Medical school, medical school, medical school. To say I’ve heard those two words a million times—probably starting in the womb—is an understatement. Those two words alone send shivers down my spine and make me want to reach for an inhaler, and I’m not even an asthmatic. Ironically enough, I’m currently in the midst of preparing my applications. I know.
It’s true that my parents pushed for this for as long as I remember and, naturally, I vehemently challenged the idea for as long as I remember. I’d rather it remain undisclosed the number of times I changed my major or track during college. I can talk about this (kind of) lightheartedly now that I’ve graduated. I couldn’t tell you what my plan was with my science degree, but I could tell you that med school wasn’t it. My parents begged to differ.
One peculiar fall day, they simply let it go—just like that. It felt freeing and shocking and exciting and unnatural all at the same time. “I’m gonna pursue archaeology,” was my first thought. “No, I’m gonna teach English to kids in Spain,” was my second. Mind you, I can maybe carry a two-minute conversation in Spanish and had zero funds saved up to support that dream.
Perhaps this is where reverse psychology is useful, because it only took me a few days to begin questioning whether I actually did want to pursue medical school. I feel like it’s one of those things that briefly crosses a lot of people’s minds and then is dismissed just as quickly. I mean, I couldn’t just not fulfill this path that was essentially carved out for me, right? I put three years of literal sweat and tears into it.
This is how my best friend described the pre-med track, and I quote: “It’s like we have this garden and water it three times a week and make sure it has enough light and really nurture it and all we get is like one bush and everyone else just maybe waters it once a week but then they get a whole orchard. Not fair.” We’re science majors. Punctuation is unnecessary, apparently. That’s truthfully how it felt oftentimes, though—totally consuming and frequently disheartening.
Actually, I remember during my admissions exam, I looked up at the time and there were 10 minutes left on the timer (of the miserable 400+ minutes I should add), and you know what my first thought was? No, not, I’m gonna crush so many beers after this or I can’t wait to become a fully functioning human again.
Sadly enough, the first thoughts that popped into my head were, Oh my god. Now what? What is my purpose now? I had allowed this grueling process to mark me with its indelible stamp.
Much to my surprise, when I reentered the real world once again, time hadn’t stopped and Morgan Freeman wasn’t narrating my triumphant walk. So anticlimactic. While all these feelings still hold true, the best/worst (word choice still pending) part is that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t pinpoint exactly what changed in me besides the fact that I recognized more and more that this is ultimately the right path for me. I belong. I’m interested.
Surely enough, without even realizing it until the deed was done, I had decided to continue to water the garden three times a week. I guess the orchard is seven or so years down the road for me… And, yes, I’m fully committing to this analogy.
I still can’t really tell you what a stock is or identify any of Nietzsche’s central arguments. But if you ever need to know how the electrochemical gradient of the electron transport chain facilitates mechanical work, or how the resonances of a closed pipe and an open pipe differ, then I’m your girl.