I can't believe I am actually here.
The goal of getting to this place seemed so very very far off that for a long time I hardly lifted my head to look up and see how many more stairs there were to the top. I would just focus on the two or three ones directly in my line of vision...keep my head down, and push on.
I remember very clearly talking to Vern about it one day on a walk in Revelstoke. It was the summer I first moved there and I could feel the contemplation stage of change slowly working it's way into action. I told her that at some time I'd have to give up work completely, move somewhere with a university, take 8 or so prerequisites, write the MCAT, apply to schools, then wait almost a year to find out if I was accepted or not.
She was also looking into a long application process at the same time, applying to school in Scotland to undertake her masters. We both sorta shook our heads at how daunting it all was.
Today I got to sit in a lecture room and look at my fellow classmates for the next 4 years. I've been so lucky since my arrival (save for the baggage incident) to have connected with some very amazing folks in my class. Musicians, chefs, dancers, researchers, engineers...we're all meshing into these interesting combinations. Our res unit of 4 has basically become the meeting point for our group of friends from res. We've already had late night jams, "Flight of the Conchords" showings, big group meals, and kitchen partying--and it's only been 5 days. My roommates are first years as well, and though they are a few years younger than me, it hasn't seemed weird. Just funny more than anything else...like watching my one roommate figure out how to make a sandwich after coming home from the bar.
It was a long day of orientation today, and though I had ants in my pants after sitting for so many hours (8!) I must admit I was on the edge of my seat as they talked about clinical skills, labs, textbooks, the PBL groups, and our eventual hospital rotations. Next week we will be assigned our patients from the 'early patient contact program' which involves us following a prenatal woman from now through to 3rd year as she goes through the pregnancy and eventual birth/growth and development of the child. We're also being assigned a patient with a chronic disease who we will also be paired with until 3rd year. We'll be expected to attend hospital visits/doctor appointments/home visits with these patients...and be another resource for them as they work their way through the system. I am very excited to meet these people who will be a big part of my learning for the next 2 years.
After orientation we had a quick snack and headed out to the pub for a medical society social event. This was an event for 1-3rd years which included a life sized (timed) game of 'operation' as well as the normal mini version. I was terrible at the life sized one and wouldn't have come close to the top time even if I hadn't been buzzed out after 16 seconds. Instead of claiming fame and status with a win, I ate two free hotdogs (apparently my 'mystery meat' rule doesn't apply in Ireland) and drank some Guinness. The hot dog guy said that evidently I wasn't going to be a surgeon (I told him maybe I'd just be a slow one...) Came back to our place and had another jam session with my two new music-playing pals, drank some tea, and then called it a night.
It's strange to be in place finally. In the place that has been so far off on the horizon for so long. It is also lovely to be able to embrace the now--feel that my life has truly gone to the place it was meant to go, at the time it was meant to happen, and with the people I was meant to be surrounded by.