As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I’ve made the move to Boston and I’m mostly settled into my first real apartment. It’s actually a great place, with wall-to-wall carpet, a HUGE bathroom, enormous closets everywhere, and my own personal balcony overlooking a garden between my building and the church next door. It’s also right across the street from where my classes will be, which I’m sure will save me a hell of a lot of trouble once the snow starts falling and I have to tunnel to class.
My wonderful girlfriend is here as well, come up from NYC for a few days to help me move in and to get to know Boston. She’ll be staying down in the city to pursue her dream of working for a major magazine company (remember to check out her blog!) I’m so happy that she’s here, as she’s been a great help with the design and layout of my room. I tend to have no talent at all in that area, so her “suggestions” of where I put things have been very helpful. Bookcases are up, framed pictures are hung, and the kitchen is organized into a semblance of neatness that will hopefully continue once she leaves. Thankfully, she also thinks about all the little things that the apartment needs that I am sure to forget. (If I was any more hopeless, she’d make a list of every last thing I need to buy before she comes back up)
It’s odd, now that I’m here, the whole reality of the med school thing is starting to hit home, with this no better represented than in my ID card that I got today. The little piece of white plastic shouldn’t have so much meaning, and yet, even though the information on it is minimal (it doesn’t even say medical student, just “student,” and there’s not even a mention of BU) it was a big step for me. It was as if all of this, the move, the apartment, Boston, as if it was all insubstantial, and this small rectangle was the only thing that proved I’m actually a med student.
Then I got to the bookstore.
The first year’s books were not all in yet, so I’ll have to go back, but just for Anatomy there are about five REQUIRED books and two more that are highly recommended. Stacks and stacks of hardcover tomes covered adjacent shelves, and I was so scared to even ask how many I’ll need for my other classes, that we just left it at that. I’ll return in a week or so and pick everything up, and don’t worry, I’ll let you know just how many there were in total.
So tomorrow I’ll be off on the long road to Boston where I will settle into my first real apartment and get ready for medical school. It seems odd going back to Boston, the city where I was born and still feel an indescribable connection to, and while I’m not apprehensive, I just feel…well, weird. It’s one thing to know you want to become a physician, and it’s completely different to be moving in for medical school, worrying about books, dress code, and classes. I feel like I’m back in kindergarten - what are the other people going to be like? Is school going to be really hard? I know I’ll love every minute of it (well, about that phrase, talk to me in a month…) but I still can’t get by the fact that I AM GOING TO BE A DOCTOR.
Now, it seems all too real. My room here at home is clean, boxes and duffel bags tossed expertly into the car, new mattress secured (hopefully well) on top, and the only thing left is my computer. A million things are going to be left behind, and a million more were thrown out over the past few days, memories either too dusty and broken or too out of mind to matter any more. It’s odd. I’ve held onto a lot of things for the sheer fact that they make me smile, but as I cleaned out my room, I realized that it wasn’t the things that mattered as much as what they meant to me. A little flashing star here from some long-forgotten bar mitzvah brings a flood of images, and the note from the first girl who ever told me she liked me were side by side. The things that I kept were the ones that held the most physical meaning, but it saddened me to throw out others that held a place in my life, however minor. Movie stubs, old letters, and pictures found their way to the trash, while an Indians ticket from the last baseball game of the century stayed put.
All in all, it’s been a weird week, and my usual vocabulary stalls at trying to think of a better word or one more fitting. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, and you’ll all hear from me later after an exhausting 10 hour drive.
Oh, by the way, speaking of vocabulary, I got to use the word “recalcitrant” today - THAT was fun.
It’s nice to know that while we try our hardest (and often fail spectacularly) to imitate a British accent, those on the other side of the pond have nearly as much trouble imitating us. How hard could it really be, right? It’s English, Hugh Laurie does it amazingly as House, and for us, it’s just the natural way of speaking. Any one of us thinks that they have a great British accent, but how good it is really?
The link above is to a BBC article from today, showing just how difficult it can be to produce a proper American accent. Watch the video - it’s sure to have laughing and trying to imitate them!
Neil Patrick Harris is god.
Joss Whedon is my hero
So I’ll be moving to me new apartment one week from today and while I’m incredibly excited, there’s a bit of apprehension in my head. I can’t wait for medical school to start, but in my mind I still feel like some little kid who should be in high school playing in the band and not worrying about anything other than what the next day will bring. Med school will be….well…insane is probably the best word. Still, I can’t wait to start!
Shopping for my apartment is coming along well, and I spent quite a bit of today choosing the right mattress and frame for the futon that I’m going to get. I had to take special consideration to find a frame without arms. Why, you ask? Because I’m too tall to sleep well on a bed that has a footboard, and after a year of bruised dorsal aspects on my feet (look how I slipped in that medical term!) I’m ready to just let my legs hang out over the edge. I also managed to find a queen-sized mattress; it’s harder than you would think when looking at futons. I’ll probably grab it over the weekend, and with that should be the last of the things I’ll need to buy for my first apartment!
Speaking of which, those of you that need my new address, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.
So as my first real post, I suppose it might be useful for all of you to know that I’ll be starting medical school in the fall and most of my posts will probably revolve around some sort of medical topic. Medicine infiltrates my life through every possible crack, and today was no different. I was reading NEJM (The New England Journal of Medicine) and a little while later got an e-mail from a friend about the same article.
A professor at Harvard medical school proposes the idea that a full year of organic chemistry, the absolute bane of every pre-med, is not needed in preparation for med school. I can’t say anything for sure, never having taken an actual biochemistry course (the supposed follow-up), but it seems to make a lot of sense that memorizing a lot of reactions won’t come in handy.
My anatomy text book that I’m working from now - originally my father’s, and 25 years old - says that as a physician I will expand my vocabulary by over 10,000 new words. 25 years of medicine only adds to this list, and the incredible number of procedures, complications, and drugs makes the intellectual mound that must be absorbed a mile high. Those 50 or so reactions I memorized so diligently for orgo? Probably not going to matter too much. What is important are the skills that allowed me to understand why those reactions happened the way they did. That’s Dr. Dienstag’s point - orgo and the lab courses as well need to reflect a more involved student, one who can think rather than just follow directions in a manual.
So, I say, let’s get rid of that second semester as a requirement. Give students more freedom with laboratory courses by combining the old way of rote repetition with a new section that deals with creating experiments based on the reactions studied that week.
Oh, and if you haven’t looked yet, my wonderful girlfriend’s blog is a great read and much better written (sort of like comparing a sandcastle to a mountain). Enjoy!