August 9, 2010

I feel like a freshman, a little

It feels like gen chem.

We are two hundred and four strong, seated in a tiered, stadium seating-style lecture hall, and the chalkboards look menacingly small from where I sit.

It's different, though.  The round of introductions and welcoming remarks all begin with the same phrase: "Welcome to medical school!  Congratulations!"  Gradually, I feel a smile take over--I can't help it.  It is great to feel like yes! I have arrived here, at my destination.

Someone named Luke (Luc? who knows) doesn't pick up his name tag.  Everyone nervously looks at one another (where is he? doesn't the poor guy have a roommate, someone to call him if he overslept?  he'll lose his spot, won't he?  or does he just pay the $100 late registration fee?) but gradually, as he fails to appear, he becomes a running joke, a point for the speakers to refer to and something that already ties us together.

Introductions aside, the day slides sideways into boredom via reality-driven sessions on financial aid, government loans, repayment plans, and computer systems.  Public safety talks to us about security and using our key cards. A terrible presenter stalls through a presentation that is supposed to give us study tips and strategies for this new, challenging volume of coursework that we will be doing.

After the day's assigned activities, the Dean holds a reception in a large room.  For some reason, the walls are lined with chairs, Regency ballroom-style, and the first few students in the door quickly fill up the seats.  The rest of us look around, unsure if we need to find a partner for the waltz or if we should just congregate awkwardly while clutching our free shoulder bags and plates full of cheese cubes and raw vegetables.  My roommate and I take refuge with a few others in the balcony of the room and watch the rest of our class mill around.

On the upside, meeting new people was not as scary as it felt it would be yesterday.  My class is 54% men.  And best of all, I ran into most of the people that I already know here: a girl I knew in Nice, the people from undergrad, and even better a few people from my interview day that live right down the street.

Who knew doing nothing could be so exhausting?

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