When I think back to middle school and recall the stories that some of my teachers would share about their college-days, I remember how hard they made it seem. Despite this, I would always get the sense that some of their fondest memories had taken place in college, and I can now say with experience that they were correct on both counts. Since freshman year, I have shared with you all my experiences and the memories that I have come to cherish, namely because I feel that these days will be among the most treasured periods of my life. I also feel however that school is passing by at an alarming rate (though I will not be facing any shortage of it any time soon) and that before I know it, I’ll be waving goodbye to undergrad and facing the endgame: medical school.
It has been little over a month now since I took my MCAT. As you recall, I didn’t feel bad coming out of the test… Just eager to see how I did. The first week after the test went fine– life was back to normal and the typical school routine started back up. The weeks following that really started passing by as a blur though.
The first thing that started was that I would stay up really late because I would have a hard time sleeping, and because a part of me did not want to go to sleep. This gave me some time to unwind and partake in some of the activities that I could not do amidst studying, but it also felt shallow somewhat. What began to happen next was an inability to wake up on time for anything. In the past, my body has never failed me in terms of waking me up in the nick of time, but all of a sudden I began to wake up late for my 9:00 AM Psychology class. While the first few times I was able to run to class and make it maybe a minute or so late, eventually I was unable to attend at an acceptable time and this made the student in me feel absolutely awful. As a result, I would often go back home to sleep (because that’s what I tend to do when feeling bad) and subsequently miss my other classes at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM one way or another.
I would try my best to keep up with the classes in my free time, and I by no means began to do poorly in my studies, but the thought of being an “irresponsible student” really ate away at me. At one point, I just did not feel like doing anything because I would never be in the mood. What probably worsened things was the fact that I would tend to “keep up” my image and not make it appear that I was having difficulty. I did share my concerns with a few of my friends though, but I did not really expect much out of the act since I figured that the feeling would go away by itself (I figured there was some outside factor causing it). Unfortunately, all I really did was worry them unnecessarily because honestly, it’s difficult to help a depressed person feel better.
Depressed. Even now, I feel that this descriptor is too strong, but I more or less came to terms with the fact that I my mood must have been that of light to moderate depression. I suppose the reason I felt that this would come to pass would be because I have a very strong sense of duty/ambition and since my nature is that of an optimist (even if I don’t like to show it to others).
During this period, I was still rational at least and I decided to talk about my situation with my professors. Thankfully, both of the professors that I talked to were sympathetic and understanding.
Since I was confused as to what might have been causing my feeling, we attempted to brainstorm possible reasons and I eventually came to terms with the reason of my state of mind– for some reason, I was facing a mental inability to get past not knowing my MCAT score and the resulting plans I would have to make. In other words, I had no idea whether I would have to study to retake the test or whether I was actually done until I saw my score and this gaping variable in my planning was tearing me apart.
During this time however, I was making it a point to relax and take in my surroundings. After a few days of walking around on campus and generally taking in my life in Dallas, I realized the real reason for my feeling depressed.
Throughout my life, I have moved constantly and, despite working hard, never really cared too much about school. I always stayed kind of distanced from the majority of my classmates and always thought what we were learning was fairly useless. In college, I’m here living in Dallas– I have a wonderful 2-bedroom apartment that I share with my room mate, I practically live with some of the best friends that I have ever made, and when we have to face difficulty, we learn and face things together as a team. I have watched as the campus has expanded and built new buildings. I own two jobs at the college with supervisors who care enough about me to visit me in the hospital.
What was making me depressed was the fact that this life will end soon.
Granted, I am a quarter way through my Junior year, but I tend to classify progress in terms of milestones– During Junior year, both the MCAT and medical school applications will be taken care of… To me, that makes me feel like the majority of undergraduate is over. I also know that some of my closest friends will be going in separate directions after graduation, either as a result of taking a year off before progressing to their next stage of life or just because they are pursuing a different field of study. I mean, I do not tend to get attached to schools or my surroundings, but I can honestly say that UT Dallas has provided me with wonderful experiences and that I have also made my mark on the college by working in authoritative positions.
I indeed “got over it” once I isolated the cause for my moodiness and school life went back to normal. Lately however, I have been careful to observe with a keener eye the day-to-day moments of my life. When you first started up Chrono Trigger and heard the soundtrack, you got a sense that this game was about to take you through an epic journey and that an unforgettable story would unfold as the game would progress. This is exactly how I feel about undergraduate. I can feel how important this time of my life is and how treasured some of my memories will be because of the atmosphere here.
I guess I was just somewhat oblivious and my progress through undergraduate sort of snuck up on me and took me by surprise. It’s why I have this blog after all, to record things as they unfold. Goodness knows I did not realize how much I would miss the days when my room mate would come to my room to study calculus and end up watching the fourth Star Trek movie with me. Last week, my room mate from freshman year and I sat in an empty Hoblitzelle Hall at 7:00 PM and just talked. Talked about our ambitions, how we felt about our futures, what we left behind freshman year. It was a very deep experience that affected us both, to the point that my room mate texted me late into the night about how our discussion lingered in their mind and encouraged them to work harder than ever.
College is the only time in one’s life that it is perfectly acceptable to live with complete strangers and have it be considered normal. At this point however, they are no longer complete strangers~.