Day 139: Oh, hello 2012

Today’s inane image of the day:

Every winter, I find myself knitting for stress relief — something about the redundant motions and forming a pattern from string just seems magical and very appropriate for the season. This particular pattern is called Ripple Stitch.

It’s amazing how the new year seemed to creep up on me — it couldn’t have been more than a couple weeks ago that I was tossing and turning in bed waiting for my first day of medical school to begin. It feels like many years have passed since I sat at a pump of a gas station and squealed in delight when I saw an email from OUWB inviting me to interview. I remember noting how dirty the snow looked and how biting the air was when I finally got out of the car to fill up my gas tank, but the excitement was overwhelming and I can look back on that memory fondly.

2011 was filled with multitudes of contrasting emotions: heartache and excitement; stress and relaxation; fear and serenity. Not surprisingly, the year will be filed away in my memory as a crossroad in my life.

Last year
Around this time last year, I was sitting next to a fireplace at my favorite coffeeshop listening to Ben Harper and tapping away at my OUWB secondary essay. I remember feeling like I had nothing to lose by submitting the application [well, besides the $75 application fee] and let my words flow in response to the two prompts. I remember digging through the website to try to find any more information and recognizing Dr. Sabina as my tour guide during the 2010 Applicant Visit day. After finally submitting, I succumbed back into the waiting game.

Interviewing recap
As the interview invites slowly rolled in, my excitement morphed into fear. True, I had made it this far, but interviewing meant that I had to articulate in spoken words what brought me there. Although OUWB was my second interview invite, due to scheduling issues, it ended up being my first interview. I think the worst part of the experience was just getting into my car at the end of the day and feeling completely helpless and discouraged. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting a call from Dean Grabowski.

My second interview [NYMC] was tied with a much needed trip to New York City. Although I had a really good feeling about that interview, a couple months later I received an email notifying me that I was on the waitlist. Even though the decision was met with anguish, from where I’m sitting now, I really only remember catching up with my friend and how much fun it was to roam, see, smell and hear everything in the city.

My third interview [Wayne State] required that I miss class. It wasn’t particularly memorable except for getting momentarily lost in Detroit and catching up with a former classmate over coffee. I remember walking out of the interview and returning a smile to a homeless man passing by. Maybe that little gesture was what tipped the scales in my favor, because a little over a month later, I received my first acceptance. Thank you Wayne State for being the first school to pronounce me worthy of a medical education.

My last interview [MCW] was for a waitlist position. Although I hadn’t thought much of the school, after meeting a few students and conversing with my two interviewers, I fell in love. I’d guess that if home were closer to Wisconsin that I might be there right now. Regardless, it was a tough moment to call the admissions office and withdraw my application.

Everything else
Although my interviews were what stood out about the first half of 2011, I cannot disregard the fact that I was still finishing up my Master’s degree, was part of the SWE executive board, running a middle school club, peer advising and enjoying Mike’s company. We were taking the exact same classes during our last semester and I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been to get through the problem sets and projects without him by my side the entire way. I remember  the night we discussed where he should do this PhD and knowing that he would choose California over Michigan. Although I knew we would be in a long distance relationship, the fact didn’t sink in until I started classes.

The summer was a perfect mix of everything I needed before starting medical school. In a lot of ways, it was my first real break from everything academic — for the first time, I didn’t have to worry about taking classes, research or volunteering. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy these things, but for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to worry about getting into medical school. I also had a fun job, great coworkers, and ample time for myself in the evenings.

Oh, and the road trip! Since I haven’t traveled much, this was a much needed experience. No words can describe peering into the Grand Canyon or the Hoover Dam. And relaxing by the pool in Palm Springs. And the plains really are plain [but are nice to drive through!]. And seeing Hollywood for the first time. And so many new things!

Starting a new chapter
Leaving California, I was eager for the start of school. More and more updates came from OUWB and medical school was finally starting to feel like a reality. I didn’t know what to expect, yet I knew that it would be something amazing. Things were rough at the start and I still have some loose ends to tie up [remediation], but I know that I’m in the right place because I still love the school, the people and the material.

What’s next?
I’m starting the new year with a sense that things will work out… otherwise, why would I want to leave my warm bed each morning? Things have been tough with school and the long distance thing, but it worked out this last semester and will just have to work until the next crossroad. I’m not one to have new year’s resolutions, but I do want to try to stay positive this upcoming year. After all, this time next year, I’ll have to worry about setting up a study plan for the boards [eeek!].

Thank you
When I started this blog over the summer, I never expected to have more than 10 dedicated readers… but it looks like we’ve come a long way since then. Thanks for reading my rants and providing supportive comments during the rough patches — my success can be attributed in part to you!

4 thoughts on “Day 139: Oh, hello 2012

  • December 31, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you for writing and Happy New Year!!

  • January 1, 2012 at 3:15 am

    happy new year! enjoy the rest of break.

  • January 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Hi! I stumbled upon your blog from MiM comments, it’s nice to see another knitting medical type. Knitting keeps me sane during residency!

  • January 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Happy new year to all of you! Wishing all of my readers health and happiness!

    @Jess: I checked out your blog, and your knitting/quilting is absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had that kind of skill… but I usually stick to simple stuff so I can drop it for a couple weeks around exam time and pick it right back up. =)

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