Saturday, June 24, 2006


I'm in Santa Barbara, at my parents' house, where I grew up. I just got back from a two-day house-hunting adventure in Los Angeles. My dad grew up in LA, so he was a great tour guide. Two close family friends came along too, so I had an entourage at each open house I attended. I had to explain that it was only me who was going to be living in these places, not all five of us.

Being in LA really made me less freaked out about medical school. After quite a bit of searching, my mom and I found the David Geffen School of Medicine, which is sort of hidden inside the UCLA Medical Center. It was good to see it; it made it less mythical. I bought a t-shirt at the bookstore, like a big dork.

Something really important to me about moving is finding places that fit me, like bookstores and yoga studios and coffee houses. I found a great cafe called Literati that serves delicious organic food and coffee. My black bean soup and organic greens made me just a little more relaxed about the Big Move.

To sum up: I'm sunburned, have heard too many bad jokes (thanks Dad), and I just might survive this whole medical school thing.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cold feet in the summertime

So it's been a month since I was accepted to Drew/UCLA. About 40K people apply to medical school each year. 16K are accepted. I was one of them. So why am I so anxious and miserable? I'm having nightmares about bloodied bodies being opened up in the OR, waiting for me to come fix them. I've chewed my fingernails to the point that I'll need reconstructive surgery on both my teeth and my hands. When co-workers say, "you must be so excited," I smile a huge smile and then run away.

I'm not up to this.

I'm scared. I'm scared of sitting through my first biochemistry lecture and being in way over my head. I'm scared of holding a scalpel that first day to my embalmed cadaver. I'm scared of the quiet hum of the freeway when everyone leaves me alone for the first time in my stucco apartment in Los Angeles. I'm scared of searching for a coffee shop to study in. I'm scared to look for a bar that's not a meat market. I'm scared of standing in Trader Joe's with a cart full of frozen dinners realizing that I'm totally on my own.

This is where faith would come in handy. I'm reading a book by an Episcopal theologian, John Shelby Spong, called The Sins of Scripture. It talks about some of the more oppressive texts of the Bible and how they can be interpreted in historical context to not be so destructive. It's refreshing to read about a faith that I'd almost given up on, and see my own beliefs reflected. I think I'll be checking out a church in Pasedena, St. Edmunds, where my good friend is a priest.

And yoga will also help. Sigh. I have not been in so long. I need to find a yoga studio down there that meets my needs, both spiritually and physically.

I'm starting to read the I Ching: The Book of Change:
"Instead of emphasizing the eternal, the unchanging, the immutable ...the I CHING is the only book of ancient wisdom that makes change itself the center of observation and recognizes time as an essential factor in the world and in the development of the individual."

Knowledge is the best defense against fear. I am also reading First Cut: A Season in the Human Anatomy Lab: an excellent bookk about the anatomy lab, and about our relationship with our body and with our inevitable death.

Okay. Another day? Let's do it.