What a year it has been! It was full of ups and downs. Here's a look back at my first year in school.
My school year began with the completion of one of my proudest accomplishment at that time, climbing higher than 14,000 feet. I still can't believe I made it, and thanks to Jake's kind words of encouragement, "Al, med school will be harder than this," I kept climbing. Check out more of this climb here.
During orientation week we were informed on how to manage stress and the workload to come.
The first few weeks of school I was more nervous and anxious than I had ever felt in my entire life. I mean, my family and friends assured me I'd be fine, but that's hard to believe when none of us knew what it would be like. I was so excited on the first day of school.
It wasn't long before that ^ turned into this.
My snapchat friends, husband, and classmates (unfortunately) definitely saw me looking my roughest this year...and those greasy, messy moments were not captured.
It also wasn't long before my spotless and organized office ( seen here and here ) turned into this:
That ^^ horrifies me, but you have to do what you have to do.
(Clean up days were Saturdays after exams)
Time flew when it was spent studying.
Below is a lecture where we learned to draw the locations of heart landmarks on our anatomy partners.
Yes, we were required to undress, do this for the exams on our partners, and in only 60 seconds.
Yes, I practiced timed drawings of anatomical landmarks on Jake.
Another class had us tested by using patients they hired in a simulated clinic room with cameras and microphones. Jake had CPA exams to study for, but he let me practice when he could.
And when no people were there to practice on...
And then came exam days, which were some of my favorite days because that meant I would have an entire afternoon off, and usually the day after the exam I only had a few things to do! In the fall Jake was even home to make me a good breakfast before I left.
And in the fall when he was home, we always celebrated after exams!
Then winter came, and I was alone every week except a couple. Luckily Jake came home from traveling on the weekends, and so I tried to get most of my work done working longer hours during the weekdays to have more time "off" when he was home. I won't lie, adjusting to being alone day and night each week was very hard, and studying wasn't much fun anymore.
Part of the loneliness was my fault, I studied in my office and watched almost all lectures online. I did attend campus a few times a week for required activities, but I saved so much time (a couple hours a day since I also had a longer commute) watching the lectures online and speeding up the lecturer's voice. So, I just couldn't justify attending class each day.
When he did come back, we made a new weekly tradition trying out restaurants.
To keep sane, I worked out regularly, went on walks when it was nice, did some light reading, started watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and Friends, indulged on fast food, and enjoyed meeting up with friends.
School required a lot of sacrifices that weren't clear right away. The dishes and laundry had to wait, my workouts were shortened, and most heartbreaking, time with my family and friends was dramatically cut down. There would be times where months would pass by until I even make a phone call or scheduled a coffee date with a friend. On multiple occasions I had to tell my family they couldn't stay with me on the weekend while I was studying for an exam, or that I just couldn't come home. Everyone understood, it was worse on me because I felt like I was missing out on the fun they were having. I am so grateful for the times I did have with family and friends this year, I certainly took as many breaks as I could to see the people I love.
My family was wonderful for support and encouragement when I needed it this year, but this guy was there whenever I needed him no matter what else he was doing. In the fall he was up late quizzing me, and in the winter and spring he would stay up late to talk to me on the phone. At one point I was having a complete breakdown, and although he was hundreds of miles away, he left dinner to call me and made sure that I could pull it together and study a few more hours for the exam I was worried about. I know he'll be there for what's to come, I'm so thankful for him.
Other support came in the form of beautiful flowers to brighten my study space:
We ended the year with Med Prom.
Overall I loved this first year of school. I never knew that I was capable of learning this much information in such a short time, and I've met so many great people. I'm so happy with what I'm working for, and I know it's all worth it to be able to help my patients in the future.
This summer I am working on a small research project, volunteering, relaxing, going on a vacation, a little reviewing, and I'll be in Fairbury at the clinic learning from the physicians there during what UNMC calls our Rural Care Block. I'm so excited to be back home for a few weeks, and learn from the people who first exposed me to this career.
To those interested in staying in touch from Jake's perspective, lately he's been pretty good at putting together weekend MyStorys on SnapChat. Add bakejell33 if you'd like to check those out.
If you haven't already, subscribe by e-mail on the right column of this screen to keep up with summer activities. If you are on a mobile device you'll have to click "view web version" and then find it. Otherwise, explore the links at the top to see if there's any posts you've missed - I've updated them.