Chronicles of a Med Student: We’re All In This Together

Walking into my first day of medical school was a little like walking into my first day of kindergarten (if my memory does not fail me). Everything was brand new: I was being exposed to a new way of learning in a new environment, where people had new expectations of me, and where I was going to start from square one and build up a new circle of friends. I had carried the same set of friends in grade school and though I thought initially that college would’ve felt like this on my first day, it didn’t. I had a lot of friends from high school go to the same college as me, so it just felt like we were hanging out in a new place. And again college is very different from medical school in more ways than I can put into a coherent list. Starting medical school was unlike any other start in my life (besides kindergarten, of course). What if I had forgotten how to make new friends from scratch?!

Once my mini panic attack had subsided and school got into full swing, I realized I was seeing the same people day in and day out, again experience #245 that was different from undergrad. Once we joked around about how all of our non-medical school friends were working and traveling and actually earning money (a foreign concept to those of us just getting by on ramen night after night), something magical happened: we BONDED. I thought I knew what bonding meant in the undergrad world: it was where you got drinks with people you barely knew one night and by the next morning, you had told them your deepest secrets over more tequila shots than you could remember. But this was different. A weird different. And I liked it. These people, my fellow struggle-bussers all in medical school, who had signed their lives away to this grueling profession and had paid an arm and a leg to do it, got it. They just got me. Who could understand exactly what I was going through better than they could? This is the fastest way friendships form in medical school. We agonize, we complain, we study, we stress, we celebrate victories all together because no one else knows. Of course I don’t mean to be exclusive or elitist in the least when I say this in what is probably the tritest statement of the century, but medicine is a very unique profession with a very unique set of demands. Even medical school is so different from any other graduate program. We all take exactly the same classes at exactly the same time and take exactly the same tests and pray exactly together that we all passed. It had been so long since that had happened, and I loved the feeling of being in it together. It felt like a team!
That is my big take-away for school and for life in general: no matter how it may feel, you will never be in it alone. Being part of my medical school family made me feel like I belonged. I could be my nerdy self and tell people that I bought the latest issue of Popular Science without getting funny looks. I could get excited about a trip to the observatory to see a presentation about the newest type of rock found on Mars and no one thought that was downright weird. I felt like I belonged. Maybe I just got really lucky in my experience, or maybe that’s just how it is in medical school, but either way it is an experience worth having and one that I will remember for the rest of my life–unlike kindergarten, where the most monumental thing that happened to me on a daily basis was getting the last carton of strawberry milk at snack time. (Okay obviously I still remember that and get a little too excited about it looking back, but you catch my drift). I feel like I belong.
About the Author
Adelle is a 1st year medical student who loves to hike, bake chocolate chip cookies, and doodle on the corners of papers.
 

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