My little brother is currently in Army Basic Training. Before he left in January he lived with me off and on for the past four years so we’re very close. I’m tremendously proud of him and can’t wait for him to graduate next month. The only problem is that his graduation is halfway across the country, on a Thursday, with Family Day the day before. This means that I have to miss a couple days of class and book plane tickets, a hotel room, and a rental car. Yikes. But don’t let me make you think I’m not going. My tickets are already booked. Our parents live overseas and won’t be able to make it. I used to be in the Army, and I remember what a bummer it was when I graduated and didn’t have any of my family there.
In medical school it’s oh so easy to get sucked into the mentality that nothing in the outside world really exists or matters. We settle into our routines that consist primarily of study-eat-sleep. There is always more studying to be done, always more to learn, always something school-related that is demanding more attention. On the one hand it’s scary to think about taking at least two days completely off school in a module that is only 4 weeks long. But on the other hand I know that if I don’t go I’ll be kicking myself on the day when I’m not there to see him graduate. This is something that only happens once, and it’s incredibly important not to miss out on these things if we can help it.
Last year there was a death in my family and I missed more than a week of school for the funeral. I can honestly say that my grade in that module suffered but, looking back on it now I would have done exactly the same thing if given a second chance. That was a hard time in my life and it meant everything to be near the people I loved, and to celebrate the life of an amazing person. Life keeps on rolling while we’re in school and it’s critical to not miss the important things, both the good and the bad.
I will be taking schoolwork with me to South Carolina, to study on the plane and in my hotel room at night, but I know that during the day I will put it all to the side and enjoy the short time I get with my brother. The following weekend will probably be pretty rough, and I’ll have to study doubly hard to get caught back up again, especially in such a short module. My bank account cringed when I booked everything I need for the trip, but I’ll find a way to make the money work. I know this will not be the last big event that I find a way to work into my increasingly busy schedule. It may not even be the last one this school year. But it’s important to me, and I know that I will continue to find a way to fit the important things in. Medical school is a big deal, but I don’t want to get to the end of this journey and realize that I really should have gone to the things that really mattered.
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All of the opinions expressed here are the author’s and hers alone, and do not represent necessarily those of Kaplan or its employees.