I’m writing this as I procrastinate on studying for my last set of exams, but by the time you’re reading this I’ll either be packing my suitcase or already on a plane to Moscow. It’s surreal to even think about. I can’t believe how this first year of medical school has flown by and I’m equally floored that I’m finally traveling to Russia after dreaming about it for so long. The last 8 months have been an insane roller coaster with some of the highest highs and lowest lows so I figured it would be fun to share my thoughts on it, even if just for the sake of getting it all down in writing.
In many ways medical school has been an incredibly tough transition for me. This last unit has been on the central nervous system – maybe you’ve heard of that theory about being right or left brain dominant. I’d consider myself right-brained through and through. I love writing, art, fashion … basically anything that’s not math or science. Science fascinates me, but it’s not something I’d say I’m great at. Ironic that I decided to throw myself into the medical field. Or maybe it’s just crazy. Whatever you want to call it, impostor syndrome is very real and I’ve spent a lot of days feeling like a fish out of water.
On top of that, there’s nothing quite like medical school to take your ego down a notch. If I’m honest, I’ve never felt exceptionally out of the ordinary being surrounded by talented students ever since my college-prep high school days. But after applying to med school and actually getting in, I think was just beginning to convince myself that maybe I was a cut above. At least on paper I had all the stats to get in. Man, did that feeling fade fast. Imagine feeling like a big fish in a smaller pond and then getting thrown into an ocean full of tiger sharks. Not that all med students are sharks (some are…) but everyone is just as smart if not smarter than you. How do you deal with the earth-shattering revelation that your very best efforts land you right in the middle of the pack? Is it okay to be average? Or rather, is it okay to be satisfied with average? I still don’t think I have a good answer.
I’ve had some exam scores I’m pretty proud of and some that made me physically cringe when I opened the results. All in all they average out to … well, average. Maybe a bit above. Actually I can’t even tell you since my last exam scores won’t be out for a while (pray for me lol). I’ve dealt with a lot of guilt and self-hatred – what am I doing wrong? What can I do better? Am I doing everything I can? I do know the answer to the last one: no. I’m probably not. If I didn’t go home every weekend, if I didn’t spend time with my family and boyfriend, if I worked out less, and if I somehow had more discipline I can guarantee I’d see at least some difference in my grades. That said, it would be nice to make it through the next few years with my sanity intact. More than anything I want to work on my study habits and how to balance everything in my life and I’m hoping the results will follow.
So what are my thoughts on my first year of medical school … the first thing that comes to mind is: damn, that was hard. Like actually surprisingly hard. But also not impossible! I have to say that while I did fall down at times and can’t hide those dips in my grades, I’m pretty impressed at myself for making it through. I guess even a fish out of water can flop itself across the finish line. I’m feeling a little more confident in my abilities and resilience, so maybe next year I’ll come back as a sturgeon or a very small shark or something.
To end on a positive note, I really am happy with how things turned out. Despite struggling with confidence academically, I feel like for the first time I’m actually finding a place for myself. I love being able to recognize almost all of the people in my class after coming from a huge university in undergrad. I have some amazing friends and it truly blows my mind when I realize that I’ve barely known them for 8 months. I’ve also surprised myself by taking up leadership positions in a couple clubs I’m really passionate about (maybe more on that in the future). I’ve come a long way from the Emily who used to study alone most days in undergrad and who was too scared to take on leadership out of fear of messing up or ruining her grades.
Also I’m headed on a two week trip around Russia with the man I love and get to speak the language I studied for 3 years, so I’ve got that going for me. Get ready for a shameless amount of Instagram posts and lots of photos on the blog! I’ll link outfit details below along with info on where I shot these photos (another very cool art installation in Detroit). Пока for now!
K-Swiss striped crew neck
Lululemon All the right places leggings
Zara tweed backpack (few seasons old): at ebay, at ebay
p.s. some of these websites work with Ebates to give you cash back! Sign up with my link here.
Pop up art installation:
The Beach is an interactive pop up art installation done by Snarkitecture Studio. Visit it in the heart of Detroit right on Woodward! Learn more by visiting the Library Street Collective website. Book reservations here.