Mile 22

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Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for running. Early on in my running career, I realized I was not always the fastest, but I did learn that I had a well-established base of endurance that allowed me to run for miles and miles. During my senior year of college, I decided that it was finally time to run a marathon. For five months, I awoke early on cold, Tennessee mornings for long, training runs. After months of training, my friends and I made our way out to the starting line at 6:30 in the morning in the pouring rain of Atlanta, Georgia. The elements were not at all cooperating, but nevertheless, we were determined to run the race that we had been preparing for despite being completely soaked in water and sweat. Somewhere along the way, my friends and I got separated by our different paces and I found myself running alone. I remember getting to the twenty-two mile marker and feeling completely and utterly exhausted. My shoes and clothes were soaked, my muscles were screaming for a break, and my optimistic outlook was beginning to wane as the miles droned on and on. To say the least, mile twenty-two was filled with a lot of doubt in my training and feelings as if the finish line would never come. It was also in mile twenty-two that I met a fellow marathoner who was feeling about the same way. We began commiserating about the experience and we encouraged each other to keep running. When we saw the sign for mile twenty-three, it was as if a second-wind hit and we knew that the end was just a little ways away. Before we knew it, we crossed the finish line with the greatest sense of accomplishment.

In many ways, second year of medical school has brought up so many parallels to the experience of training for and running a marathon. I awake before the sun has come up to study for a few hours before campus becomes abuzz with activity. Each day I sit down to answer a block of at forty UWorld questions as I try to train my mind to the discipline of focusing and answering questions well for such a long duration of time. I now find myself at what feels like mile twenty-two of the marathon. My mind is tired, the to-study list seems to be ever-growing, the sleep and exercise seem to be decreasing, but I have to keep pushing forward one day at a time. Similar to my marathon race, I find myself surrounded by classmates who are experiencing the exact same situation. Although we each feel discouraged, exhausted, and stressed, I am daily amazed to see what endurance, abilities, and passion each of my classmates possesses that causes them to give this medical school life their absolute best day after day. We encourage each other daily, we laugh and cry together in the misery, and ultimately we will soon round the corner of USMLE Step 1 and be third-year medical students. Oh how I cannot wait to cross the finish line!