But I guess I could start by saying Thank you so incredibly much for your prayers this past week. Your comments and emails were such a huge, huge, encouragement as I was studying, and your support meant so much to me.
These have probably been close to the 7 hardest weeks of my life. So many things were amazingly put in place to direct me to this place and to allow me to be here...but I've been really struggling. I know people say nothing worth doing is easy...and I certainly wasn't expecting medical school of all things to easy...but I don't think I was entirely ready for exactly how difficult it was going to be.
|only midnight...surely I can get through the rest--WHAT|
IS THIS DISEASE?? HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD
OF IT??? Now I'm not gonna be able to fall asleep until 2am...
And it wasn't just the material, though things like biochem and microbiology were never my favorite subjects in school, and spending 6 hours a day in lecture and then 4pm to ~1am every evening trying to learn everything from the lecture was not exactly pleasant.
|if it were not for the awesome people I'm living with...|
I'm not sure how I would have been able to manage.
My family, who I'm used to talking to at any point in the day, sharing all manner of random things with, discussing everything under the sun--i.e. living with, is no longer here. I've actually seen them almost every week, and talked on the phone for hours the rest of the week...but it's different. I had no idea I was going to miss them so much, especially with the amount of times I've seen them.
Still, it was more than that. I think I've cried more in the past 7 weeks than I have in perhaps the past 7 years. (I don't tend to cry a lot. I just don't. Until the past few weeks, apparently.) Anything set me off, from talking to/emails from my family, to my test scores, to thinking about the future or the past. I would go to bed when I was too miserably tired to function and wake up feeling exhausted and entirely unprepared for another incredibly long day of doing it all over again.
Homesickness, depression, spiritual attack...whatever it was, it just got worse and worse. I kept banging my head against this feeling of absolute miserableness just going God, WHY is this so hard? I thought you wanted me to be here! Why can't I just be good at this stuff! Why is EVERYTHING I try to do here so difficult? Why is nothing simple?
And then came test 6. I hadn't been getting in any time to study for the upcoming final, and I really, really wanted to do well on this test, so I could focus on the final and put week 6's material in the back and hopefully not worry so much about week 7's test.
I failed it.
And I was driving home, feeling completely overwhelmed, the usual refrain of What were they thinking to let me in here, I'm going to kill all my patients, that's assuming I get that far, I'll probably flunk out of medical school and then what will I do with my life, why did God ask me to do something I am so completely unable to do...that had been bothering me more and more lately started up again. And I turned on the radio and started flipping through channels. Suddenly a song started playing, not the kind I usually listen to (same reason I don't read a ton of mainstream Christian fiction), but the words caught my attention so I left it on.
Got so much on your mind
Nothing's really going right...
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He's not gonna let it get the best of you
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You're not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds You
That you're an overcomer
The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There's nothing He can't do
He's telling You
and suddenly I wanted to cry for rather different reasons than before. It was exactly what I needed to hear. The final round was not yet here, I needed to keep working, and He who calls is faithful also to do it. I knew this stuff, but it was His merciful lovingkindness that reminded me of it when I was feeling worst.
So I failed the test. So God told Gideon it was by the 300 men that lapped He would save Israel. It was to show how great His power was. My next week would be like that, because He'd just sent home the rest of my chances.
And then week 7...I started getting sick. Okay, well, now I really was down to Gideon's 300 men, if that, given that me feeling sick = pretty much death sentence for studying or test-taking. I felt completely wretched. Tuesday my family drove through town and I saw them for an hour or so and spent the rest of the evening fighting tears. Again.
And one of my friends sent me a song. The translation is a bit rough, but I think that only made it catch my attention more.
You ask me again today, if I love you
I only laugh and ask why you say that again
I only laugh and ask why you say that again
You cry again today, saying I’m too much
Always the same question, always the same answer...
Do I need to say it for you to know? I love you the same as always
Is my heart not enough?
You really don't understand...
Hey, I won't change my ways
Actually showing love is better...
I’ll promise you one thing, I’ll do better than anyone else
I'll..whisper in your ear that I'll never let you down...
Always by your side
I'll do it better, because I'm the one who knows you best.
And I cringed to see myself, crying again, asking for more proof of my Lord's overwhelming and everlasting indescribable love. Had He not already made His will for me abundantly clear? People have died for their faith, and I was freaking out because my life was currently a little difficult? Should I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas? Seriously.
It might have been somewhere around there that I realized I probably was dealing with some depression, given that I was feeling so entirely not myself, but it was also a huge reminder that I needed to be okay with however the final went. What if God did want me to re-take this entire class? Start over next fall? What if that was His plan? Was not His heart enough? Was not the unchangeable love of the One who knew me best and who knew the future and had already planned the best for me enough that I could trust Him?
And then I went back to being Gideon and hoped it wasn't too much to ask that I be given a teeny bit of hope that my 300 men could beat the entire Midianite army. Something like the bread dream? Something like doing okay on test 7, the day before the final? And then I reminded myself that He'd already given me 2 songs and hadn't that last one kinda said all I needed to know? :P
So I took test 7, feeling quite sick and miserable...my score appeared...and I'd just barely passed. Not exactly what I wanted...but hey, at least I hadn't failed. Then the course directors made some announcements and some of the questions were adjusted...and suddenly my score was almost better than I'd had on any previous exams.
And then I talked to the course directors, and not only were they willing to allow me to take the final later, to give me a chance to get well and to make up the study time that simply had not been happening because I was sick, they actually agreed to come in on the weekend and give me the test then, so that I wouldn't have to push it into the second course, which starts on Monday.
Pretty good as far as bread dreams go.
And I started getting emails, comments on my blog, random classmates telling me I was going to pass...whatever emotional mess was trying to drown me, I am in awe at how patient God has been with me, and how many times He was willing to remind me of His love for me, when I shouldn't have needed reminded.
Anywayz...I thought never in my life would I study harder for something than I studied for my private pilot's test when I was 17...pretty sure I managed to pass it this week. (I studied harder for this final than I did for the MCAT, I'm pretty sure.) If I hadn't been feeling sick and and on top of that finding a migrating flock of butterflies in my stomach every time the test entered my mind, it would have been fascinating. So many things finally connected for me, so many details coming together, so much that matched and was just super amazing to know (because everything I've learned in the past 2 months has been incredibly interesting, don't get me wrong) actually clicking...it was really cool.
Not that I particularly was able to enjoy it...but I was quite aware that I could have enjoyed it had I not been preparing for a test. :)
Anyway...then it was test day for real...and I woke up actually able to breathe and not coughing every few minutes...and yes, the course directors were right and the different lecturers did save their hardest questions for the final, and yes, 3 hours was really a long time to be taking a test, and yes, I barely got a chance to read through each question in the time given, and yes, maybe it was too many hours spent studying the day before but I was flat-out guessing on way too many of the questions, and yes, I was scared to death when I had a minute left, and yes, I just about died of relief when the course director came up to me and said You just reached the passing marker - be reallllllly careful about changing any of your answers from this point out, and no, I don't ever have to take Foundations again, and I don't know if you have any idea how happy I am about that fact.
Maybe it's because I'm a writer, maybe it's because I'm introspective, but I always ask the what-ifs, and something minor (like a test) can so quickly turn into my entire life. Being that doctor who isn't competent is definitely something I don't want to be...but this class is not the next 7 years. I already have a better idea for what I'll need to do as far as studying habits, note taking, etc. that I had no idea about before. I have learned soooo much in the past 7 weeks...
And not just about school. I realized how often I take the easy way...and how poorly that serves me, when there is no easy way to take. I realized how much I depend on my family...and how amazing they are, even when I don't get to see them every day. I realized somewhat more how much the doctors I know went through to get where they are today...and my respect for them went through the roof. I realized how incredibly weak I am...and how strong God is willing to prove Himself.
If I were naturally gifted in the sciences, it wouldn't be so incredible that I'm actually in med school. That I actually passed my first course. I wouldn't realize how much I had to depend on Him...and honestly, NOT that I plan on being a bad doctor, but I'd rather be one who understood how much there was to know and how much I didn't know, than one who could do it all on my own and forgot how much there was beyond my knowledge and control.
And good grief, that was a lot of writing...in case you can't tell, I haven't been doing a lot of it lately...I was dying to write this week and it was almost physically painful to force myself to sleep and study instead. :P But seriously...thank you all SO MUCH for being amazing this past week...I wanted to kind of update you on where I was and how it was all going... ;) If you'd rather I not go the massive post route (and if you had time to read all this, I'm impressed), feel free to tell me to journal it. ;) At some point I'm probably gonna wish I'd stayed anonymous... I'll have to start a new blog, as an unknown anonymous med student, where I can say all manner of things that should probably not be tied to an actual person where places and events could be traced... :P HIPPA, y'know...but okay, I'll stop now. XD It's just that I've missed blogging... XD I have a few posts in my head that I hope I'll get a chance to write soon, and I hope I'll actually get to read some blogs this next week also.
The next course is supposed to be slightly easier for a short time, and simply having passed this one makes me feel much better (plus the fact that I'm getting over whatever was making me sick), so...