"I am not now, that which I have been."
Today marked the last day of classes for my first semester of medical school and as you can probably tell by when my last blog post was, it has been a busy one. So much has happened in the past 18 weeks that I have not had time to really reflect (which will be what winter break will be for), but one thing is for sure...I have learned a lot not only in terms of content but more about myself.
One thing you can count medical school being is intense. The material comes at you fast and you have to deal with tough topics that challenge you. And it's these challenges that really test your patience, determination, and stamina. I have learned what study strategies work best for me (lots of flashcards, colored pens, and whiteboard markers), what I need to do to destress (thank goodness for my drum set), and what my strengths and weaknesses are (horrible at spatial reasoning and memorizing, but okay at hands on things). There are definitely moments that you freak out and get stressed, but those moments are heavily outweighed by the times when you are reminded why you are going into medicine.
Since finals are coming up, I will have to be brief and will elaborate later, but some of the highlights of the semester have included serving on panels and mentoring pre-med students, meeting amazing classmates and building strong friendships, volunteering at the KOLA Program, which provides health care services to the American Indian community (http://www.aicdc-mn.org/node/24), and learning about Positive Exposure on the last day of class, which is an organization founded by a former fashion photographer that uses photography and art as a way to alleviate the stigma against genetic differences and celebrating its beauty (http://www.positiveexposure.org/)
These experiences among others have reminded me about why I want to go into medicine by illuminating the human suffering that does exist and the health needs that must be met. These experiences have also been motivating because I can see the work that has been done to alleviate those issues and how I and other medical students can help.
It's crazy to think how much I have gained and learned in just 18 weeks and it is even crazier when I realize this is only just the first step and there is much more to learn, which is very exciting.