I came back home Friday all tan and itchy and peeling then ran a half marathon Saturday with my number one running buddy and ate all the french fries and chicken wings after. Yesterday we initiated unofficial "senior" week with a pizza picnic on the canal and lots of peanut M&Ms. It feels undeniably stress free, a mix of relief that school is over and excitement that big moves and celebrations are well on their way.
It should come to no one's surprise that I am undeniably reflective and sappy this time of the year. And it's hard to write about, because it's not like life can easily be summed up in a few paragraphs - it's so much more complicated than that. But if I had to choose a few words for my future self to remember, it would be this: within each chapter, you've discovered different pieces of who you are. In high school, I became a determined and hard working student. I learned how to love my friends, thanks to countless hours of show choir competitions and late night Friday hang outs. In college, I found out how to form opinions, how to hold intelligent conversations and become aware of the world I live in. It helps when you befriend incredible, talented women in your life. I also had my first boyfriend in college - I learned how to be in love, and, after it didn't work out, how to be single and okay with it.
What did I learn in med school? Lots of medicine (shocking). But more importantly, I discovered that I grossly underestimate myself. I doubted myself a lot, relied heavily on the opinions of others, seeking approval. It was miserable and I would cry year's worth of tears and then some in just a span of a week. More times than one. Somewhere this year, that stopped. A lot of it probably because of countless conversations with Andrew, who continually tells me that I am a beautiful person. He would get so frustrated at me during these tearful moments, because he could see my abilities when I couldn't. After hearing it over and over again (and having that light-bulb moment that I needed to change something to get out of this exhaustive cycle), it eventually started to stick in my own head. Yes, I am a beautiful person, I work hard and I care. I'm proud of myself. And that's what is important.
It sounds so vain and silly, writing that here. But I think it's an important thing to remember about yourself, especially if you're a med student reading this in the throes of second or third year, when approval from your peers and upper levels seem like everything. Spoiler alert: it's not. Yes, it's important to be socially aware in our profession, to be able to impress at times. But if you only rely on the approval of others, the happiness is short-lived, and you become hungry, more and more desperate for compliments and encouragement, until that is the only way you know how to be happy. And that's not happiness.
The foundation of your joy has to come from your inner self. Be proud of your accomplishments, but not boastful. Be satisfied with your achievements, and not jealous of your peers' triumphs. Teddy Roosevelt said comparison is the thief of joy - I really believe that truer words have never been spoken.
So please, remind yourself each day that you CAN do it. You've BEEN doing it! And a DAMN GOOD job of it, too.
These are the last batch of photos from Gulf Shores! They're from our most perfect day on the beach, cloudless and sunny. I love these photos the most because you can feel the joy off of our faces - the relaxed eyes underneath those sunglasses and wide smiles. At least I can. And I'll say it again and again, I love these people so much.
P.S. Aida is not pregnant, she is imitating Beyonce.
P.P.S. My swimsuit is from Target (online), if you need a suit this upcoming season! Hooray for summer!