It takes a Village

looking back …

As I start my 4th and final year in the ND program with some trepidation, I can not help but look back on all the ups and downs along the way.  I have given up all sorts of things (weddings, baby & bridal showers, birthdays, funerals, births, my sanity …) for this and to put it mildly:  becoming an ND means a lot to me.

As difficult as it has been at times, I would not change a thing about my time out here, my experiences and my challenges.  For every time that I have fallen, I have gotten back up.   Here are some things I’ve learned on the road to becoming a doctor – 4/4 – still standing!  This one’s for the incoming ND class 🙂 may we all shower you with love and support throughout your time at Bastyr.

1) It takes a village. Through good, bad, unconditional love, and conditional love, thank you all for teaching me, challenging me, holding my hand, giving me second chances, looking the other way when I screw up, and letting me laugh at myself.  To those folks who challenge me, thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow outside of my comfort zone.

2) Negativity is a choice.  Obviously there are some things in life that are impossible to put a positive spin on, be there for people in those instances, but try to turn around those other things which you can.

3) People are going to make assumptions.  Let them.  It has nothing to do with you.  I sometimes think assume is just another way to spell project.

4) Support your peers.  It will make everything that much easier.  It won’t always be reciprocated, and those who feel threatened by you are naturally going to get catty.  We all have our moments, but sooner or later realize that it’s not benefiting anyone to act that way.  As much as becoming a doctor is an individual sport – it requires a hell of a lot of team work.  (See #1.)  Support the people in your med school life, challenge them, push them, and most of all … dont’ be a hater.

5) Learn what is important to you and go with it.  Don’t problematize things that aren’t significant to you.  Only give things as much energy as they require.

don’t sweat the small stuff (a photo I took of the sign at a cafe near one of my favorite beaches on St Barth’s), the name says it all.

6) Forgiveness is everything.  Thank you to everyone who has forgiven me for my many human mistakes and for giving me second chances.  May I pay that forward.

7) If you choose med school in Seattle, or someplace else that is often grey and rainy – learn to work the rain.  Don’t let it interfere with your plans.  Especially getting outside to exercise*.  Or wearing heels.  Wear the heels.  In the rain.  And learn to love running in the rain.  Or don’t come to school in Seattle.

* I bought some bright mango running sneakers and that helped too.  #obsessed

learning to work the grey skies

8) Appreciate the professors who you see eye to eye with.  And don’t worry so much about the others – that’s just a waste of energy.  Learn as much as you possibly can from your mentors.  Ask questions, soak them up, their wisdom is gold.

9) Stay active.  It makes everything easier.  Even if you don’t have time, at least wear sneakers or make it a point to dress comfortably – you will be more likely to stay active even if it just means taking the stairs.  Med school is exhausting, staying on top of your own health is key.

10) Make friends with people who have the same goals as you.  Whether it’s giving up coffee or alcohol, training for a road race, or staying on the 4 year track, it’s important to keep company with those who will support and encourage you to keep you on track.  Birds of a feather ….

What helped you get through med school, graduate school or some other major life challenge?

4/4 – still standing!  (night out with friends:  Carrot Ginger golden orange sorbet @ Molly Moons in Capitol Hill)