What do we do?

I feel like I ruminate on death more than the people in my life want to, but I have to express this somewhere. Today, I heard the news that someone who graduated alongside me this May passed away suddenly. The details are unknown yet, but it’s unsettling to me that I have the option to just go on with my life while this person is simply gone forever, and their family and close friends are going through hell somewhere out there. No one has acknowledged anything on social media yet, and every time I think about her being gone, it doesn’t seem real. I hope that as the news spreads, our school community can do something special to remember her.

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believing

My stomach feels like there’s a storm brewing inside it. What is up with my weird intestinal problems as of late?? Please stop.

Anyway, I received an amazing piece of news yesterday evening! Checked my email after moping around between secondaries and pretty much screamed. I got my first interview invite at U Chicago Pritzker! To be honest, this is a HUGE confidence booster and obviously an incredible opportunity. I might have mentioned this before, but I sometimes go through periods of feeling less prepared for the intense med school admissions process than my peers. But receiving this invitation is a reminder that there are people out there who believe in me…not just friends and family who will support me no matter what, though I’m ever grateful for them, but admissions committees that meet with exceptional candidates for a living. While writing my secondaries, I’ve had time to reflect on my strengths and unique skills, and really learn not to treat this process as a competition. Funny, because it’s one of the most competitive processes out there, but I’m not doing myself any favors by comparing my life experiences to others’, especially since what we actually gained from those experiences matters so much. I just have to show that I’m capable, informed, and committed, even more so now that my grades and scores don’t give me an edge anymore. It’s up to me to prove to schools that I’m just as awesome in person as I am on paper.

Trip to the ER

This past week has been unpredictable! Last Sunday, I woke up with my stomach feeling kind of funny, but thought nothing of it and went about my day with the goal of finishing up 3 secondaries for submission. My body decided, nope, plan derailed. By 3pm, I felt like I had a moderate stomach ache, and by 8pm, I was tossing and turning unable to get relief from the pain in my midsection.

My dad drove me to the ER, and I hobbled in clutching a throw pillow. They were able to room me immediately and started giving me fluids through IV. The nurse also had to draw my blood to try to find the cause of my stomach pains, but I was so dehydrated by that point that they had to poke me a few times. I don’t have a fear of needles, but I just really wanted something for the pain at that point. And the ER delivered! After a while of laying there miserable and freezing (does pain make you feel cold? I didn’t have a fever), the doctor ordered some medication for the pain and I felt so. much. better. It was like breathing a sigh of relief, and I could even take a short nap. Speaking of the doctor, he was so kind! I always think of EM doctors as intense people rushing around, but this doctor was great at listening to my concerns, speaking to us patiently, and even returned with warm blankets when I said I was cold.

I was eventually wheeled over to radiology for a CT scan to rule out appendicitis, but plot twist, my appendix was apparently not visible in the image. At that point, they couldn’t do much else so they discharged me around midnight and advised us to return in 8 hours if my pain got worse. Morning came around, and my pain was still pretty bad, but not worse than the last night, so I just stayed in bed. It was strange knowing almost exactly when my pain meds wore off, because I started waking up around 4am and not being able to sleep well after that. Over the next two days, I stayed home from work and caught up on sleep, and by Wednesday morning, the pain had totally subsided.

Unfortunately, during my little episode I received 9 secondaries. 9 secondaries with a 3 day delay due to illness! I’m now playing extreme catch up with these essays and spent the last two evenings feverishly writing and editing and throwing money at these schools. My sad, sad wallet.

So that’s been my past week. Being sick and feeling like my insides were going to cave in makes me appreciate feeling well and unencumbered by any health problems. Remember to take care of yourselves everybody! There is nothing more important than our health.

Here come the secondaries

At noon, I checked my email, and boom, secondaries! I thought med school primary applications were going out to schools on July 2, but today works too. I got SUNY Downstate’s secondary and Mayo’s fee request, since they don’t have any essays. Who else wishes more med schools would screen their applicants before sending out secondaries? I know those essays give people a chance to show admissions committees what they’re all about besides scores, but it feels like such a drain of effort and money to prepare essays for schools that might disqualify an applicant based on their primary application alone. Oh well, I’d like to think that I would receive those secondaries, screen or no screen!

I’m actually pretty excited this is happening because the last few days have turned into me saying screw pre-writing! and watching the pilots of How I Met Your Mother and Friends to get away. On a more productive note, I finished Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, which I want to talk about in a separate post. Now that secondaries are coming in, I feel like my work is the real deal, even though pre-writing is “real work” too. Wish me luck!

earth vs. water

Preface: This is a reminder to myself that this blog is for me to write about what I’ve been doing and feeling, even if my writing style isn’t the best. I think one of the barriers that keeps me from posting here is feeling like I’m not expressing myself the right way, or that people coming across this blog will find it boring. But, hey, not writing anything is worse than putting out “rough drafts,” so just do it! Not everyone is a naturally great story-teller; some people need practice more than others. You should hear me try to retell a joke or a funny story to my friends…

Now that that’s out of the way, I can finish writing about my Yosemite trip! In a previous post, I wrote that I tend to jump in water when the chance presents itself, which is true, but another true thing about me is that I’m sometimes afraid of water. I remember snorkeling in Hawaii on a family vacation at age 13, only to freak out and run/swim back to shore when the water got deeper than 5 feet and I started seeing these giant rocks everywhere. My greatest fear is basically being stranded in the ocean with all that depth and darkness below me.

In Yosemite, this little phobia kicked in when my boyfriend and I were attempting to float down the Merced river in inflatable rafts. We lasted for about a quarter of a mile. Number one: I could not steer for the life of me and ended up tying my raft to his. Number two: it was too shallow (the recommended raft launch point was a more downstream) so our butts kept scraping against the riverbed rocks. Also, there were logs in the water that I would’ve had trouble dodging if we had actually gone far enough to be able to hit them. After getting stuck on a rock for the 3rd or 4th time, we got out and walked to shore, dragging our rafts along. Unfortunately, all we brought were flip flops, so we hobbled barefoot across the uneven, rocky riverbed nearly twisting our ankles with every step. When we got to land, I wanted to kiss the ground and vow never to leave again – but instead, we fought our way through some trees and scurried through someone’s campsite to get back to the main road.

I didn’t feel much like going back in the river after that. I’m sure I’ll try rafting again in a future visit, but I was perfectly content to keep my feet planted on the ground for the rest of the day.

Doesn't the Merced River look beautiful and totally not scary? Apparently not to me when I'm in it!
Doesn’t the Merced River look beautiful and totally not scary? Apparently not to me when I’m in it!

Half Dome story to come!

#splitsontrees

Good news – after failing to get permits for Wednesday (today), we reapplied and got them for tomorrow!! Club goin’ UP…p.s. get that song out of my head please.

Yesterday my boyfriend, his dad, and I hiked up this “secret” trail to Sierra Point, a spot where you can see Vernal, Nevada, Illilouette, and Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. It was amazing! The trail was short and steep, with about 1000 ft of elevation gain over 0.7 mi. We got lost because the trail was really not obvious in some parts. Ok off to the showers!

Chillage in the village

Hello from Yosemite! I’m at Curry Village on the wifi because the boyfriend’s family is watching the Blackhawks game. Typing from my phone is laborious, but I want to make a blog post because there will be too much to write about at the end of the week!

Yesterday, we stopped at Glacier Point and it was gorgeous! Last time we came here in March it was snowy, so it was closed. Seeing Half Dome from that angle was awesome.

Sadly, pictures are taking forever to upload so I’ll save them for later after the trip.

At night we made smores and turned in pretty early. This morning, we biked around the valley and stopped at Yosemite Falls. One thing about me is that I HAVE to jump in water if the chance comes up, so of course we climbed to the pool at the base of the falls after finding our way over a bunch of rocks and submerged ourselves in that icy icy water! I didn’t plan the correct attire for it and ended up with sopping wet denim shorts for the next hour. Womp womp. It was so worth it though and it’s really hot this week anyway.

We applied for Half Dome permits for Wednesday and find out tonight, so fingers crossed! Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow but every day spent in this park is bound to be amazing.