Believe it or not, my last real day of medical school was Friday. I finished all of my exams for OB/GYN Boot Camp (which was the most fabulous last rotation I could have imagined), and now I just have a month of vacation before I graduate. The phrase “and then we came to the end,” which I used to title this post, is the title of a book by Joshua Ferris that I read a number of years ago, courtesy of the free book room at Borders, if I’m remembering correctly, which chronicles the end of a company as employees are laid off, and moral falls. I keep thinking of it, in relation to medical school, because a few of the characters get a little crazy with the stress of the uncertainty of their fates. I suspect it’s clear why this seems to relevant to my life right now. Despite having checked a number of things off of my list over the past few days (i.e., finish exams, give conference presentation, buy chips and salsa so that Lynn does not go into withdrawal when she comes home today), everything still feels pretty up in the air. As annoying as I find the “Keep Calm & Carry On” memes, that is, in fact, the mantra I keep repeating to myself. Here is a paragraph I posted in 2007, as I was finishing my second year of medical school:
Remember riding on the merry-go-round at the playground when you were little. And you’d hold on so tightly as your parents or friends spun it as fast as they could run, terrified that you’d lose your grip and fly off into the hard ground. Remember how you smiled as you screamed, loving every minute of the terror. And then, remember how gentle it seemed as the merry-go-round slowed to a delicate spin, how calm you felt as your heart slowed, your eyes adjusted to the gently revolving world, no longer a blur. Finally, remember how unsteady your legs felt as you climbed back onto steady ground. Now imagine that the merry-go-round spun until you felt sick – that it wouldn’t stop even when you started crying instead of laughing.
It’s amazing how little has changed, how frequently over the past eight years I’ve felt like I was hanging on for dear life, just hoping it would all slow down soon. Despite the impressively high amplitude of fluctuations between the ebbs and the flows, I’ve loved it, and will certainly be a bit nostalgic as I walk across the stage in another month. For the next few weeks, however, I’ve got a lot of things to catch up on, so, much to my chagrin, I’ll keep calm, and carry on.