And there goes the first year of medical school! I finished my last exam exactly one week ago and have begun enjoying my last free summer. I can’t believe that one year has elapsed and my classmates and I are ¼ of the way towards becoming M.D’s. As surreal as it feels right now, I can recount just how many nights I felt like studying would go on forever and we would never reach May 11th. It’s been an incredible year filled with more growth, development, progress, and knowledge than I could have ever anticipated. Leaving the final exam was bittersweet—of course I was thrilled to have completed the first year but I realized that never again will I be a first-year medical student, green with anticipation and excitement at becoming a doctor. I’m happy to report, that I am still that naïve, slightly green student but I’m even more excited than when I first arrived. Holding on to that thrill is probably my greatest accomplishment this year. It’s very easy to lose sight of why we first became interested in medicine when we’re mired down in basic science concepts but I think the College has done a miraculous job of keeping our interest intact. Now that summer is here, I finally have time to breathe and reflect on this year in its entirety and I am not only proud to have completed my first year but cemented in my determination to pursue this career. Sure, this year’s 60,000-dollar expenditure could confirm anyone’s inkling, even create conviction, but I believe my assuredness comes more from excitement about future prospects than debt. Second year is bound to be more medically oriented and while I am excited for what’s to come, I am going to relish every second of this summer.
For the next three months I’ll be completing my Medical Student Research Project, a graduation requirement and frankly, an excellent implementation despite the time it will take away from what would otherwise be a completely free summer. I’ll be analyzing data for a patient-provider interaction study and hopefully creating an abstract and model for future medical school educational units on identifying patient clues in the context of a clinical visit. Interesting stuff…or at least to my qualitatively oriented mind it is! In between research and some shadowing, I’ll be exploring Hershey properly for the first time and taking some much needed breaks for vacations! First I’m off to California to explore Yosemite and my new pastime, hiking. For those who know me well, please give me the benefit of the doubt, I can indeed hike and no, I do not need a GPS for directions (though if anyone knows of a lightweight, pocket model, I wouldn’t ignore the advice). Outfitted with my new hiking boots and some wool socks, I’m ready to take on my first national park…and my first trip to the West Coast. I am beyond excited. I had planned to take a trip to California to visit my friend from school over Spring Break but the dreaded Mono obscured my travel plans. Now I’m getting a second chance to explore what has been termed the “Better Coast,” so I’m loading up on Vitamin C and extra sleep in anticipation. Oh, and breaking in my new hiking boots (I know most of you are laughing right now…har de har har).
After the West Coast comes more research, a hopeful beach trip with the family, a trip to Maine and then my roommate’s wedding, an event I’ve been waiting for all year! With a concert in NYC and some fun weekends planned in between, Annapolis to see the best friend, Bucknell to relive the glory days, Pittsburgh for visits with the family, this is going to be a wonderful summer. I am committed to keeping all you loyal readers updated along the way.
This first true summer weekend has been incredibly relaxing. The gorgeous 80-degree weather prompted several hours of relaxation outside and a trip to the Outlets for some unnecessary, yet oh-so-desired, shopping. I’m now writing you with Bridget Jones’ Diary playing in the background contemplating ice cream for dessert. It’s such a luxury to have time to plan dinner, absorb some Vitamin D, and take a workout class without wishing I had my PowerPoints at hand. This is truly the life.
I’m going to soak in the sheer bliss of having nothing to do!
What I learned while enduring my first year of med school: nothing can replace a good group of friends, a supportive family, and Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream and no amount of stress can take those things away.
Your 2nd year medical student…Lindsay.