Monthly Archives: July 2011

A First Encounter


I think one of the best things about moving to a new place is discovering the similarities and poignant differences that make a new place reminiscent of home but entirely unique. It’s finding something that you’ve done before or experienced that has an entirely different feel and tone but helps you to feel comfortable, even familiar. What do I mean? Just one example: watching Mamma Mia, drinking coffee in my brand new living room. What is more comforting than ABBA, a hot beverage, and the sun streaming in from the front window? I could be anywhere and that, in many ways, is comforting.

I also found the gym yesterday and I cannot believe I have another four years of free workouts. As a recent running addict, I was thrilled to find this bonus membership (for the low, low price of Medical school tuition). I’ll take it. The fitness center is gorgeous and on-campus, and thus I don’t have as many ways to excuse myself from working out. Even 20 minutes running a day will help me stay a bit more centered and sane. Who says endorphins aren’t magical? I expect my interpretation of hormones as “magical” will undergo some redefinition once I start SBMP (Don’t know the acronym?  Refer to my previous post).

My roommate just got here today!  It’s nice to have someone around the apartment.  I can’t imagine living alone or spending the next four years without someone to commiserate with.  Just knowing that there is someone who is working as diligently as I am and trying to keep on top of the massive amounts of material we’re sure to be given is reassuring.  Not only that, but it’ll be much easier to navigate all of the Orientation events with someone who can confirm my woeful knowledge of our Campus.  Literally, how do I not know where the library is?  Sometimes I wonder whether my lack of geographical and navigational skills will compromise my future as a physician…I guess so long as I’m only required to find my way through hospitals wings I’ll be okay.  Maybe I should invest in a compass…

We had our first social event for Orientation last night, which, due to an unforeseen blackout in all of the nearby area, was moved to a hilarious sports bar in the heart of Hershey.  It was really nice to meet some of my classmates and see the M1’s already establishing a unique dynamic.  Two dollar LIT’s and some excellent dance music really does help bond—that, and the locals who treated us to some dance moves that I still regret not videotaping.  Our class is incredibly diverse: there is the definite majority representation of Pennsylvanians but I’ve met several Californians and there’s even a guy from Utah!  Some of my classmates are married with newborns and others graduated from college a year ago and have worked at amazing endeavors in their gap year between undergrad and med school.  I’m looking forward to the official start of Orientation, tomorrow, and to meeting even more members of my class.  Medical school is definitely going to be different than college and I can’t wait to see how we all handle the inevitably difficult transition.  I miss undergrad already but I’m really excited for this next step and I think last night was a good indication of how our class is going to make it through.

I’ve included another glimpse of my new apartment, the teeny kitchen, and I will write about our first Orientation events later this week!


Thanks for visiting,



A Love of Books


So before I launch into how moving went, I think I’ll explain a little bit about the start of medical school and the courses I’ll be taking…or undertaking I suppose.  We just received an email from the fearless leaders of our first major course entitled Structural Basis of Medical Practice.  We, I’m already using the collective!, operate under a block schedule and I will be enrolled in three courses come August 8th.

Besides Structural Basis (SBMP), I will be taking Foundations of Clinical Medicine (FCM I) and Social Influences on Health.  SBMP is the mother of all medical school courses—it is an 11-week course including topical studies in Gross Anatomy, Embryology, Radiology, Humanities and Clinical Correlates.  The hallmark and cornerstone of this course is, of course, cadaver dissection.  Now, I purchased extremely fashionable scrubs in varying hues to wear to dissect my cadaver BUT Penn State will be providing blue, uniform scrubs for us to wear.  I suppose if they do the laundry, I can take them up on the offer!  Prior to starting the course, the second-year students conduct a lecture entitled “Meet Your Cadaver.”  We will be assigned to groups of three or four students, each given a body, and it seems we are thrown right into dissection beginning the very first week.  Armed with my dissector and the 24 colored pencils I purchased, I hope I’ll be able to find our cadaver’s leg…and maybe a muscle to boot.

I was finally able to download our class schedule for first semester and we begin our year with a class picture on the front lawn of the College of Medicine wearing our white coats!  I am so excited.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post a picture from either the white coat ceremony (more info to come) or the picture-taking on the first day of classes.  Either way, I need to go sort out all of my textbooks and ensure I have everything for the first day of classes.  As of now, I seem pretty set with Anatomy textbooks…

Moving, to update all those interested, went VERY well.  The move-in was smooth, I wasn’t yelled at for pulling my car onto the apartment property (honestly, the signs prohibiting vehicles aren’t all that large), our Ikea furniture was easily assembled and I even managed to start organizing!  Although saying goodbye was sad, moving and starting new experiences has become a kind of norm and I cannot wait to embark on this new adventure and share all of my exciting discoveries with my family and friends.  After my parents left, I began the endless task of creating organizational systems (my forte) and decorating my room!  After several trips to Wal Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Pier 1, Target, and Marshalls (no, I’m not exaggerating-I truly visited each establishment), my room is looking wonderful and is starting to feel like home.  I’ve had several days to myself and tomorrow my roommate arrives.  Little things from home, like pictures, my new Keurig (thank you Uncle A for fueling a burgeoning caffeine addiction), and college memorabilia has helped make this transition a lot easier.  Here’s a quick glimpse of my new room:

I’ll share more later but for now, I’m off to hunt on Amazon.

Wish me luck!


A Sweet Start


It all begins tomorrow!  Or it all ends tomorrow: two ways of looking at the big move and step I am about to take.  My goal, and the purpose of this blog, is to embrace the former and find the merit and ease that isn’t normally associated with the daunting institution of medicine.  Tomorrow I start medical school, or at least I move to start medical school.  While my location may be the sweetest place on Earth, moving certainly doesn’t share the same adjective.  I despise moving-there is nothing worse than having to put everything you own into boxes, disassemble furniture, drive all of your belongings halfway across a state only to have to move everything into the new house and try to establish another system of organization.  My anal retentive style cannot handle the variables involved with moving—from now on, I want to be heavily sedated observing as movers organize my belongings and deal with the inevitable issues associated with Ikea furniture.

Tomorrow I will drive three and a half hours and move the rest of my belongings into my lovely, albeit small, apartment, sin movers.  I’ll need luck and muscular strength that I don’t possess but it will get done.  My parents are helping me get everything into my new abode and then I will start trying to make my apartment feel like home.  My roommate won’t be arriving until Saturday so you may be hearing from me sooner rather than later if boredom sets in…that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.  Boredom.

After July 31st, I don’t think I will be able to say I am truly bored ever again.  I spent the summer relishing in perfect, summer boredom—I didn’t work, exert myself, or do much of anything in anticipation of the stressful year ahead.  Okay, maybe I was a bit lazy but I don’t think I will be able to make a pledge of pointed boredom ever again so I took full advantage of the opportunity.  From here on out, my time won’t be my own.  I truly believe that doctors, and physicians to be, relinquish their ability to operate selfishly when they take the Hippocratic Oath and begin practicing medicine.  Maybe my outlook is shadowed by naivety but I really believe that apart from altruism, the best quality a doctor can maintain is selflessness.  Hence why I spent this summer focusing on myself…as egotistical as that sounds.  Right now I’m going to go finish up some last minute packing and perhaps watch an episode of Greek while eating leftovers from my graduation party (I know what you’re thinking; talk about self-indulgence) but I’ll introduce myself a little more in my next blog and maybe even include a picture of my new home.

For now, a picture of before:

Lots of work to be done…

Thanks for reading!