Realized Gratefulness

When I take a moment to clear my head and open my eyes to my surroundings, I feel… content. At peace.


 SMILE, as remixed in the Persona 4 -Reincarnation- album. The song that often plays when deepening Social Links

I sit here beginning to type this post roughly five and a half hours after Thanksgiving Day has officially ended in the United States– an oddly apt delay considering the content of this post. I suppose that’s also my personality under normal circumstances. I quietly reflect and pick apart my feelings, exposing underlying feelings that give me a better understanding about the world around me. With everyone else giving their thanks, today seemed to be a good time to take a look at how life has changed since the difficult period of personal revelations I went through a few months ago.

So to start, what am I thankful for? Well of course my family (especially my parents and their boundless support) and friends (who I would not be a third of the person I am today without), but those have always gone without saying. In the past, I would have also included “school,” but if I were to write this post a few months earlier, it would have surely been missing from my list.

Even after I had concluded my “Truth” series, despite having learned a lot about myself and my life as a student, a part of me felt as if my “prime” school days had passed. I had talked many times about medical school seeming more like a job than a college and in terms of the amount of time put in, it felt just like that. I can no longer live the “college life” that is depicted in movies and humorous anecdotes posted online; skipping class, staying up late to play video games, dabbling in club activities, wasting time in the dining hall, getting locked out of my bedroom, or simply wasting the night acting plain dumb with my room mate and friends on campus… were no longer in the picture. All of a sudden, it seemed as if I had grown past college into something more grown up.

For a while, I was tempted to write a post titled School’s Out to somewhat lament the fact that I had outgrown the idea of “school” that I had built this blog around. While I truly am in love with the charm behind attending school and the role it plays in our lives, my daily routine made me feel like such an “adult” that I felt, as far as my training to become a doctor was concerned, I was no longer going to “school.”

As time passed, I began to realize that I was failing to look at the very aspects of medical school that I valued in “traditional” school to begin with. I mean, I didn’t name this blog Kept After Class because I like doing homework or having to deal with finicky test graders– those aren’t parts of school that I enjoy. I like the concept of school because it a period of growth in one’s life that can never be repeated. It is a phase where one gets to know new peers (some of which become inseparable friends), learn insightful lessons (both in terms of academics and real life), and gently allow others into their own lives through extracurricular activities (both school-based and otherwise). As I mentioned during the epilogue of my “Truth” series, I realized that I had been shutting myself out of these aspects and soon changed my perspective. Once I opened my eyes, I realized that I was in familiar surroundings all along; I was at school.

I really have a rather placid life. It’s extremely fast-paced and turbulent, but at the same time, it’s… serene. A typical day involves waking up early, commuting to campus (which can be oddly head-clearing), attending morning lecture while fiercely taking notes, going to the student lounge for lunch break, playing ping-pong on the randomly strewn tables, studying some more on campus until sundown, and then finally going home. What’s important to realize during this routine is that everyone in my year is going through pretty much the same schedule. Before tests, competency reviews, and holidays, the population in the library always changes to reflect the sense of urgency. What I’m trying to say is that there is a prevalent mood in the air where one does not feel alone.

From studying to break time, there are always people to spend it with. Even during weekends (medical school just encroaches upon your life that much) if one wants to practice performing physical exams, someone will be available and willing to let you do it on them. Because our school is an Osteopathic medical school, we also tend to also have little to no sense of shame as we have seen each other with little clothing and have touched each other in sensitive areas while learning about body physiology (even across both sexes). It’s a bit of an odd dynamic to be sure, but there reallyis an unspoken feeling of trust involved which only naturally makes people more comfortable around each other. (That, and once you have touched someone’s gluteal, pectoral, or inguinal regions, you pretty much at least become acquainted with one another).

Free time is also much-coveted as you can imagine, but one cannot simply take a gigantic vacation from the day on a whim (something I sort of miss from undergrad at times). Instead, ping-pong, pool, and Foosball are frequent past times on campus which by design cannot be played alone. Ping pong especially has become something I look forward to, as we play it to a point that we casually hold conversations while rallying the ball back and forth. I would also like to note that I did not know how to play any of these when I got here, but I was encouraged and taught by my friends because they are just that great.

They say that bonds are strengthened through adversity– medical school can be considered as a similar force in terms of friendship. I wasn’t exaggerating in my previous post that people will stick up for you and help you out. During our two days off for Thanksgiving, a number of the stragglers that did not go home to visit their families arranged get-togethers between some of our classmates to hold their own mini Thanksgiving feasts. One of my friends decided to arrange something similar for a classmate whose parents were out of the country and invited me and a couple others to help cook up a potluck dinner. The plan unfortunately fell through, but I was… humbled that I have a place to be during the holidays even though I am away from my family. My friends and a good number of my classmates are just great people.

When I had a chance to Skype with my online friends a few days back, one of them remarked that I always “have the best stories” as I retold some of the happenings from my life. The comment caught me a little off guard as I had been telling him about my school days since undergrad, but then it sort of dawned that perhaps my life now, at its core, is not that different from what it was like before.

So I would say yes, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for school. Now more than ever.

8 Comments

  1. balance
    Rooftop Dreamer
    Class 1-B
    Seat no. 6
    Valid from: 03/07/2014 at 4:35 pm

    I do have to apologize for the very delayed responses that I should have put for all of these entries. I do follow them but I always end up forgetting to do the actual comment themselves. I suppose it’s what happens when we actually end up chatting that I forget to continue forth to put down my thoughts so that they become a permanent reminder.

    It is quite the interesting transition from “college life” to something that appears to be more like work, isn’t it? Even more interesting that you call it “training” to become a doctor rather than “learning” to become a doctor. Though I suppose both can go hand in hand, however knowing you, it was perhaps an intentional use to display the fact that it’s still not like the college life that you were living previously.

    Though again (as you have made note of here), in the end, it’s still school and it’s just the perspective that had changed. In fact, this was something that I was thinking about earlier about our perspectives.

    Back whenever we were younger, we always viewed the people who go to college as these really mature, grown up individuals who were capable of so much and beyond our grasp. Now that we have reached this age, it’s almost alarmingly normal. So normal that it feels like what we thought back in the past must have been a lie. Nevertheless, it’s always an interesting perspective to look back to.

    I’m glad though that you ended up with this revelation as I believe that it has helped you become who you are right now. I only wish that I could have commented on this closer to the day of its release, however I shouldn’t really be complaining about my own failed effort of not being able to do something in the past.

    It is interesting though, to see the progress you’ve made since then.

    Also yes, you do have the best stories. It’s perhaps you can make something so normal feel so important that it becomes a great story of its own. My little sister does the same so I find it an interesting quality. Of course, the content of both of your stories vary a lot, however they make each normal day seem just that much more special.

    Reply

  2. Tao
    Transfer Student
    Class 4-B

    Glad to hear what your thankful for and I’m happy to see that school is a part of that. I’ve missed school more than I thought I could even imagine and I almost wish I could re-do it. I could go to college, but the point I’ve gotten to allows me to have a balance of work and free time that I’ve grown fond of. Now I’m not sure if it’s the right choice, but it’s a good choice because I’m the one who made it. Glad your not sick anymore, I caught a bug and have been out of commission for a few days Blurghhhh. It’s not great

    Reply

    • Student Council
      会長 | Class 4-B
      Seat no. 1
      Valid from: 12/01/2013 at 7:19 pm

      I guess it is one of those things where you don’t realize how much it means to you until it is gone or almost taken away from you. That was the reason this blog was created, since it is hard to tell which parts of your life you will fondly look back on until they have passed.

      A good balance is a valuable thing, and really what more can someone ask than to be content with their life? I wish you well in your current and future lifestyles, whatever they may be!

      By the way, I find it funny how, despite the fact that you have been using a Disqus account for a while now to comment, you still have not set a profile picture. My younger brother is guilty of doing the same sort of thing whenever he uses instant messengers haha~

      Reply

      • Tao
        Transfer Student
        Class 4-B
        Valid from: 12/02/2013 at 8:34 pm

        Good point lol. I kinda forgot and I already had the perfect image. Gosh I love Chie, I’m excited for the Person 4 Arena sequel. I have another image where Yu is wielding a giant pocky candy stick and chie bit off the end of it.

        Reply

        • Student Council
          会長 | Class 4-B
          Seat no. 1

          Nice picture! Chie looks awesome in it, and that Pocky image sounds hilarious as well.

          I am so excited for the new Persona games!! Sadly I do not have a PS3 (I keep my fingers crossed that the Persona 4 Arena games get ported to Vita like Blazblue) but I will definitely be picking up the games for the other systems. One day I will play the PS3 games… either through Gaikai or by bothering someone enough that they let me borrow their PS3 hahaha.

          Reply

          • Tao
            Transfer Student
            Class 4-B
            Valid from: 12/03/2013 at 1:05 am

            Yeah I have a xbox 360, a ps2, 3DS, and vita. I would really like to see more atlus games on vita since both Devil Survivor and SMT4 just look okay in terms of demon design and the sound quality was a little lacking. Persona 5 hopefully will come to vita and also Persona 5 ‘s music is being made shoji megoru and Skrillex?

            Reply

          • Student Council
            会長 | Class 4-B
            Seat no. 1
            Valid from: 12/03/2013 at 1:36 am

            I actually just got a 3DS a few days ago (it has been a while since I have paid attention to Nintendo, which is actually the topic of my next post to take a break from posting personal entries) so I am interested to see what some of the mainline SMT games are like and of course Persona Q when it comes out. Maybe you should add me on the 3DS and Vita!

            I actually heard about that rumor about Persona 5’s music too. I honestly have no idea… I’d like to see what the Persona 5 atmosphere is like first then imagine the musical style. I’m pretty sure it’ll be great though.

            Reply

          • Tao
            Transfer Student
            Class 4-B

            Alright friend request sent via vita and 3DS friend code added. Shoji Meguro is basically the music god of persona and his directing (Persona 1 and 2) amplifies his awesomeness. Don’t forget about Persona 4 Dancing all night coming to vita

            Reply

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Hi there! Are you the new transfer student? You should probably register at the faculty office first so you can get an ID. Maybe we'll be in the same class!