For the past few years, I’ve been hearing how each summer would be my last real summer. This year seemed especially true since next year will be Step 1 (boards) time and from then on our schedule will be ruled by the hospital. In the words of a friend of mine who just took boards, the summer after 1st year is when I should be sure to “live life like there’s no tomorrow!” Carpe diem, er, YOLO? I know, it has become quite cliche and annoying but when you come to a situation where you are contemplating whether or not to actual do something out of the ordinary, it can give you the extra little push off the edge, if you know what I mean.
So, how did I spend the “last summer of my life?” Well, I decided to do summer research at LLU! I worked in the radiobiology lab where we looked at mice brains, analyzing the effect of rmTBI (repeated mild traumatic brain injury) on brain tissue (white and grey mater). Yes, it was tedious at times, staring at a computer screen and drawing boxes and lines on brain pictures. But overall, I had a good time meeting new people and exposing myself to the world of research. It was my first research experience and I gained a new appreciation for all the work that researchers do. To me, it is like a blind mouse trying to sniff its way to the block of cheese. Sometimes, there will be mouse traps along the way. Or even worse, there may be crumbs sprinkled along the wrong path. You spend weeks and months, even years following the possibility that your hunch might be correct. Medical school comparatively seems so much easier! At least you know that, to a certain extent, the amount you study will correlate with your performance. The finish line is somewhat in sight and you have the means to an end.
The summer research program comes with a stipend (an added bonus) and since it’s 8 weeks long, I had 2 weeks of real summer. I decided to spend it 13 hours away, in Taiwan! I met up with a classmate and definitely had the time of my life. It was nice staying in only one country for 2 weeks instead of hopping around every other day (i.e. EuroTrip). By spending so much time in one area, you get to truly “immerse” yourself in the culture. If you love food, nature, hiking, and night life, I HIGHLY recommend Taiwan. Most if the time I was in the big city of Taipei, but there is much more to see in Taiwan and it is one of the places I will have to visit again. It is the birthplace of Boba milk tea and shaved ice. Taiwan has everything from natural sulfur hot springs, beautiful mountains and lakes, and tall skyscrapers (Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world a few years ago). The subway system is the most convenient one I have ever used and everything is so cheap! I could write endlessly about how awesome Taiwan is, but I will spare you the pain of watery eyes and I’ll show you some pictures instead.
Second year starts in less than a week…OH MY GOSH, school starts in 1 week?!?!? I will certainly miss waking up late, blasting “One Direction,” road trips up and down the west coast, dusting off my cello, etc. But this is the last exclusively academic year of my life and I am ready to take on the challenges of second year. With a schedule that consists of Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Pathology, Neuroscience, Psychobiology, I am bracing myself for a tumultuous 10 months. Here goes nothing!