deeply and resoundingly. I’m so lucky at the end of the day to be where I am, to even have the opportunity to be working towards my goals. I spend so much time complaining about these petty things like boys and free time and snow, but forget that I’ve been given the chance to pursue something that will literally change people’s lives. Alhamdulillah, man. I am so lucky.

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