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Chronicles of a Med Student: Making Every Moment Count

I was ringing in the New Year with a friend when suddenly it hit me that it was 2016. I still feel like 2015 is in the future and it’s already 2016. I’m not getting any younger, but more importantly, how fast am I getting older? My birthday is close to New Year’s, so my biological clock is really in sync with the calendar year. Now that I’m in medical school, time flies faster than ever. It’s important for me to keep track of what I’m doing and to make sure I savor every moment. In order to do this, I want to make sure I make every day count by doing something useful so when I look back, I know I’ve spent my time wisely even while in school. I decided to take a quick look back at my last year to reflect on my highlights!

First and most importantly, I was accepted to and began medical school! That is the single most important thing that has happened in my academic career. Along with this, I have truly enjoyed getting to know a lot of new people. But I also kept in touch with my old friends. The experiences I bond over with each of my friends relate to different but unique periods of time in my life. I also challenge myself to make a difference in every year of my life, whether it be large or small. Though the bulk of my contribution to society will begin once I graduate from school, I don’t want to discount all of the previous years. Last year, my goal was volunteer for something that I had little experience in. My parents are big on growing our own vegetables in the summer months (which I honestly find so cool—most things we eat in the summers are home grown and much more delicious than whatever comes from a grocery store) so I decided to volunteer at a local farm. On my first day, I was prepared to meet the farmer sporting overalls and chewing on a piece of straw (all children’s books about farmers can back me up on this). Was I surprised when I met a bunch of normal women who just grow some beautiful and delicious produce? Um, yes. Though this may have been a slight exaggeration, my point is that it’s important to embrace something new. I also discovered the joys of a simple life devoid of being glued to your phone—it’s a more satisfying experience than most would think. We planted crops, watched them grow and eventually cooked with them! I’m glad I got that experience because I got to see what people do outside of hospitals and clinics. And I got to see how honey is made (which is pretty cool, for the record. I got to wear a beekeeper’s suit and everything).
I also have some new goals for this coming year! Again, I hope to venture out of the clinical and academic environment to delve deeper into more facets of our society. The city I grew up in is home to a wonderful art museum which I’m ashamed to say I’ve only been to once…and that was on a fourth grade field trip. I want to go back and truly appreciate what it has to offer now that I’m old enough to do it. In terms of giving back, I plan to join the local Big Brother/Big Sister program so I can have an impact on the next generation. It’s so important to embrace all different aspects of life–beyond just medical school–because even as medical student we are important members of society! It’s sometimes too easy to blame others for problems we see in our society without realizing that we can have a meaningful impact in fixing them. In order to do that, we have to start somewhere. Make the new year (and every day) count!