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Happy Holidays!

Hi Everyone! It’s finals week for the non-medical school campus – I am currently in between my two final exams (just finished my Chinese exam) and will then be free for the holidays! I’m not going far, but I’m happy to have the chance to sleep in a bit more.

Sadly, my holidays won’t be quite as work-free as I had originally hoped (I have far too much that needs to be done on my prelims paper and for my research), but I’m looking forward to being able to work without rushing off to the next activity (and sneak in a Christmas cookie or two).

The weather lately has been quite nice – we’ve barely been below freezing since the 15-inch snowfall the week before Thanksgiving (don’t worry – Ann Arbor only got 8 inches and it soon melted). Galens Tag Days have come and gone – us med students definitely appreciated the slightly warmer temps. After all, the hand warmers stood a chance (my first year it was so cold the hand warmers wouldn’t activate)!

Most of all, the holiday season is a chance to reflect on the past year, look at how far we’ve come, and realize that, while there’s still a mountain of work yet to be done, there’s plenty of hope for a sunny future. Happy Holidays everyone!

Down the Rabbit Hole

I find myself a bit bewildered to realize that I have now been immersed in my PhD for a whole two weeks. Since Step 1 study period started, I’ve been looking forward to this period where I would have a chance to slow down and take a breath. Not that I expected my PhD work to be easy by any means, but I assumed that I would enjoy the chance to be free of imminent deadlines and the constant pressure of studying.

And so the months of March, April, May, June, and July passed, as I looked forward to the MSTP retreat and, right after that, my return to lab.

View from the MSTP Retreat (Higgins Lake, MI)

And I came and jumped back into my project and realized, with no little sadness, that while I sat at my cubicle and stared at my computer, my (former) classmates were starting a new rotation. My track mates were starting their first days of Neurology, seeing patients, while I sat in my cubicle and coded. Certainly a different kind of coding.

The first few days back were … odd. There’s really no other way to describe them. I wanted to be back with my classmates, despite the fact that I had been looking forward to this moment. I enjoyed working on my project but still felt slightly adrift. I jumped off a high-speed train into a field of grass and then didn’t quite know what to do with myself.

Except keep working. And as I did so, things started to feel more natural. Don’t get me wrong, this all still feels like a dream from which I will soon wake; but the oddness is fading. I’m falling into a new routine that I enjoy. I’ve even started a new hobby, as I learn to row on the Huron River.

My life is very different from what it was a month ago; I have the chance to re-invent myself once again. New classmates, new labmates, new experiences. It’s a bit like January 1, including the resolutions, but without the cold. Time for a New Year, a new me. And I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.