Pre-Med Year 1: Done

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Well, it’s official: I have finished year 1 of my pre-med courses. It’s surreal. Two years ago, I was a laid-off textbook editor barely contemplating the road to medical school. One year ago, I was gearing up to work in a research lab and start classes in the fall, not having “done” any science since my sophomore year of college (back in 2000). And now I have a 4.0 for 29 credit hours of straight science courses. Things are looking good.

More importantly, I am loving this journey. Courses I knew I would enjoy (such as biology) have delivered. Classes I thought I would have to fight my way through (namely, physics) have piqued my interest in some way. Subjects I didn’t even know would capture my attention (I’m referring to research here) have lured me in.

I have learned so much, but everything I have learned has only made me want to learn more. Case in point: I practically drooled when I looked at the list of upper-level science classes I was eligible to register for next year; the hardest part was that I obviously have limited time and can’t take everything. With most of my requirements out of the way (physics, gen bio, and gen chem), all I have to take, in terms of pre-reqs, is organic chemistry. But since I’ll be in school, I get to take so much more: anatomy, a cadaver dissection lab, genetics, and biochemistry. I absolutely can’t wait to take what I have learned this year and add to and expand upon it. I feel like this year, I got a general outline of so many things; in the future I will be filling in a lot of the details of that outline. Being a former journalist (and still very much a writer), I understand the importance of an outline, but I also understand that the meat of a “story” lies in the details. And I am hungry for those details.

I look at some of my classmates who are so impatient to “get there” – to medical school, I guess. But I have a feeling that once they get to medical school, they will just want to, again, “get there” – to residency. And then to a fellowship, etc. If you are always focusing on the future, you miss what is in front of you. And that is the most beautiful, amazing part of life. Sure, I’m excited to go to medical school. But I am enjoying each day as I go. Because if I don’t, this journey is empty. And I won’t have absorbed all the lessons and knowledge I can gain along the way. And in many ways, that would make not only this journey empty, but my life empty as well. And in emptiness, I would certainly not be fulfilling my dream.