Yesterday was the last day of my first year of medical school. I passed all of my exams, and headed out to celebrate my birthday with the one and only Alan. After that, I met up with all of my friends for our last big MS1 party (first big MS2 party??). Given that it was my birthday celebration, I got to choose what I wanted to do, and my choice was to not drink. I just really wasn’t feeling spending my night drunk (and most importantly my day hung over). And it wouldn’t have ended with a little buzz and a fun day today. It would have ended with me passed out on a floor somewhere. Because that’s the kind of party it was.
I’ve got the video to prove it.
So I stayed sober and made sure all my friends got home safely, which is worth another post in and of itself. I’ve never had quite as interesting a night with all of them as I did last night…possibly because I’m usually part of the group that forgets about the shenanigans rather than being the one videotaping them. :-) Honestly, though, it was the best birthday / end of first year celebration that I could have had. They’re good people, even when they’re wasted.
So, after passing all our exams and not having to repeat first year, my med school friends and I are all moving on to bigger and better summer time things. Which mostly means moving. Like…moving all our crap in boxes up and down many flights of stairs.
We moved crap from noon until 8 pm. Heavy crap. Awkward shaped crap. Down many stairs. And back up them. For eight hours.
As strange as it sounds, I’m feeling wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired and I’m sore. It was a hard day. But it was with great people who made the time go much faster than it should have, and despite the 90+ degree weather, we got everything done and moved in. Now my soreness is just a remnant of the hard work I put in. My soreness is a mark of my accomplishments today.
There’s something to be said for seeing your efforts pay off. I don’t mind being sore when I get stuff done in the process. I feel good about being tired, and I feel good about being active. That was the best workout I’ve had in the last 3 weeks (because exams and such), and I really just couldn’t be more pleased right now.
I am gonna miss these guys though. My roommate is headed out on a ship (I think it’s a destroyer) leaving port from San Diego for Hawaii. Two others are headed to the Sierras for altitude training. Another to Alaska. I’ll be in Florida doing flight surgery and dive medic training.
When we return for school in the fall, we’ve only got 4 more months together before we all head off on our rotations across the country. Texas, California, Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, North Carolina, DC…
Military medicine is a small family. There aren’t many of us in all, and there are even fewer places for us to go. Undoubtedly many of us will be stationed together someday. But for now, it feels a bit like we’re all going away, and that’s sad. I’m gonna miss this guys.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly bleak about the state of the world, I think of all the things that could happen in the future. It feels like so many countries are on the brink of something very unstable, and in 3 years time, we are all fully deployable. Whatever wars are fought, we will be a part of them. We will be the team of people there saving lives. “Good medicine in bad places.” That’s one of our school’s mottos. Sometimes it doesn’t really hit you until you think about how much you love all of these people, and how hard it would be if one of them didn’t make it back.
Signing up to join the military was a decision that I made over a year ago. It was a decision that I anticipated over two years ago. It was a decision I considered back in high school when I applied to Westpoint for undergrad. But sometimes the reality of it all still hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t know that it will until I’m deployed someday… and hopefully returning home safely.
When people ask me how long I’ve been in the Navy, I tell them about a year now. It’s true. I commissioned in July of 2013. It’s been about a year. But I feel like a liar when I say that. I don’t feel like I’m in the Navy. Sure, I put on my uniform every morning and pass through a security point to get on a military base every day and salute everyone I see on my way. But then I go to class like any other medical student. I sit in the library for hours at a time like any other medical student. I take exams and stress about the future and residency and where I will be in three years…just like every other medial student. I don’t feel like a military officer. I feel like a medical student.
But I guess I’m different from other med students in that I think about my friends dying in a war as a very real possibility. I think about being a doctor in a tent on a battle field in addition to a comfy office. I think about leaving my family behind while I go take care of others’ family members, as I become a part of their family too.
They don’t call them brothers and sisters in arms for nothing. Last night I made sure my brothers and sisters got home safely. Today I helped my brothers and sisters move their stuff for eight hours. And I feel really good about it all. I’m so happy they’re a part of my life.