Recharging my batteries

It's Sunday night at 9 pm and it's the first time I've opened my laptop all weekend.

While that statement might give some a heart attack because it means I haven't studied all weekend, I sorely needed these couple days to relax and recharge before getting ready to hit the books nonstop for the next couple weeks. Last week was one of the most stressful in recent memory, and there's nothing like going home, seeing all my closest friends and family again, and getting out of Baltimore for a while to re-energize and revitalize my spirits again.

First off, remember that exam I was studying for last weekend? It was horrible. I won't bore you with the details, but everyone that I talked to felt like it was one of the hardest tests we've ever taken in medical school, and our class average dropped about 10%. I didn't do as well as I wanted, but I feel like that pretty much after every exam. I think I finally need to let go of those days when I could study two or three days before and ace a test because the bar is set so much higher. It's a sobering fact and only something that I'm starting to accept after a year, but I think it's essential so I don't get depressed after every exam. Coming to terms with medical school is a work in progress so check back with me later, but what else was there to do but move on? After a fun Monday night at the bar where everyone wanted to forget about the day's test, we still had to get through the rest of the week. Tuesday was spent hanging out with an old college buddy who came up for a surprise visit and having an impromptu reunion with my favorite London boys. I don't usually like surprises, but this was the best kind! Then it got serious the rest of the week: I sacrificed a few precious days not studying to finish writing my final research paper and then gave a 15 minute oral presentation in front of 3 judges for Medical Student Research Day on Thursday. I didn't win anything, but it was good practice presenting a scientific project. Between research and starting ICM (my clinical class where we learn how to actually see patients; this year it's at the VA, the Veteran's hospital) this week, I barely had any time to learn any of the new material (mycology), which stressed me out even more. I know, even not studying (falling behind) stresses me out, but at least it's only the beginning of the new unit and we have 3 weeks to catch up. But it's also a double edged sword because it means we have an extra week's worth of material we have to hoard in our brains before we regurgitate it for the test (we usually only have 3 weeks of material, but this time we have 4 for mycology, bacteriology, and parasitology, infamous for being the hardest course in med school). Ahhhh. And so the cycle of stress starts again.

Nonetheless, I took a much needed break this weekend by going home, hanging out with my parents and sister, getting a mani-pedi, and catching up with close friends both in MoCo and in DC. It's amazing how hanging out with your friends makes you feel good again. I came back from meeting up with a friend in Rockville feeling so refreshed and recharged, like I could handle life again after talking with her! I sorely miss that in Baltimore. At school, I feel like I rarely talk about anything other than school with my friends and it's hard to form a deeper connection with people when you're all just focused on getting through the day and studying. Even though I love having 160 people in my class who understand what I'm going through and who are on the exact same schedule as me, I sometimes feel like I'm alone in having to cope with it. Reconnecting with some of my old friends from high school, college, home, whatever, makes me realize how important it is to have a support system outside of medical school who will remind you that there's actually life outside of med school! I think I had forgotten that a little in my day-to-day grind in Baltimore, which was why this week of getting out of the city and catching up with old friends was so welcome (even at the expense of my studying. In fact, I think that should be the point.) I told my friend who surprised me on Tuesday that am I going to remember any single night of studying? No. I'm going to remember going out having a good time on a Tuesday night in Baltimore. Even though I might not get the best grades out of my school friends, I feel like there are other things that are more important in life and I'm not going to apologize for that.

I feel like my posts have been very serious/philosophical of late. As you can see, my blog is pretty personal and as you all know, I'm an (sometimes brutally) honest person, and this is is how I really feel, so why pretend otherwise? I promise I'll post more light-hearted recipes and pictures in the future, especially since it's about to be OCTOBER! Which means it's time for pumpkin season, candles, sweaters, boots, and Halloween so soon. In the meantime, here are some pics of what I've been doing recently.
 Cauliflower crust pizza in my new cast iron skillet. It tasted good, but I still have to perfect that cauliflower crust. Yes, I'm still on my diet. 
 Assembling my zucchini lasagna (again). This time with goat cheese and spinach. 
 Ta-da! Couldn't resist sneaking a piece before the pic. 
 Matcha green smoothie! A delish post-work out drink/lunch. Combine 1 small frozen banana (this gives it the creaminess and smoothie texture. Before I discovered this trick, my smoothies would always taste really icy), 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 bunch washed kale, and 1 tsp matcha green tea powder for a delicious and low cal, high protein green smoothie. 
 Matching leather jackets and boots for fall. 
 Stang of Siam, a cute little Thai place we went to to celebrate some friends' birthdays. 
Some of my favorites in DC! On the roofdeck of this new British bar on U. St. called Brixton. 
An idyllic DC street right across from my friend's new place

Next up, a family friend's wedding this weekend! So excited for the wedding (first one I'm attending), not excited for the 5 hours of studying in the car on the way there and back. 


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