The past six weeks have been an eye-opening experience for me. Moving to a new place and adapting while also trying to keep up academically and socially can be a very challenging experience. I have never seen myself doing a masters program before heading to medical school, but now that I'm here at Duke, I know how prepared I will be for medical school and beyond. This is my seventh week living in Durham and I am still missing home (New York City). I’m missing my family, my old lifestyle, and in particular the NYC subway since I don’t drive here and basically, you can’t get around here if you don’t have a car. However, having a roommate, a classmate, a friend and someone to talk to has been very helpful.
I had a lot of expectations coming to Duke. However, one of the things I was not expecting was having to read eight chapters of my Emergency Technician textbook and completing assignments the weekend before the first day of class. My first week of class was not the best. Moving to Durham two days before orientation and trying to settle in was a big mistake. If I have to do this over again, I would probably have moved here ten days before classes started to allow myself the time to settle in and get to know around me. One thing I like about being here though is that people have a genuine interest in you. That is definitely something I was not used to in New York. Because of the Duke Master of Biomedical Science (MBS) program’s emphasis on team based learning, I was able to meet and get to know at least half of my classmates by the end of our two-day orientation. That also allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and go to Shooters II (Duke student’s favorite salon night club), a place I wouldn’t naturally go (LOL).
One of the reasons I chose to spend my gap year doing a masters program was self-growth. I have been getting a lot of biomedical knowledge since I’ve been here, but I am also growing as a person. One of the things I have learned since being here has been that being the loudest in the room does not necessarily make you the strongest. Being humble and acknowledging when you do not know things or when you make mistakes, make you the strongest. I’m not necessarily saying that being quiet makes you the strongest, but it also doesn’t make you the weakest. Everything is a balance, and sometimes it is more about being able to understand the level of perception of others. Another thing I have learned in my previous life that still applies to my new professional life is not to takes thing personally. Taking things personally is a sign of low self-esteem. When you take things personally, you might be sensitive to the words or actions of others, or you negatively interpret things. Perhaps someone says something which you take as an insult or you assume a person doesn’t like you if they walk past without saying hello. Taking things personally may cause you to feel inadequate, ashamed, or even angry at yourself or the other person. It’s disempowering and can worsen your self-esteem. However, you can build your self-esteem when you stop taking things personally.
I’m trying to make the best out of this experience, making new friends, growing as a person, and be where I need to be career wise. Another reason I’m here is that I just don’t want to become an orthopedic surgeon, I want to be a good one. I have learned that great things take time, so I’m trying to get the most I can from being here in Durham. I’m also trying to keep up with creating new good content which actually takes time (something I don’t have right now), but I'm trying… Stay connected!