As the end of the semester looms near, bringing the year to a conclusion, various things have started to come into focus and the results of my decisions are coming closer to fruition--for better or worse.
Thanksgiving break is/was the first real vacation I've had since the beginning of this program. Although it was a bit overwhelming to take an exam so soon after the previous one, I was grateful for the week of breathing room it provided me. An overabundance of small tasks and errands had begun to pile up due to my commitments to both school and work. Laundry, personal relationships, cooking, self-care and washing my car demanded my attention, but regularly coming home post 2 AM did not make addressing any of these concerns very appealing. Simply put, after all, these months of adjusting, studying and working, I am not where I expected myself to be. The idealistic dreams of a summer time student who was grateful to be accepted into this prestigious program did not result in the realities of my current situation.
But I can't say I am completely disappointed in myself because I did put in the time and effort, just in inefficient or ineffective ways that I could not have known without trying. In the same manner, my time and effort resulted in experiences that I didn't expect either.
This past Tuesday as I volunteered at the Goldring nutrition center again, I was saddened to see that all the previous volunteers and students had ended their services after the Thanksgiving course, and a new group of medical students had come in to replace them. Having to learn new names, and becoming accustomed to new co-workers was a practice I had gone through a few too many times in recent months. Despite this, introductions were done naturally in between small break periods of work and the class went as smoothly as ever. In fact, some of the dishes that night were the best I had ever had.
I also began seeing my coworkers, fellow students, and fellow volunteers overlapping into my different work/school/casual spheres. I was given a glimpse of these individuals in a setting I was accustomed to. Although what always seems like a common trope in these blog posts came as a pleasant surprise to me. These same individuals who I looked up to, respected and in some cases idolized, also struggled with the same menial tasks that plagued me. In a sobering moment, I realized that these individuals were just as "human" or fallible as I was. This caused me to further respect these individuals as well as reinvigorate my pursuit for medicine and personal professionalism.
Life has its ups and downs, wrapped up in the ever flavorful Christmas wrapping called "Life Lessons". I'm sure these life lessons won't be ending anytime soon and will arrive just as unexpectedly for the rest of my studies or my career. Doctors are notoriously plagued by burnout and career exhaustion, and when that time comes, I'll look to my colleagues and myself, as a reminder to take on the task with the same invigoration and tenacity that I currently have writing this blog and studying for this final exam and upcoming semester.