The honeymoon will soon end … but that’s ok

by Lorien E. Menhennett

I am officially a pre-med student.

Correction: I have been for just over a week now. But it hasn’t really sunk in yet, because this is still the honeymoon stage. All love songs, hugs, and kisses — no slammed doors, curse words, or broken dishes (yet).

Everybody is still in friend-making mode; there are few cliques or ways to feel excluded, if you make an effort to be social. Everything comes easily at the moment: I still remember all that we have “learned” so far, even though I’ve barely touched a biology, chemisty, or physics textbook in more than a decade. Every grade is an A right now — we haven’t had any assignments, exams, or quizzes on which to lose points. The sun is shining, the future is bright, and everyone still has a chance to get in to medical school.

Soon that honeymoon will end. There will be late nights up studying before exams. And then the actual exams. Weekends lost to lab reports after hours spent in the lab during the week. The anxiety of eventually applying to medical school. The dread of not getting in.

So why do it? Is the destination worth it?

Hell no.

Don’t get me wrong — I can’t wait to be a doctor. I think I’ll be a pretty good one, and I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it. But getting there is a long road. Years, literally, of your life. Anyone who thinks they can just push through without having any appreciation for the journey there will be incredibly miserable for an incredibly long time. And, I think, become bitter and angry about it. Yeah, that bodes real well for a person’s bedside manner, doesn’t it?

I’m one of those crazy people who actually likes school. When I’m interested in something, learning about it is a pleasure (most of the time — ask me at 3 a.m. and I might tell you a different story). I’m excited about where I’m going, but I’m also excited about what I’ll be doing along the way. And to do this, you have to be.

That’s why it’s OK that the honeymoon will soon end. Because when it does, that signals the beginning of a deeper, richer relationship with the subject matter. (For this school year: biology, chemistry, and physics.)  Sure, it will be harder. And sure, I may complain about that sometimes. I may struggle. I may even use four-letter words (*gasp*). But I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

Stay tuned.