Day to day, minute to minute, even- my situation changes. Sometimes I feel on top of everything and then the next time I check myself, I feel like know nothing and panic. Occasionally I feel like I could study all night and be productive. Other times I fall asleep while trying to choke down a cup of coffee. Sometimes I can stay in a good mood picking fat out of my cadaver’s neck. Then the next minute I would do anything to leave lab and never go back in there again. It’s ups and downs and good and bad and nothing is ever the same minute to minute because there’s always new information being thrown at me, changing my situation and stress levels. It’s a good time. And also it’s terrible.
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.
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!