Categories
Medical School

It's Getting Close

It’s really hitting home.
Close enough that I got my class schedule today. Complete with an exam exactly four weeks from today.
Close enough that I looked at my new shampoo bottle and said to it “You will be the shampoo I will start medical school with.”
I’m weird.
 

Categories
Life Medical School Running

Why Heading to Medical School Is Starting to Feel Like Going On a Vacation

I just want to bottle this time, and keep this happy healthy me around for when it gets hard. I’ve been running every day, seeing friends, eating healthy, feeling good, and getting lots of sleep. Years ago, I read an article about this study (I’m not sure if this was exact one or not). Basically, the findings show that people are happier not when they are on vacation, and not right after, but right before their vacation- in the days leading up to it. They are happiest when there is something good to look forward to. 

I feel like that with school starting in 20 days!! I’ve got a death grip on the life I have now, anticipating the changes to come and enjoying the way things are. It sounds sort of sad that I want to stay in this moment excited about medical school- not actually there, knowing that school won’t feel this exciting once I’m in it. But the daily grind ends up getting to everyone after a while. Its not pessimism, its realism! Haha. 

Running has been hard recently, but i’m glad I’m back at it. I didn’t run regularly all spring semester so I’m trying to build up some worthwhile endurance and that means starting over at square one, just running for minutes not miles. That’s always frustrating for someone who used to do six miles like it ain’t no big deal. Now I’m struggling for 40 minutes of slow running, hoping I will be able to do at least that most days after class. I’m trying not to put pressure and expectations on myself to feel guilty about not doing later on, but its hard because running is so good to me, so I feel like I need to keep doing it, even when I’m busy. It helps me clear my head, adds to my energy, helps my periods and digestive system, and is a big, big stress reliever. One of the best things about it though is the feeling of accomplishment it gives me. At the end of the day, I may not have done much else but I always feel better when I can say I got a run (even a bad one!) in.

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In other news, I hung out with some future medical school classmates last night. About a dozen of us showed up! It was super chill- good weather, good food. And it was good to talk to new people. I know it sounds like a bunch of small talk like “Where are you from?” What’d you major in?” but I’m fascinated with the how-did-you-get-here type questions because there’s a lot of different ways people end up in medicine. I already feel bonded; like we are going to have a great time. But that could be the pre-vacation-happiness talking. I commiserated with a guy who said he was ready to start so that he could stop sleeping in til 1 PM. I know it sounds like a dream come true, but it does get old and I’m honestly ready to crack a book and learn. Still, I’m soaking it up while I can.

That’s about all that’s been happening, so you can see why I haven’t posted the last couple of days. Hope you guys have a great weekend!

 

Categories
Life Medical School Products

Medical School Backpack

I’ve been looking into backpacks for medical school since, oh, probably April. The backpack I took to college was my good old Jansport from high school. At one point it was white and now its like this crusty, dingy, grayish color filled with crumbs and bits of paper. So I wanted a versatile bag I can take to school, traveling or hiking and biking if I’m so inclined. I looked into all these hardcore sport bags: Kelty, Osprey, North Face and whatnot. Since they are sort of expensive and I didn’t need a new one right away, I stalked amazon and rei for good deals and went back and forth on backpacks. I don’t know why or how it escalated to this huge decision representing the outcome of all of medical school but it did.
When I went to a gathering of medical students (mostly second years), one guy was talking about how he joined the first year’s Facebook groups in order to be able to hang out with the incoming class. Then he said, (and I quote!!) “but when they start asking annoying questions like what backpack to get, I’m out!”
Oh no. I was that girl. The one obsessing about what backpack would ensure a wonderful medical school experience. Because the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Still, I don’t know why girls do it. And we do it all the time. It also seems to be getting much more common with social networking. We’ve all seen it: “Attention moms, (friends, guys, etc.,) I need recommendations on what stroller to buy, (what gym to join, if anybody has experience with this cloth diaper, that cell phone case, etc.).” It happens so many times and women are the worst at it! Why do we do this?! I feel like after looking at so many backpacks, most are the same! There are different sizes but they all hold stuff, and have straps and zippers. Not a big deal!
We check the reviews, ask if our friends are happy with their purchase. As if the stroller you pick decides if your baby will be brain damaged or not. And I get it, its a big purchase and you don’t want to waste your money, but this med student was right. Sometimes you gotta make your own decisions and not put so much stock into stuff. Putting that much faith and expectations into a backpack is only going to let me down.
Backpack purchased and it ain’t no thang!

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clicking the picture will take you to the source

Categories
Family Life Medical School

4th of July Weekend

I’m sitting in the bathroom talking to you nice folks, while supervising the bath time of a very sleepy 4-and-a-half year old. I had a very fun and relaxing fourth of July weekend. These little girls often put things in perspective for me. Throughout the week, I chase down a to-do list, that- as soon as I cross off one thing I add another- is often full of not-so-important things. Yet, I treat it like my life’s work. And, while it is important to get my oil changed and renew my passport before school starts, I forget that I’m supposed to be relaxing before medical school and not stressing these mundane things. The little ones that I’m so lucky to call my nieces always call me back to what’s important by forcing me to take a break to cuddle and listen about their lives, play in their imaginary world for a while, and not worry about my list or school just yet. (Right now they pretend to be the princesses left at home by their kings while they go to fight the king’s war)
 
I didn’t take any photos of the gorgeous fireworks or the cookout, but I had a pretty hilarious silly-photo selfie shoot of which I will share gratuitous amounts of grainy iPhone pictures.
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pssst…. doonthego.me (no longer “.wordpress.com”) will launching soon, so be on the lookout!
ppppppsssssttt… the study room I have posted about here and here, is almost done! Just waiting on some final items to be ordered so look out for that too.
 

Categories
Funny

An Ingenius Idea That I'm Sharing with Ya'll

Issue 1
When I’m driving my feet get cold. They are so far from my frozen little heart. I usually sit criss cross applesauce to keep my toesies warm under my legs, but that’s not very safe when I’m at the wheel.
Issue 2
When I’m driving, I like to keep cool air blowing on my face. It keeps me focused, and well, cool. Especially when the sun is out, it’s easy to just bake in the heat.

They have cars that a temperature adjustable and cars that blow different temperatures to the backseat or on the passenger.  And I know they have lower vents and upper vents.
So…Why don’t they make a car that blows different temperatures to the feet and the face simultaneously?!
I have been known to blast hot air on my feet for 30 seconds and then switch it back up and to cool, and seriously it is such an inconvenience.
I mean, they may have a very narrow target market of cold-footed sissy girls but I think its worthwhile. We will see who comes out with it. Remember that you saw it here first.
P.S. Many of you don’t know this but my sisters and I used to be serious rollerbladers in like 1996, and we were the first to think of placing wheels in the bottoms of tennis shoes. And then wheelies came out.
True story. Ask anyone.

Categories
Life Medical School Medicine Science

The-Burnout,-Doubt-Everything,-Find-Resolve-Again Cycle

Pre-meds take heart.
I ache for you. I really do.
I know how it is. I know you doubt your decision to become a doctor or PA constantly. I know that it comes at the worst times too. Right before a test.
I used to sit in the student union with my science classmates, staring at our textbooks. We watched the sun go down from the same spot almost every night. We ordered dinner in there; sipped coffee; ate entirely too many sour straws. We pretended to know how to explain the problems’ solutions to each other. We tried index cards, quizzing each other, making up games, and repeating the answers over and over. We tried writing it out multiple times and diagramming it, any creative way to make it easier on ourselves to learn.
During this ritual, one or all of us would end up with eyes glazed over, elbow resting on the book, face in hand. Or worse-  head down resting on the book staring off into the void.
Jenna would catch my eye and say “What?” as in “What are you thinking?” and I’d spout off our usual joke about wishing the information would just enter my brain through osmosis as I was laying on it.
Then- and stay with me here because our overloaded minds rarely make  sense. “I just…. I can’t… I mean… [sigh]. This is just really hard and I hate it and I’m tired and I can’t… I mean…. ugh… WHY?
Natural progression dictates the others around you join in on the moaning. Such begins a big discussion of every cruel assignment, poorly written test, where your grades are at, how bad/good your week is on workload, and a psychoanalysis of how to conquer every class and professor. It goes on and on.
Eventually I would realize that all the other study groups in the room are long gone. The moon is so high its not visible from the wall of windows anymore. Everything is closed. My roommate is probably fast asleep at home. I start gathering up my stuff realizing I’m not studying anymore tonight and sleep would better serve me. As soon as the backpack is slung around to my back, books out of sight, I feel immediately guilty that I have not studied enough.
I walk to my car slumped over, exhausted and sometimes genuinely depressed at another day of failure. Of not understanding. Of not making the grade. Of wanting to do something, anything other than how I spent my hours that day.
I get to my apartment, briefly stare into the kitchen and decide that making food would take too much energy even though I had apple rings and red diamond tea for dinner 8 hours ago. I get ready for bed literally beside my bed, the motions so familiar I don’t even turn the light on. Its simple really.
Take backpack off, set it on the floor beside my bed where I grab it first thing the next morning. Pull my bra out of my shirt, take my pants off. Plug in my phone. Get in bed. No makeup removal, no brushing teeth.
This, my friends, is the burn out.
I feel for you premeds because I know this trudgery well. It was my life for what felt like most nights of the last three years. I know how you feel even if you can’t say it.
What we are not able to articulate to our study buddies in the moment where you are pondering your life silently instead of actively studying- is how you aren’t sure if you want to actually do this. To be a doctor. You don’t know if you can do it all through undergrad and then add four more years. You don’t even know if you’ll pass physics and it keeps you up at night when you are so so tired. At the ripe age of 20, you are burnt out and you want to do something else. Please, God, anything else!! You just don’t have it in you anymore.
Believe me there are plenty of people that will tell you that you can go ahead and do something else. Many of your classmates will choose something else and you will secretly envy them. I did. They are probably the wise ones. The ones that will be able to go on a trip to Cabo with 3 other married couples when they’re 25 while you are still in school. Its a respectable and understandable choice. I wish I had been able to do something else.
Several times, though, in the middle of the “doubt everything” phase, I would consider my other options. “What else would I do?” I thought. “What do I really want to be doing?”
I didn’t have a single answer. In the moment there were plenty of things I would rather do: eat, stand outside, take a shower, make a phone call, break down and cry, stab a professor, eat again, sleep. But in the future? What did I want to be? A doctor. That was always the answer. I want to see patients. I want them to trust me, let me into their lives, mourn with them, appreciate their humanity, heal them, understand their health as a human being better than any other doctor they’ve ever had.
My rational mind then takes me to what I must do as a follow up. If being a doctor is all I want, and being a doctor requires medical school and medical school requires I pass this course. Then it follows that passing this course requires I study. So here I sit and here I will study. This is what you want to do. That’s all the resolve I need. It’s that simple.
In each burn out, you ultimately have to figure it out for yourself if medicine is still want you want to do, time after time. But I just want you to know that it happens, and it happens to everyone. Often. Questioning it isn’t a reason to quit. It not being what you want is a reason to quit. Because being a doctor is going to take a lot of work. Its probably going to take a lot out of you. You can do it, though, if its what you want to do. It’s going to be easier to handle all the work, when you realize that its not just something you have to do, in the end, you wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.
Also, go easy on yourself. It may be miserable to sit there studying; I know my group dreaded going in to study at the end of class each day, but being there is half the battle. And if you really wanted to be doing something else, you’d be out there doing it, not studying.
I know it sounds crazy but I actually miss those late nights with friends studying and talking and whining about our lives. I’m scared out of my pants for medical school to start! What if its worse than those terrible nights?! Now that is scary.
“It’s so strange how life works: you want something and you wait and wait [and work] and feel like its taking forever to come. Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.” -Lauren Oliver
 

Categories
Family Friends Growing Up Health Life Medicine

Worry

I worry about big things, like about the future. I worry about small things, like about not finishing all the summer reading I wanted. I worried when I was 9 and had no legitimate concerns. I worry now when every decision feels so pertinent. I worry about serious things like the environment. I worry about stupid things like having white teeth.
I worry about my family. I worry for their health and happiness. I worry about about their worries. I worry about their sadness. I worry about their foot fungus. I worry about their flaky patches of skin. I worry about their backs, their diets, their sore throats. I worry about my sisters. I worry about depression returning, looming in the sky like a big thunderhead that just passed over us. I worry about my nieces. I worry for them because its so hard to be a girl. I worry because its so hard to grow up and grow up right. I worry because things go wrong. I worry for them because there are hurts I can’t hide from them. I worry that they will see my worry because I want them to know how blessed they are and I’m worried my worry will make them think otherwise. I worry about them when I start medical school. I worry that they’ll think I won’t have time for them.
I worry about my friends. I worry that I’ll disappoint them. I worry that they won’t get everything they want for their lives. I worry about the hurt they will have to endure if they don’t. I worry about love. I worry that I don’t have a clue. I worry that I won’t have time to have a family. I worry that I’m not good enough. I worry that I’m screwing up. I worry that things won’t work out even though I know they will.
I worry about medical school. I worry that I’ll flunk out. I worry that I won’t make friends or won’t have time to. I worry that I’m not cut out for it. I worry that I’ll be incompetent or embarrass myself. I worry that I won’t like it. That I won’t want to study. I worry that I’ll worry more than I already do. I worry that it won’t be everything I wanted it to be. I worry that I will have done all this for nothing. I worry that I’ve made my non-existent career more important than people.
I worry about cancer. I worry about diabetes. I worry about heart disease. I worry about death and disease. I worry about pregnant women. I worry about babies. I worry about obesity. I worry about families. I worry about women in more dire circumstances than I can even imagine. I worry about our nation’s healthcare system. I worry about mental illness. I worry about people who don’t know better. I worry about people that do know better. I worry about vaccines. I worry about abortion. I even worry about the overuse of antibacterial hand soap. I worry about the food we put in our mouths. I worry about business, ethics, medicine, politics, immigration, gender roles, and society because all these things play into our health. I worry that we won’t be able to fix it all. I worry that I won’t even be able to do my part.
I worry that the worries I have listed here don’t even scratch the surface of what I worry about. I worry that I won’t ever stop worrying. I worry that someday the burdens I have for people, the stress that I feel will shut me down into a deep dark place, like I’ve seen worry do to people before.
But most of all, I worry that someday I won’t worry about these things anymore.

Categories
Family Life

Something I Call "Family Stealing"

I’ve posted about being an aunt before and you can read about my five nieces on my family page, but this is more of a separate issue that irks me.
Disclaimer: Perhaps there are different community/family/church/whatever dynamics that I have not experienced. I would certainly not want someone to never experience the joy of a family bond even if their mom, dad, aunt, brother, etc. was not blood-related. I have also had friends whose family was like a second home to me and I have had friends that jokingly walked into my house and said “Hi Mom” to my mom, but here’s what I’m thinking.
As an aunt, I would find it offensive for someone else- to call my girls their niece. It would discredit my bond with them, especially as an aunt who lives far away from them. Especially when they are young, its hard enough for them to understand that I am their mommy’s sister and that Gramma and Grandpa are our Mom and Dad, and how important those bonds are. It hasn’t happened to me that I’m aware, I just think it would make me sad.
I would liken it to someone telling a friend that they were their  “sister” in front of their real sister. “Like a sister”, would be more true. I would be fine if the girls said someone “was like an aunt to them.” I would be happy that they had so many people in their life that love them like I do. But there is something about saying someone is blatantly “your brother, your aunt, etc.” People that don’t know any better instantly relate that person to the meaning of a family bond and its not true.
Maybe I’m being petty and jealous, but just from a loving, young, cool aunt’s perspective-
parents- watch who you let your kids call family and
friends of people with kids- watch what you ask those kids to call you
And now I’m interested to see how other aunts out there and my sisters feel about this.

Categories
Life Lists Medical School

Things to Look Forward to

Today marks one month until I start medical school orientation. Just 31 days until I reach the beginning of this crazy goal I’ve had for what seems like forever. One lunar cycle until I begin what I’ve been told is both a great time with what will become lifetime friends and a time of overwhelming stress and suffering.
Without further ado, here’s what I’m looking forward to in the coming months.
1. The rest of my summer. Honestly, I’m looking forward to living out the rest of the summer. I’m going on a float trip with my girls, meeting up with some future classmates again, going to a lake house with some girl friends, reading, resting. All that good stuff. Here’s to the last of my freedom until Christmas!
2. Orientation. It might be boring and drag on entirely too long for some people (its 6 days long), but I think its a good way to dip my toes in the water. It’ll be a lower stress way to get to know everyone before the bomb drops. I also like the last chance to get organized, “orient” myself (see what I did there?), and mentally prepare.
3. Meeting everyone! I’m not a ‘big group’ of people kind of person (it gets exhausting after a while) but it’ll be exciting to get to know people and make some new friends and have some new close bonds with people who love medicine. Which takes me to my next item…
4. The medicine! I love learning science, especially of the biological/human variety. I’m excited to learn so much and meet the cadavers and talk about the human body and read and study diseases and learn OMM and learn how to touch patients. YAY!
5. The White Coat Ceremony. This I’m excited about because its a “dress up” ceremony celebrating the accomplishment of having done absolutely nothing yet. It’ll be weird, surreal, and undeserved but it’ll be fun to get that short white jacket to wear to Target on official business.
6. Change. As fun as doing nothin’ is striking my fancy, I really do prefer routine and structure. It’ll be good to get into a new groove. Wake up, eat, class, eat, class, work out, eat, study, sleep. Repeat. Remind me that I said that when I’m crying because of how many things I have to do come September-ish.
7. Adversity. My old college roommate was sending me motivational quotes the other day for a project I’m working on and a lot them she sent me struck a cord with me, and- not surprisingly- were about pain. Maybe I’m a masochist, but I like the idea of “enduring” something and the rewards of coming out changed and stronger on the other side. This won’t be an easy journey for me. I’m a worrier, an anxious mess at times. I have a lot of doubts in myself, the process, but I’m excited to see where the adversity gets me on the other side. Bring it on!
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Categories
House

Study Room Updates

This past weekend was busy, but everyone’s busy so I’ll move on.
It sort of started on Thursday. I’ve been bugging my parents A LOT to help me get this stuff done on my office/study room. There’s a lot of it, I just can’t do by myself because I’m out working on other things all week sleeping until 2PM most days. Anyway, Thursday we moved my beautiful bookcases into the house! There was one oversight that cost us big time. These things were huge. Over 8 ft tall and 3 ft wide. Two of ’em. Our hallway is narrow and straight. The door frame into the spare bedroom is even more narrow. They would not fit to turn into the room. So, we had to cut a hole in the sheetrock opposite the doorway. Yay! Another project! Not…
Anyway, they’re in and so my mom and I immediately loaded them with stuff. My books, textbooks, trinkets, school supplies, flowers, picture frames and other little projects we’ve been working on. I am just so in love with how it looks. It inspires me to study medicine already sit and stare at it and do nothing! Friday I put together four identical storage cabinets from Lowe’s for the closet. The future home of all my mom’s crafting things! I like putting those things together. It’s so simple and uncomplicated. No troubleshooting, no missing pieces. Easy peasy!
Saturday I went to the Farmer’s market with my friend Jenna and we tried Kombucha for the first time. I can’t say its the best tasting stuff, and I’m not sure about the health benefits but it was fun to say I did it.
Sunday my mom and I went shopping for bedding and didn’t end up buying anything while we were out, but we bought one later online. I got my dry erase magnet board and some art hung up in the study as well.
Today was super productive as well which is why I didn’t post until now. I drew some abstract trees on these little burlap squares I bought. I sanded and refinished not one but TWO side tables, I bought frames (1/2 price at hobby lobby this week), I got some etsy art ordered, I took a package to FedEx, I spray painted some clothes pins, and I made some plain glass bottles into faux sea glass. Whew. I don’t have pictures of everything I mentioned, but here’s how the room and its many mini projects are going.
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