Preparing for what’s next

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Being unprepared is one of my worst nightmares. Literally.

The dream takes different forms. Usually, I’m at school. I discover there’s a huge test I didn’t know about (and so didn’t study for). Or there’s a big assignment due, and I completely forgot about it.

I wake up from these dreams unsettled, because in real life, I make a point of being prepared. I know that in general, there are all kinds of things that I can’t control. So the things that are within my power, I try to manage as best as I can.

Nowhere is that more true than with my upcoming clerkships. So much in that realm is out of my hands. I recognize that. But certain aspects, I can prepare for. Like having everything I need in advance.

Living in New York City without a car, shopping can be a challenge. So I’ve tried to get some of that done more conveniently (and more cheaply) while here in Chicago visiting my family.

Jeans aren’t exactly appropriate for the hospital, so I needed more professional attire. And to take a patient’s heart and respiration rates, I needed a wrist watch. Thankfully, I think I’ve gotten everything I needed. Christmas sales made it all relatively affordable — certainly more so than in New York.

I did roll my eyes when my mom explained our shopping trip to a sales clerk at the local mall:

“My daughter came all the way from New York City to go shopping here in Chicago!”

But really, she was right.

I came here to see my family, of course. That’s my main priority. But I also came here to get ready for what’s next. To get in the right mindset for studying for Step 1, and to get what I need for clerkships.

At this point, I’m prepared for what I can prepare for. And the rest? I’ll handle that as it comes.