I have plenty to learn about life still, and each day that passes reaffirms that a little more. All I know is the little things that make life worth living, that make me the happiest, have been there all along.

100 Days

Today is a milestone.

100 Days ago I started PA school and today I finished my first PA school class! That’s right, I survived the first 100 days AND made it through my first semester of Pharmacology already!

While October was a really hard month, November has flown by. I absolutely can’t wrap my mind around the fact that tomorrow is December already. The days still seem long, but the weeks are flying by. We have 7 more exams in the next 2 weeks and then we’re home free for exactly a month, how crazy is that?

And now that I am all settled into my routine here, I actually kind of love school and my life here. Exams don’t scare me anymore, the massive amount of information thrown at me daily is easier to absorb, and I use my extra time much more efficiently. Going to bed at 11p every night now has made me such a happier person, and surprisingly, I’m still getting everything done that I need to, and sometimes more. It took me 100 days to learn how to completely revamp my studying style and realize quality is more than quantity. I KNOW (thanks to experience) that I CAN cram a weeks worth of exam material into my head in 24 hours. Yes, my brain synapses form faster than ever now, and sometimes I swear I can feel them forming. I have free time now, I’ve figured out how to get myself around Indy, I’ve had dinner and coffee with good friends and don’t feel anxious that I should be studying. I’ve let go of absolutely HAVING to get an A on every exam, and that is the biggest weight off my shoulders yet! I still have my moments where I get overwhelmed by the amount of work or the stress of the process, but those moments are less and less.

I know it sounds crazy, but I think I may be happier than I have ever been. Earlier this year, I really struggled with the whole “grass is greener on the other side” version of I wish I was in the real world with a real job and a fiance like so many of my friends and not wasting my life in school. And while a part of me will always wish that until it happens, I find myself extremely content where I am right here, right now. I now fully trust that THIS is where God wants me and that makes me so much more happy.

I love Butler. I love Indy. I love what I am learning. Tuesday night we walked to a Butler basketball game, got in free with our student IDs, and sat 3 rows off the court. Thursday, I figured out how to get myself to my dermatologist on the north side, how to get to a hospital to have my blood drawn (a gorgeous hospital that I would love to work at too, I might add), and how to get home without using the congested interstate. THESE are the moments that help me realize I’m growing so much by myself here! I’m braver than I have ever been, and more willing to try new things and break my routine and that makes me realize that this phase of my life is right on time. I have the rest of my life to be settled down with a husband and kids working the same job every day of my life (and no matter how bad I want that right now, I’m thankful for this time period to learn to be ME before I get there).

In some ways I feel years older than I did in August when this whole adventure began. I know so many of my relationships have been strengthened, I’ve grown so much, and many of my priorities are much different now (I now look forward to Fridays because it means I get to go to bed early—-who would have thought)! I miss Purdue and Monticello less and less each day, but lean on my friends from both of those places more and more. If you would have told me that I would feel this way after just 100 days, I wouldn’t have believed you. I guess that’s just how life works!

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Fair warning, this isn’t going to be a rainbows and butterflies kind of post. But what I am experiencing right now, is real life, and I want to remember these moments just as much as I want to remember the victories and big exciting things.

I am exhausted. There is no other way to put it. School is hard, yes. I am being challenged more than I ever have and I don’t necessarily like it. Friday, I reached my full limit of stretching myself as thin as possible and have overlooked my body’s natural signals that say I’m handling too much. It turns out there really is a point where you just can’t keep going…and I’ve hit it. 62 days of PA school and I’ve reached my limit. You know how I know that? Because those 2 months and 2 days have felt. like. an. eternity.

Now, I don’t ever want to sound ungrateful or rude because I really am in a wonderful program which will make me the best PA possible and I am so thankful I am able to be here. But this is how PA school feels every single day:

1. I’m that guy in a fight scene of a movie…right after the whole mob has circled around him and beat him to a pulp and he’s lying bloody on the ground, gasping for breath and thinking “yes, I’m still alive, I made it and its over and I can finally get up” BUT THEN someone comes and kicks him in the jaw and knocks him out cold.

  • Yes, every week is like that. One round of exams end just in time for a new round…and the new material NEVER EVER STOPS. It’s not that the material itself is hard, some is some isnt, but IT JUST NEVER ENDS.

2. Hell may actually be less painful than this day. This month. Next month.

3. I swear I am studying abroad in some foreign country that only speaks a strange language of medicine.

  • I should really be paying Wikipedia and iAnnotate for my medical education because every single lecture I have to look up half of the words on the slides. Still. (but it is getting better and I do get excited when I recognize more and more words.)

4. Why did I get out of bed today?

  • mainly, I’m just exhausted
  • but also, all we are learning right now in all our classes is how people get cancer, how people look and act and feel when they have cancer, how people die from cancer, how much we don’t actually know about cancer…and I just want to scream “been there, done that, I GET IT OK?”

5. Is it Thanksgiving yet?

  • In the land of PA school, Thanksgiving break marks the glorious point of “you have almost survived” and we are rewarded with a week of break and then A WHOLE WEEK WITHOUT EXAMS when we return! (followed by a week of 3 and then a week of finals, but who really cares at that point?).

I am so jealous of my friends with real jobs and real lives and free nights and weekends and weddings to plan and houses to decorate and just life to live in general. My life feels like it is on pause for the next year and a half, and right now it’s hard to sit on the sidelines waking up and doing the same thing every day utterly exhausted while it looks like they are having so much fun.

Seeing as how my daily thoughts are a bit depressing and possibly quite dramatic, I’ve decided it is time to make some changes. I don’t quite know what they are going to be, but killing myself to get the grades I used to just isn’t worth it anymore. Making medicine my entire life just isn’t going to happen either.

I do know that going out last weekend, going to bed before midnight the last two nights, meeting Taylor downtown for dinner (driving myself there and back without my TomTom and not getting lost!), and getting a massage today were four really great choices I have made in an effort to feel like a normal person again. And I really can’t wait to feel like a normal person again and not a slave to school. I really really really want to believe it is possible to learn medicine AND keep a semi-normal version of my life.

What A Week.

I learned so much this week.

About immunology and drugs to treat HIV/Malaria/Cancer and adolescent development and cancer and how the body reacts to injury and more about cancer and statistics and even more about cancer and then about cellular biology. (All things that are too small to be seen by the human eye, and yes, that just blows my mind!)

But mainly, I learned about life. About me. About who I am and who I am becoming and how lucky I am to have amazingly supportive people in my life. About my limits, and how much I can take. About being strong and being weak. About the importance of friendships both new and old. About the massive amount of love in my life. About how much impact a few kind words or a text can have. And a little bit about sleep deprivation too.

This week was a hard, hard week both mentally and physically. I don’t think I have ever worked so hard and slept so little. I’m learning quickly that PA school moves a mile a minute, and while I am still desperately trying to hold on tight, this week got the best of me.  This was our week of 4 exams. 4 exams plus brand new material in every single class, every single day. No days off to get ready, no whole class reviews. Thankfully, one of the professors agreed to move his to this coming Monday, so it ended up being only 3, but man, what a week!

The cool thing is that even though this week absolutely sucked, I survived, and actually learned a lot of pretty important stuff not related to school along the way.

I learned that even when I am exhausted, I can keep pushing myself and cramming info into my brain, even if that means on 3 hours of sleep each night morning. Even if I think I can’t. I learned I can drink coffee, but it certainly doesn’t substitute for sleep and it tends to make you a “shaky zombie” which makes people laugh.

I learned that I never ever want to spend 12 hours straight in a library or at my desk ever again (let alone every day for 9 straight days), but that I will probably have to do it again many more times before I graduate. And that it will pay off when you FINALLY understand things!

I learned that I have some pretty amazing friends who will talk me down and build me up when I am convinced I’m not cut out to be a PA (and they will repeat it every single day too if I need them to). I am honestly so lucky that they are in my life, even if we are spread all across the US, ranging from teaching to working to grad school to med school.

I learned that God has amazing timing when he chose Monday in the midst of my mental breakdown to have Kelly send me pictures of us reuniting in tears at her wedding. Which helped me learn that being willing to move on from the past hurt in a friendship can open doors to a future reunion. And that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to let someone go, they can always come back and that feels great!

I also learned sometimes you just have to give yourself 30 minutes to have a good cry then suck it up and get back to studying, because when you are exhausted, so many emotions come alive. And that feeling those emotions are totally ok (which is huge for me)!

I learned that relying on my roommates to remind me of my dream to be a neonatal PA can help inspire me when I forget why I am here. And that they totally understand feeling stuck in this stage of life just as much as I do.

I learned how much of an impact people can have when they surprise you with little words of encouragement when you least expect it, and somehow God makes sure that the timing will be just right. Like a facebook message from one of my swimmers asking for advice, thanking me for making a difference in her life, then telling me she wants to be just like me when she grows up on a day when I was feeling lost and confused. Like a voice mail from one of my best friends telling me not to bother calling her back but just to know she loves me and believes in me. Like an article and caring message from Jen, an inspirational NICU nurse that I have come to adore over the past two years, that reminded me of who I want to be and what a difference I can make if I stay in school. Like a photo message from my favorite swim coach and little swimmer just saying hi that brought a huge smile to my face on a night when I was feeling homesick beyond belief. Like a care package full of dark chocolate from my grandma arriving right between exam days! Like my roomie driving me to Broad Ripple to get take out dinner on friday night because she knew I was too much of a zombie to feed myself. Like my parents being willing to come take me to lunch yesterday and showing up with a weeks worth of groceries, decorating my house, and mowing my lawn for me! All these seemingly simple things got me through my terrible week, and reminded me that I need to be better at encouraging others as well.

My life is so full of love at the moment that it overwhelms me. School is hard every single day, and while this week may have gotten the best of me, I am so thankful for it. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel blessed to have so many loving and supportive people helping me get through the week. While I often feel like I am on my own, doing the same thing every day with no end in sight and missing out on “real life”, I’m reminded that I am here for a reason and this is all part of the process. And I’m happy. I may constantly be struggling to keep up with the pace of life right now, but I everything I am learning and understanding make that struggle worthwhile!

And So It Begins…

For the past 8 days I have had this freakish rash inside the elbow crease of my right arm. It started out as a tiny little itchy dot and grew into an ANGRY  massive blob really fast! Me being me, I decided I’d throw some hydrogen peroxide on it and a big bandaid (because I fully believe bandaids help, always) and hoped it would go away. Except it never did.

Now, I’ve heard about med student syndrome, when you feel like you have every single disease you are studying, and I was determined not to fall victim to this phenomena. Except I did.

The problem started in Pharmacology when we just happened to be learning about antifungal drugs. Word to the wise, NEVER EVER google image fungal infections unless you want to freak yourself out. For about 5 seconds I was convinced I had some freakish disease that needed these scary meds I was learning about.

So I sent a picture to my wonderful uncle who suggested I should go see a doctor in case it was a staph infection. Yep, NEVER EVER EVER google image those pictures or symptoms unless you really feel like being a touch hysterical.

And then I went to Pathophysiology where we are learning (in wayyyyyy too much detail) about how the immune system works. That day we just happened to be talking about allergic reactions and autoimmune disorders (like when your body turns on itself and starts killing its own cells) and man, I thought for sure I probably had some terrible disease for lupus for about 5 minutes.

This has gone on all week so finally I saw someone today, who, drumroll………….diagnosed it as “a freakishly large hyperallergic response to an unknown allergen” due to a “freaking out immune system”. Basically, I have nothing other than a super hyped up reaction going on in my body to something. Treatment for this? Lots of Benadryl for 3 straight days in hopes of calming my body down. Sounds like a week of excitement over nothing, right? Except for the fact that I FULLY UNDERSTAND DOWN TO A CELLULAR LEVEL EVERYTHING THAT SHE SAID!!! AND I can picture exactly what is happening to my T cells and B cells and antibodies and mast cells!

No one probably cares, but this is a big moment for me. Attempting to learn the immune system in one week has seemed nearly impossible and rather overwhelming, not to mention everything else that is being thrown at me this week in classes, but I feel like I’m getting it! I don’t even care that it took an ugly rash to help me get there because today, I am feeling a tiny bit more like I can actually do this PA stuff. And hey, having a good laugh at yourself along the way can’t hurt, right?

Ahead of me is a weekend of learning the immune system, memorizing antifungal drugs/antiparastitc drugs/antiviral drugs/and chemotherapy drugs, learning a massive amount of physiology AND reviewing for statistics. Which should be fun to attempt dosed up on Benadryl (the most common ingredient in OTC sleeping pills btw) hahah. We have 4 exams next week, so it should be an interesting to see how this all pans out. And in case you are wondering, I’m now accepting positive thoughts and prayers for my sanity!

This post is about a week late, but it’s ok. Last weekend the “back row” met at Kilroy’s for  a little bit of time off from school. We’re beginning to get to know each other better and are having quite a great time bonding over being the “calm” group in class. I was sooooo lucky to have my amazing friend and college roommate, Ali, visiting me as well! See, we may be in PA school but we still find time to have fun!

Round One is Done

Friday of week 2.5 is finally here. I have made it through my first two exams, and have a brain packed full of knowledge and an overwhelming realization that I have no idea what to expect for the rest of the year. Ahead of me is a rare week with one exam which means it will be full of studying for our week of 4 exams. Turn’s out in PA school you are never really caught up. I am learning quickly how to juggle 5 balls at one time with no down time or pattern. It’s really a brand new feeling that can’t be justified in words.

You are probably thinking I am hating my life, and strangely, I would expect I should be. But I’m not. Yes, I am overwhelmed once and a while, and quite frankly exhausted right now, I am excited. Every day there is something I learn that just blows my mind and I am so thankful for this chance to be at Butler. I WISH i could learn all the fun stuff right now and get out into the real world already, but ya know, that will come. Right now I am just taking in everything that is happening and trying to absorb it all.

I am so thankful for my supportive parents and friends. Each week feels like the longest week of my life and the days fly by, but everyone seems to understand, so far, that this is my life right now. It makes my week being able to look forward to weekend adventures, FaceTimes, or visits:) Work hard during the week to play hard during the weekend has been my motto so far, because I just can’t go all week without a little bit of time off!

Hurricane Issac hits the 537

Tonight we had our first crisis as a home-renter and man, I miss those maintenance men already!

I had just gone up to my room to finish reading for class when Molly tentatively yelled up the stairs, “uh Megan, we’re having a little issue down here”. Flash-forward to me running down the stairs to find water gushing out of the main level bathroom into the hallway (which is all old wooden floors…remember this in a few minutes) dammed with bathroom rugs. And by gushing, I mean GUSHING. The amount of water coming out of this bathroom was ungodly! All I could think was, some pipe must have burst, should we call 911?

In 5 seconds, my thoughts ranged from “ohno, holy cow, what do we do ok, its ok, TURN THE WATER OFF!” as I flew down to the basement to shut the water off to the house (which I am proud to say I learned a mere 3 days previous to this event and swore I’d never use. wrong.)  only to find THE ENTIRE CEILING in the basement under the hallway was POURING DOWN WATER. And by pouring, I mean a monsoon worthy amount of water was flowing from the cracks in the wooden floor above. Yes, Hurricane Issac made an appearance in our basement.

In a blur of excitement Kate ran up to the bathroom and I ran down to the valve and Molly was just wimpering in the stairs. We got the toilet fixed, determined no pipes were busted as previously thought, and got the flood under control! Remembering something about water and electricity, we jumped over puddles to get towels and then Kate came down and taught me how silly I was because nothing was plugged in on the floor. Oops. Better safe than sorry, right?

Did I expect to spend an hour of my night soaking up water in the basement by shuffling around on towels with Molly? Heck no. But we sure had a few great laughs while doing it and now know without a shadow of doubt that we’ll make a great team next year when we learn to intubate in an emergency. We also learned we are very lucky to have Kate who knows everything!

Oh the joys of being big girls in our very own (rented) house.

What’s funny to me is this happened in the middle of a very stressful week. With all the info being thrown at us to digest and exams starting next week, I’ve literally gotten home from class at 3 and studied until 11pm with only a break for dinner. I do feel like I am making small progress, but the range of emotions I experience daily is overwhelming. It goes from I love my campus, to I can handle this lecture, to ohhhh no what is he saying, to why didn’t I just get a 4 year degree, to I wish I was a teacher, to I wish I married rich already, to I am never going to be smart enough or good enough, to I’m going to fail out of PA school, to I’m here for a reason, to I”m going to be ok, to man im exhausted. I know it is all a part of the process, and I trust that I am at Butler, in the program for a reason. But I have to believe this was God’s way of saying, “hey girls, loosen up and laugh a bit” or else he just wanted a good laugh himself!

PA School Outing

Last night, the PA1s and PA2s went to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game together as our first social outing and celebration for making it through week 1. May I just say I love Indy so far? Yes it’s big and a bit intimidating, but it is oh so nice to be able to just drive a few minutes away and have so many options of things to do. I miss Monticello and West Lafayette just a bit, but Indy is so fun!

It was so great to meet the people in our class that we have seen for 3 days but didn’t know their names as well as the “fun people” from the class above us. The guys all did a spectacular job of making us feel welcome and giving us great tips for the year. I love hearing everyone’s stories and how they came to Butler…ranging from homegrown Butler natives to 30 year old paramedics to elementary school teachers! Our class wasn’t so friendly, but I’m hoping that will change over the next few weeks. It’s hard to believe we are only 3 days in and I already feel like I have been here for a year. With 26 exams staring me in the face over the course of the next 3 months, I’m really nervous to see how I make it through it all!

I survived, so far

Today marks the end of my second day of PA school. It’s hard to believe it has only been two days to be honest. I feel like I’ve been here forever. But that’s ok, because I can’t explain how much I love Butler!

They weren’t lying at orientation when they said that this year would be like drinking out of a fire-hose. After a 3 hour stats lecture yesterday and a 2 hour behavioral medicine lecture today, I am already on info overload…and those are the two easiest classes! It’s hard to adjust to our schedule and having classes for different lengths on days with no patterns, but I know I’ll get there eventually. Right now everything is just so new that its fascinating!

I will willingly admit I am on technology overload. Everything is “smart” in the classrooms…smart boards that look like dry erase boards (but DO NOT try to use a dry erase marker bc people freak out!), smart projectors, smart iPads, smartphones…on and on and on. Its like, whatever happened to chalkboards and notebooks?! That being said, I think I will really love my iPad once i can figure out how to download, upload, annotate, sync to the cloud, get to dropbox and yada yada yada…we all know how much I like change:)

Other than that, I am really excited about my classes and the material we will be learning. It is scary to think about how much I need to cram into my head over the next 14 weeks, but exhilarating at the same time. We went through the national board’s website yesterday in pharmacology and he pointed out that we will know all of that in 2 years! So crazy! today in behavioral med we started right in on learning how to talk to patients and establish their trust during an interview:) I’M LEARNING REAL LIFE STUFF RIGHT NOW!!!!

I also got to see Ali and Evan last night for dinner in Broad Ripple! We went to a brewery called Thr3e Wise Men and were a little overwhelmed about the atmosphere but still had a fantastic time. I’m so thankful for the friendship that I have in those two.

Other than that, its just the little details of getting adjusted to a new place. The cable man came back today to fix the things the other guy did wrong on Tuesday…we thought trash pick up was this morning, but turns out we are the only house on the block that has 4 trashcans on the road hahah…the dryer wont work unless it’s plugged in…fun stuff like that. I absolutely LOVE my life here right now and can only hope that love lasts. It’s such a comforting feeling to know I am where I belong!

Welcome to Indy

Tomorrow is PA school orientation. It’s so hard to believe that day is finally here! I’ve spent my fair share of time trying out careers and majors in college, and looking forward to PA school once I finally decided that was what I wanted to do. But now that it is here, I can’t help but be a tiny bit scared. Ok, really a lot of bit scared. I think it’s a good scared though, like the kind of scared you are when you know something really life changing and wonderful is about to happen.

My Butler house is adorable. The location is perfect, the wood floors are charming, the kitchen is spacious, and my room is a haven. My roommates feel like family already, despite only living together for less than two days. They will never replace Ali, Mallory, or Erika, but they are really sweet girls. I explored the area on my own today and only got lost once (when my phone took me to a Marsh in the middle of a strip mall next to a wig and costume shop and I was the only white girl in the parking lot, I decided not to get out of my car and to keep on driving). I don’t know if it is possible to already love an area of a city I have only lived in for 36 hours, but I do. This feeling has to mean I am finally exactly where I belong.

The one thought that has constantly been on my mind today has been how blessed I am to have parents that are supportive and encouraging. This move and next chapter of my life has been so much easier to adjust to because they have been there cheering me on. They are so excited for me to persue my dream and have been willing to help me get there, any way ask them to. I just can’t describe how lucky that makes me feel.

So here I am, 11:00 at night, all ready for my big day tomorrow. My outfit is picked out, my “PA bag” is packed, and I’m about to jump into my Princess-and-the-pea worthy giant fluffy bed. At 7:30 am Molly and I will be rolling out, ready to take on our new PA school class! Wish me luck.

Welcome!

When I started using tumblr, it was almost like pintrest in that we reposted pictures and quotes of things that we related to and added a few blogs now and then. Now that pintrest has cornered the market (and my attention span) on the reposting and liking of pretty pictures and inspiring quotes, I’ve decided to bring my tumblr back to life as an actual blog of sorts to chronicle my days of PA school! I’ve decided to leave all my previous reposts, blog entries and pretty pictures up, because after going through them, the things I wrote and reposted represent a part of my life that I’m not ready to delete. Feel free to peruse through the archive at your leisure, its kind of fun for me to look back and see how far I’ve come:)

“‘Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.’”

—Rumi (via fcukyesquotes)

(via eclecticwave)

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