On quiet endings (or First Year: a post-mortem)

I’m quite spent.

I have been procrastinating my studies with reading, both books and graphic novels. It feels so good to read, to smash through a book that engrosses you because it feels like the author in your brain, knowing what turn it needs to take next. Re-reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

It’s so good: my partner read it for the first time during finals week, I’m about halfway through my nth reading of it, and a friend up in NH told me she just bought herself a copy for a good kick in the butt. In this book, Pressfield lays out a struggle as a Professional (note the capitalization) against Resistance. Resistance is tricky. It is the force animating procrastination. If procrastination and ignoring your true pursuits are branches of a devilish tree, then Resistance is the trunk.

I wasn’t quite sure, to be honest, if Resistance was causing me to slowly trudge through my review of the material while chomping up my leisure books. The final final, a hundred questions spanning all of the material covered in the first year of medical school, is the only thing separating me from the road and its glorious freedom.

The cumulative final for the first year of medical school is Z-scored, meaning that a statistical approach to grading is employed so that failure is a dynamic process if the herd moves slowly, then you can move slowly. If the herd is quick, then you may get eaten for moving slow. The cost of getting eaten by the Y1CE (official title) is remediation of some sort over the summer.

I’ve been contemplating remediation a lot the past few weeks. I skirted over the Course Four fail pit by a few slices of a percentage point, but that’s still a pass. This final final is the last hurdle, the last razor wire to clamber over.

And this cumulative exam plays to my strengths as a test-taker, rather than information consumer quick rational readings of the question stem and answer choices can slice down any choice to two or one. This style of exam is contrasted with the Course Block question style: a very specific knowledge and recall of the information presented.

Long-winded way of saying: I think I am running at a decent clip, not in too much danger of turning into a Y1CE snack. Additionally, I think most of my classmates are in my motivational boat sinking slowly, barely doggy-paddling as we wash up on shore, but still trying to stay afloat. This means that the herd isn’t moving terribly fast.

Editorial note: all of the above was written on Thursday, after Y1CE but before results were posted. The remainder was written over the weekend, after Y1CE grades were posted on Friday.

Began the road trip to CA yesterday. My partner and I are taking a long and lazy approach to a music festival that kicks off on my birthday, in about ten days. We’ll head up to Jacksonville to spend a day or two with my parents– my dad will replace the muffler on my car and give it the final mechanical blessings before we start on the road for real. Right now, I’m editing this post in my parent’s home, and it has a distinct Prancing Pony (LINK) vibe: the journey has started but isn’t truly underway.

May stay in a jimjilbang, or korean spa after leaving Florida for a welcome into Georgia. It’s a good soft landing and roll into travel mode it’s relaxing, foreign, and there’s not a lot to do so you can start the practice of entertaining yourself with books, writing, or whatever strikes your fancy. Plus, it’s nice to have a good clean scrub before hitting the road.

Not sure what route we’ll take after Atlanta. Maybe follow some sights via this route derived from a scientist. Also want to visit potable wild springs and taste their delicious waters. Explore new parts of the country, both the human bits and otherwise. Don’t have a plan, other than to be in Cali by May 25th this will be liberating and exhilarating, especially since I get to share the experience with my partner.

I’ve got a strong nomad streak. It began when I backpacked through and around Egypt during a leave of absence from undergrad. Now, I love throwing together a bundle of my things and traveling with it. I love trains. I’ve never really liked long-distance driving because I find it exhausting I think having a partner to trade the load and lessen the focus burden will allow me to enjoy the asphalt as much as the railroad.

I will be writing a lot over the next few weeks. It’ll feel great to break in my new keyboard, and I’ll have a lot of time to ponder and to write. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to write some fiction: I’m sure you can see it bleeding through the edges and in between the lines of this post. Perhaps I’ll pause the reflections and write only fiction over the summer. Maybe not. Why not both?

I found out a few days ago that I have passed Y1CE, that I avoided the maw of the monster. Others didn’t make it through so cleanly, and to you I give my condolences. Whatever your summer plans were, I’m sure you’ll find joy and rejuvenation somehow, even if it is while tethered to Tampa.

My first year of medical school has ended without fireworks or neon signs, without parades or shouting. I feel incredibly thankful to my family for the endless support, to my friends for being my mirror and my tribe, and to everything above and below for creating this weird world.

Now, to explore and revel.


Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

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