Two weeks ago, I shadowed a pediatric ER doctor I met during my electives week. For the short time I was there, I was reminded of my end goal, and the reason behind why I slave over lectures day in and day out. The first patient I saw was a girl with psychotic episodes who came in with her mom. She was hearing voices in her head telling her to harm herself. They had been in the ER before but were turned away with only a few strong prescriptions and a note for school. Her mom begged us both to not send them home so quickly again. She referred to me as “doctor”. When she did, a shiver instantly went through my body. The attending was able to chat directly with the psych fellow and the girl was put on an overnight hold. Her mom was relieved, and we could tell that a weight would be lifted off of her for the few hours she wouldn’t have to take care of her daughter alone. At that moment, I realized that even though I had no say in this girl’s care, I would one day for my patients, and I was currently being given the tools to do so with every lecture I studied. That day, I put aside my tiredness, my stress, and the discomfort surrounding my transition, and was reminded that the path I was on would soon bring people comfort and assurance. For that, I’m thankful.
Not gunna lie, the transition into medical school has been very rough. I’m four months into my first year, and there are still days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing or why I’m here. Not seeing my classmates and not meeting people in normal settings has weighed heavy on me, especially being that I don’t have any close family nearby. Not to mention, I love being in the classroom for lectures, being able to dialogue with professors, and being physically present to take in information. Although I would probably miss some in-person lectures here and there if not for Co-vid, I would have benefitted from having that option to interact with the material and my colleagues differently. So it’s been rough. I’ve studied a different way for every test cycle I’ve had so far. Congrats to me. BUT, I also have hope that I still have time to truly be adjusted to my new life. I’ve been keeping up, and I found a study group that I like so there’s that. There is so much to be grateful for.
My Co-vid test was (and always has been) negative. I’m thankful.
I went home a few weekends ago to celebrate my brother’s 20th birthday. I’m thankful.
I didn’t screw up the large undertaking that was this year’s Thanksgiving jerked turkey. I’m thankful.
This year, if you haven’t gathered by now, I’m thankful. Despite all that 2020 threw at me so far, I’m grateful for everything that has brought me to this point. This time last year, I was so unclear about what would lie ahead for the application cycle, for my career, and the woman I would become in 2020. But as I reflect on the blessings I have seen this year, I realize that the vision was unclear because it was far beyond that I could imagine. There is no way that I could plan to move to California for med school in the middle of a pandemic, all on my own. The way that things fell into place from my housing situation to getting a scholarship, to the people I have met so far, and the way my faith in God has grown were far beyond my scope. That is because this year has been far from ordinary (for everyone) and there simply wasn’t a clear way to prepare for it. I’m going to put an unpopular opinion out there and say that sometimes, more often than not, life will require us to walk in directions that aren’t clear, straight forward, or easy. Sometimes we can’t plan out life’s biggest twists and turns, and that’s what makes the victories birthed from those moments ones we’ll cherish for a lifetime.
So whatever you can muster up gratitude for this year, big or small, give thanks.