I think its time to come back!

I just reread my last post from October, and it gave me such a nostalgic feeling about where I was in that point in my life. I was excited because everything was new, and there was so much hope and promise looking forward.

Now looking back, I can proudly say I aced the program, moved back home, and will be starting medical school in about a month! There were plenty of struggles along the way, many which sucked up a lot of my time and kept me from coming here and writing about them. I got sick multiple times in ways I never imagined, the course work in Buffalo was challenging, and I had plenty of issues with how the program itself was run and administered. They did not make it easy on us, so I can confidently say my success this past year is 100% attributed to my hard work. Those late nights payed off. Its a very empowering feeling 🙂

I am again feeling excited about the newness of medical school, with plenty of hope and promise as I look forward. But I am also very nervous. This past year only provided a small sampling of what medical school will really take. It will be completely life consuming. But thats ok, because medicine is beautiful and I want it to be my life 🙂
I’ve seen a lot of youtube videos and read a lot of articles about “what I wish I knew before starting medical school” and it seems like the postbac has given me a head start. Specifically, I have changed my study habits, have made my own health a larger priority, and am working on becoming more regimented with my schedule. We’ll see if it pays off. Balancing it all is hard work.

I’ll keep this post short-ish for now, because I have plenty to talk about for future posts. I’m headed off for a ~30 mile bike ride with Nate 🙂 Happy Independence Day, and I hope you all get a chance to get outside and move!

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Its a lovely feeling…..

…when everything feels like its falling into its proper place. Recently my boyfriend Nate found out he had gotten accepted into the accelerated nursing program at UofR (where I will begin medical school next year). He broke the news to me between classes, and I cried and cried as if I had been accepted into medical school. If you have been following along in this blog, you would know that I never did get an acceptance letter. It was more of a “hey if you do this postbac and ace your courses, we’ll let you in next year”.

Thank you Nate, for giving me the emotional rush I have been fantasizing about since wanting to become a doctor. 

I cannot adequately express how happy and proud I am of him. It was a tough road, and it all started when we started dating and he realized he wanted something more fulfilling in life. It takes guts and dedication to turn things around, change tracks, and pursue a completely different career.  But he is doing it!  I always felt that as long as both of us were given the chance (i.e. accepted) we would shine. I have no doubt he will at the top of his class…he is a smarty pants 😉

Weekend trip to our future school :)

Weekend trip to our future school 🙂

Its also nice to know that next January 2014, he will be done and have a job……you know, that thing you do that people give you MONEY for! I miss working and making money. It’ll be a while for me, and even when I hit residency (in family medicine, internal medicine…?) I still won’t be making THAT much. But its nice to know that as Nate and I move forward in life together, he will be able to support us. I’ll still have to take out loans….theres no way around 60k+ per year at a private institution! But him working, and even better in a field he loves and can grow in, makes me feel much more secure.

As for me, I’m about 5 weeks into the Fall semester and things are going well.  I just finished up my first round of exams, and overall I did very well. I started off with biochem, and for the first time in my life I didn’t feel stressed before that exam. I studied everything multiple times, and felt very sure that I had mastered the material. Unfortunately, that was the exam I did the worst on! Not failing, but between a B+ and A-. I know, thats not bad at all……..but I wanted to build a good cushion for myself so that when the material gets tougher, I don’t go into the red with a bad performance on the following exams.

I beat myself up over how I did on that exam for too long. When I finally got over myself, I realized that I had not been stressed enough. This was a very strange concept for me, given I have had crippling test anxiety in the past …..coughcoughMCATcoughcough.  What happened was a lack of motivation once I felt comfortable, which led to no stress, and rushing through the exam just to get it over with.  The mistakes I made had nothing to do with my understanding of the material, and thats infuriating! I had simply read some questions wrong and was careless.

NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN!

Stress has been linked to performance in many studies, but just thinking about it intuitively, it makes sense. Stress is motivation, the drive, that people feel when they are nailing it!  We just don’t equate these feelings with stress per say because its gotten a bad rap. Too much stress can be crippling, demoralizing and anxiety inducing.  But if we can all hone in on that sweet spot (right at the top of the bell curve above), wonderful things happen.  Easier said than done.

I believe I was successful in psyching myself out a little more with my other 3 exams, as evidenced by my increasing grade with each one. I think changing my wallpaper on my laptop also helped as a motivating factor:

So excited I’m counting down the days…..225 days to be exact 😛

So, so far so good. Very good in fact. Life is going according to plan 🙂

I’ll leave you all with this TED talk on stress. I really enjoyed it.