Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Class of 2019
The other day I had my groceries delivered to my house for the first time. I share a townhouse with three other female med students, two M2s and one M1. One of my absolutely amazing and super put-together roommates signed our whole house up for Peapod delivery grocery service. I sat at my laptop with the plethora of food options before me. I was overwhelmed in the most wonderful way.
Normally, my shopping goes like this: I walk around the edge of the overly-priced Center City grocery store until I start to struggle under the weight of the packed basket. I never buy liquids, I never buy bulky items, and I never buy pickles. Something that most of my med school friends don’t know about me is that I love pickles. LOVE them! I can eat a whole jar in one sitting. I firmly believe that pickles have the highest ratio of tastiness to calories of any food in existence, and I even own a happy cartoon pickle eraser. But I never buy them, because they come with all their vinegar-tasty goodness in a glass jar. It’s just too heavy when you add in all my normal stackums and various ingredients I need for my boyfriend to make me dinner. My trapezius muscles could not handle my groceries plus a full glass jar of pickles. I know this because even with my basic bags I end up stopping 3 or 4 times on my way home to rest while I pretend to check my cell phone.
But when I got my groceries delivered to my door for the first time, I could enjoy pickles without having to haul them 6 blocks. And they were magnificent!
I know this seems super silly, and I know there are some smarty-pants, cooking show buffs that thought “cucumber” was the obvious answer to my question, “What’s in a pickle?” But, the point of this question is that I had to give up a lot to go to med school.
“…I had to give up a lot to go to med school.”
Can we just take a mental second to recognize all the things we have had to give up to get here and stay here? I had to give up seeing my grandparent every weekend for Sunday morning coffee, I had to give up going to all my sister’s dance recitals and watching her grow up into a teenager, and I had to give up theatre and singing every day to instead focus on studying. Honestly, I really loathed the fact that I had to give up all those things. Giving up these things I love left me with little empty pieces that I filled with spunky anger and child-like bitterness.
It’s not that giving up pickles was such a sacrifice, but it’s what pickles represent. Giving up one of your favorite foods is like giving up a part of yourself. And leaving home and giving up my singing talent definitely felt like losing a part of myself.
For the first years out there, don’t get scared because making sacrifices and changing yourself sucks, but the great thing is that those parts of you never go away.
“…the great thing is that those parts of you never go away.”
I still go home and visit my family and call my mom everyday, I have started singing again in the acapella group and even in the shower, and I still love pickles. And the weird thing I learned from this whole experience is I finally know what “enjoy the little things” means. I used to HATE that phrase. I thought “enjoy the little things” meant “enjoy the ONLY things.” But the little things you enjoy, like getting a snapchat video from your Nana, singing at graduation, or having roommates who help you feed yourself aren’t little things at all. They are symbols for the people in your life and the parts of yourself that you have learned to appreciate more and more as you grow up.