What Came Before – Part 1

How do you start these things anyways?
– I don’t know, you just do I guess?
– How do you start them?
– Uhhh… I don’t, that’s why you never see me finish.

Starting something is really hard, ending something is even harder. Just this past Monday, I finished my last paper for my final year in university. I don’t think that it’s officially the end yet as even today I had to write a few reports to hand in and tomorrow I’ll be going to RIPAS to meet with an course supervisor because I wasn’t able to hand in a set of papers and I think I have to redo them. But regardless of all these things, I felt that in some ways this was the end of my three years here in the Institute of Medicine. For me, it ended with a bittersweet feeling as I walked out of the exam hall and I thought to myself “I hope that I don’t have to come back here again” and I didn’t even look back at my course mates of three years. I didn’t want to look back because a part of me hated being there, I didn’t feel like I fit in and many times I felt like it was so over my head everything that was going on. I didn’t hate my course mates and it’s unfair of me to say that they represented the course itself but I didn’t feel connected to them at all. 3 years and you think that you would grow such a bond between people but it’s the case for me.

The past 3 years were some of the darkest times of my life and I can’t blame it all on the course but it wasn’t a place where it made my life any better as well. It lead me to become someone who wanted to be more independent and to do my own things especially in the last few months where the realization that I might not be able to complete this course that at that time my spirit was already waning about it. In some ways, I felt that it was my escape route. It was my way to get out of this hole that I’ve dug for myself and wasn’t going anywhere. But how do you get out of a course ending in only a few more month? You don’t and that’s where the rub is. In my mind, I’ve already checked myself out of the hotel room but I’ve already paid for the stay. This isn’t really a good metaphor because a hotel room is nice but this is work and tough work at that.

So the last months of my course has already been set, I couldn’t get out. But it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t already out of it in some ways. There was no motivation left to study, I was just an empty shell as I tried to wake up everyday and go to classes. Many times I missed classes as I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to wake up on time, I would even skip some of the classes where I didn’t feel interest me. It’s not a great idea to do that, especially in a course like medicine where every morsel of information has to be gleamed from the minds of these doctors and had to rely on our own resourcefulness to acquire the relevant information to pass our exams and I wasn’t exactly in the right place to do that.

As time ticked away closer and closer to my exams, my excitement building to that freedom to finally pursue other interests but also the fear that I could potentially fail my exams because I haven’t been to classes much and I wasn’t in the right mind at all to perform. I was torn between what’s new but I was held back by my past. I couldn’t let go of either but the new was winning more and more as the days drew nearer and nearer and I struggled with keeping my mind in the present especially because I had a lot in it. I had ideas for what I wanted to do with my future, thoughts about someone that I liked, it was distracting but thankfully that I was able to unload some of these thoughts by talking about it and focus more on my exams.

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