Unlike any other summer, this year's summer break was ten days, and no more. Ten days of pure ignorance and stress-free laughs, ten days of doing whatever the eff we wanted and waking up late the next day. But those days are long gone, and my classmates and I were thrown into the hospitals, donned with scrubs and white coats, notepads in our hands and the look of I-have-absolutely-no-idea-where-I'm-going on our faces. Or maybe that was just me.
But one week in and it feels like I'm slowly getting my sea legs. I'm not making circles around the fourth floor, and I'm not standing around aimlessly in the operating room with my mouth open (no one can tell with the mask on heh). And with the initial overwhelming feelings of anxiety wearing off, new feelings are creeping in - good ones like excitement and enjoyment. The days are longer, time for sleep is shorter, and my back hurts after standing up all day, but overall I'm already feeling the weight of second year off my shoulders. I feel so free!
And this isn't just any year, it's such a special one. It's the year that isn't plagued by 8 am lectures and 4 hour physical diagnosis class. It's the year that the entire class of 2017 gets to be in Indianapolis - all 300+ of us. It's the year that we all get to explore, figure out what makes us happy, discover what kind of medicine clicks with us. It's a year that feels crucial in deciding what the future holds. It's a year where the "end" is starting to feel more and more tangible, something that we have all worked towards for pretty much the majority of our lives.
So if you're a fellow classmate and reading this post, I hope you feel just as excited. Sure, days will be tough and I've heard that being on call sucks, but each day is totally worth it.
Walking around on the fourth floor of the hospital has made me ridiculously hungry and I always seem to be having cake on the brain. But after last week's happy wedding celebration cake, I wanted to tone this down so that I could have a cake that wouldn't make me hyped up at night because shit I got to wake up at 5 am to get ready for the hospital, I can't be staring into the distance at night in bed contemplating life! So I made a cornmeal snack cake, studded with fresh nectarines and dried apricots, topped with almonds because I had some leftover. The result was a cake that tasted like a lighter, smoother, and sweeter version of cornbread - satisfyingly sweet enough for those who crave the sugar but also appeals to those who scrape the frosting off the grocery store cakes before eating. Perfect for snacking, breakfast, or dessert. And an appropriate cake to celebrate third year and newfound excitement.
Nectarine and apricot almond cake
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 heaping tablespoon baking powder
2 nectarines, diced
1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced
Sliced almonds, for topping
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly butter and flour a 9 inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs with sugar and oil.
Heat up the milk in the microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Add the warm milk and the cornmeal to the egg mixture.
Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture and mix well.
Add in the nectarines and apricots and fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the pan, sprinkle almonds on top, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.