“Today, I held a human brain.”
That was how I started the conversation. Not with hello. Not with any of the standard greetings with which I am well acquainted. It was as though the experience of which I spoke rendered me mannerless. And she responded: “how did you feel about it?” This particular friend has an habit of responding to statements with either (1) “oh, how was that?” or (2) “how did you feel about that?” For some reason, I could never predict when she would ask either of those questions; I never had an eloquent response prepared.
“Oh.”I sat cross-legged on the floor of my apartment; I had a copy of Netter’s Atlas opened to the colorful sketches of the brain. There was really no comparison between the color-coded brain in the atlas and the brain I was able to study in the anatomy lab. “I…I don’t know. There was the initial shock factor which was soon followed by awe and humility. In that moment, I was holding the cadaver-donor’s personhood. In a way, it felt really personal.” In previous posts, I made half-promises to: (1) comment on my experience in anatomy, (2) address resources I used to survive the course, as well as (3) resources for the shelf exam. I think I may cover all of those aspects in upcoming posts but as I am on vacation / in a pensive mood, this post will serve primarily as a reflection.
I want to start by providing the entire quote: “Whenever we think we know the future, even for a second, it changes. Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely. And we’re left only with the choice of what to do next. We can choose to be afraid of it, to stand there, trembling, not moving, assuming the worst that can happen. Or we step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.” ― Christina Yang (hands down: best character from Grey’s Anatomy).
I am currently in a state of recovery. Those of you who watch Grey’s Anatomy know what I mean; Christina Yang left Seattle Grace, her person (Meredith), and the love of her life in an effort to advance her career at a developing medical research center in Switzerland. As an individual who loves Christina’s character (I respect her charisma, her intellect, and her resolve), I was sad to see this character exit the scene only ten seasons after I became a fan. I do have to say, her exit was perfectly orchestrated and the quote, which inspired this post, stuck with me. The future is both nerve-wracking and exciting. Yesterday, I shared some of the reasons why I am beyond excited to be an MD/MPH candidate at Tulane School of Medicine. It would be unfair to claim that I never had reservations. I have thought of myself as the East Coast type, born in the right city (NYC) but raised in the wrong state (Louisiana). And so, I applied to many East Coast medical schools in addition to many Southern schools, in an attempt to be closer home. Then, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted and now, I have faith that the decision to be closer to home is the right one.