School you guys, it was insane. Even though I occasionally complain about how busy I am, nothing prepared me for the “whoa” that was this past school year. Not only was it 194892401 times busier than any work day I’ve ever had, but it was essentially equivalent to (if not worse than) some of my craziest engineering semesters in undergrad. Columbia University…this school is no joke.
But this post isn’t to complain about my life and how I barely had time to grocery shop and shower (#truestory #everyminutecounts). I’m officially done with my postbacc premed studies as of May 12th.
As I sit here, with no more biology problem sets to complete or organic chemistry mechanisms to practice, I can’t help finally comparing my “adult student” self to who I was in college. It’s interesting to see how different my approach to school is now. I used to have an all-or-nothing mentality when it came to my schoolwork – it would come above everything else and I never really had any hobbies outside of the endless homework. In fact, it would give me such anxiety to have any sort of commitment that would require time away from doing homework, and this included working out, meeting up with friends, etc. I know right? After four years out in the real world, this pesky habit has officially (almost) kicked the dust. This time around, I refused to let my hobbies fall wayside to school. Running wasn’t going to be neglected for an extra hour or two of studying, a social life wasn’t thrown out for a tedious assignment. Balance, it’s a word that was very new to my life as a postbac student.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve matured, and I would hope so! I graduated college at 22 years old and am now 27. Four years of life experience (prior to entering school last year) changed me and I wouldn’t wish it any other way. But it wasn’t all an easy-breezy experience. Being a student again was hard. It’s more challenging than I expected it to be. I’m obviously not old but there’s no denying that I don’t have the endurance of a youthful 20-year old who can power through on 3-4 hours of sleep. I also need more breaks during marathon studying sessions, something that’s new to me, especially considering my renowned ability to study for 12+ hours straight in undergrad without issues. On the bright side, at least these new qualities are the properly refined versions I would like to carry with me to medical school and beyond. It’s healthier that way!
But I’m done now, and I already miss school. I spent five weeks studying for the MCAT and took it mid-June. Needless to say, it was brutal/painful/rough/traumatizing. But it’s done now and I am now in the process of applying to medical school. It’s a year-long process and one that I’m anxious about, but it’s an exciting time for me. I quite literally crashed after the MCAT (on my couch), flew home, and have hung out in Chicago since. Balance right?!?