My Fail-safe

World War II Memorial

Word War II Memorial

A couple of weekends ago, I embarked on a spontaneous road trip to Washington DC. Having just completed 3 months of surgery, the surgery shelf, and my Step 2 CS, there were areas of my life that felt a little repressed from the iron heel of medicine. Escape doesn’t even begin to describe what I craved.  My friends were gracious enough to cancel their last-minute plans and take me on a tour of the sites. However, I often felt a little at odds when touring all of the war memorials. A waterfall, a statue, or  slab of stone erected in commemoration of an individual who long ago sacrificed their life for a cause doesn’t seem to do the sacrifice any justice. Of course, there’s no adequate repayment for anyone that gives up their life for a principle, but, all the same, it still feels a bit hollow.

Washington Memorial

Washington Monument seen from the Lincoln Memorial.

Upon walking through the World War II Memorial, we unknowingly approached a gathering to recognize the anniversary of D-Day, that fateful day where exactly 71 years ago, thousands of free men stormed the beaches of Normandy in a seemingly impossible mission to overtake the Nazis in the hopes of liberating Northern Europe. Perhaps being enshrouded in those stone pillars, ceremonial canopies, and golden stars signifying deaths in combat with those that survived the conflict fostered a deeper sense of appreciation and breathed life into the past, elucidating the magnitude of what it was that was being memorialized.

Even as I sauntered through history in Washington, I failed to recognize my own past. Five years ago at this time also marks a personal milestone for me: the start of this blog. With the myriad of photos I’ve taken and books I’ve read and posts I’ve written, this creative offspring of mine has far outgrown its purpose of simply documenting the trials of one person tackling graduate and medical school, but developed into an outlet and haven for reflection and expression. It’s been my fail-safe, something I’ve reverted back to in both times of indecision and uncertainty and moments of anticipation and exhilaration. Five years strong, I never really imagined I would ever have so much to share or revel in. Shah Blah Blah was supposed to be just for me, really, but in the end, it became the better version of me, perhaps grittier and far more eloquent than I could ever be in real-time.

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Forty-five days lie between me and my Step One Board Exam. The Step One. But is it really my first step? Is it only a step? It’s beginning to feel more like a hop, skip, and a jump. Of course, I’ve taken many steps, some towards open doorways, some towards closed ones, and some towards paths where I had to fashion my own door out of a neatly framed window. With all the endless locating and relocating I’ve done in the past couple years, I feel like life is just one giant terminal, and we’re all just perpetually loitering until our next lift. While we wait, we’re inclined look into the future, and somehow that makes our present tense a little more homely and agreeable. But if you’re not wary, the past can sneak up on you, like a closet crammed with all the things you no longer have room for in your day-to-day life, springing open and saturating you with memories and mementos.
My Alma Mater

My Alma Mater

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Cultural Vagabond

I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a city faster in my life than I did with Bangkok. The organized chaos mixed with the utterly tranquil, Southeast Asia, if my words can do any justice, is one gigantic kaleidoscope, satiating every single sense in your body. I traveled in fear of blinking my eyes for the off-chance that I may miss seeing or doing something that I may never get an opportunity to see or do ever again.  Sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever fall asleep again without the babel of Bangkok, the chatter of street vendors, the hustle of tuk-tuks, or the sweet lullaby of water taxis.

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Back in March I made the decision with a bunch of my friends to take a 2-week Thailand medical selective. SGU offers students the opportunity to glimpse into the healthcare systems of various locales around the globe from Sweden to Kenya to Thailand. At the end of my first year and quite possibly my final summer break, I wasn’t all too ecstatic about having to fill my mere 6 weeks of freedom with having to think about more medicine, but the chance to breathe new air and roam was gnawing at me. While my brain made light-year leaps over the course of the past year, my feet were thirsting to do the same. However, it took me a trip halfway around the world to even realize what lusting for the horizon really signified. Continue reading

Final Countdown!

Don’t even pretend like you didn’t just read the title of this post like some horrible Swedish band…but it’s true! It’s the Fi-nulll Countdown (cue Gob Bluth and his magic tricks from Arrested Development). I apologize for all the references ahead of time, but it is less than thirty days since I depart. And no, the irony that my countdown begins on Friday, the 13th is not lost upon me; I will just to have to forge through like everything else.

It seems a little weird to be going through the motions of becoming an ex-pat. Some tasks I could live without, mainly the foraging through the list “must-need” items and the “things-that-are-not-worth-carrying” items and others evoke excitement, like not having to worry about the below-freezing temperatures (except perhaps in the über-air-conditioned lecture halls). This routine of packing and moving isn’t ideal, but it’s something that I’m fast becoming adept at. This’ll be my sixth move in the last 3 years which comrpised of moving to and from an enclave of four different states and two countries. It almost feels thrilling, like the concept of a fugitive on the run from the law except my crime is wanting to become a doctor and my punishment, therein, is going to medical school.

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A Response

Trevor writes:

Palak,

I’ve been interviewed by SGU for medical school, but they haven’t gotten back to me to either accept or decline my application. Do you know if this is normal? Does SGU usually notify students very close to the June 15th deadline? What was your experience with this?

Secondly, I’ve been scouring the internet for inside information regarding SGU, and would love to have your input. Is there specific information you wish you had had when you arrived? Are there any idiosyncrasies I should be aware of if I am accepted to SGU? Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance to do them again at the school? I’m definitely going to review your blog, but and info or tips you could provide would be much appreciated!

Dear Trevor,

First and foremost, thanks for reading and taking the time to inquire and comment. Also, congratulations on your interview. To answer you’re first question, I’ve heard of plenty of students that have received their acceptance within one week of when the term begins. What happens is that as spots in the upcoming term become vacant or become filled, acceptances are granted accordingly. If the current amount of seats is at a maximum then all plausible candidates are asked to defer to the next term or wait until further positions become available. That being said, a lack of response isn’t equivalent to being denied so continue to hold out hope. Continue reading