Back!

May 25, 2014

Hi guys,

Back in the US again after a fabulous 3.5-week vacation where I had a wonderful time relaxing and unplugging from everything technological. It’s a great relief to not be tied to a smart phone and to have the option of turning on a laptop and checking email/facebook weekly rather than hourly.

I had a small interruption during my second week of vacation. My residency program has thoughtfully arranged all of the paperwork which is due, into waves. The second wave of documents was due on a Wednesday; believe it or not, I was so unplugged that I had forgotten about this due date, thinking that I had at least another week. I just happened to check my email on Tuesday morning and received a reminder email that I hadn’t submitted any of the documents due on Wednesday, asking me to kindly get my act together. This was not a pleasant wave of documents to complete: certificates of completion for a bunch of dry, boring, repetitive modules which took almost a full day to finish. I paced myself, took breaks intermittently to enjoy the palm trees and the breeze, then rejoiced with a frosty beverage when I had uploaded the last document Tuesday evening. All-in-all, not a bad way to complete required education.

I’m still numb to the fact that I’m officially graduated from medical school. I got a lovely email on the 16th of May letting me know that I had officially graduated, congratulating me. It contained a pdf of my diploma (I could ask that the original be mailed or pick it up at the formal graduation) and copies of my clinical evaluations. I guess I’ve been turned into such a skeptic that I was expecting something to happen last-minute to prevent me from graduating. It’s not that I didn’t want to graduate but one of my elective rotations had been dragging its feet getting my evaluation in, then too, I kept getting all these bills for additional elective costs from the school which threatened that if I didn’t pay them before the 16th, I would not be allowed to graduate. It’s been strange coming home and having people call me Dr.

The formal graduation is May 31 up in Massachusetts. I was excited to come back home and try on my regalia–it and my announcements had arrived while I was gone. It’s been an interesting progression: graduating from a residential STEM high school was a big deal with medals and honor cords and collars, then graduation from UNC was pretty basic–just Carolina blue cap and gown, but now everything’s fancy again with a funky hat (a “tam”), a stripey burgundy hood that’s super long, and then this billowy black gown with these green velvety stripes on the arms. It’s comfy but it feels like Halloween. I remember sitting in the orchestra playing at the high school graduation before mine, watching the faculty walk in–most of them were PhD’s or at least had master’s degrees so there were many hoods of various colors, lots of funky hats, gowns of strange colors. I was fascinated and hoped that one day I would get to look like them. Can’t believe the day has finally come.

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