Tag Archives: medical school

there are so many ways to fail and so many ways to succeed

i hate mapquest.  i loathe it.  sure, it gets me where i’m supposed to go but its projections of how long it will take me are wildly optimistic and seem to include some wormholes in the spacetime continuum (exit 49a off  1-70 take a soft right into the previous hour and out fifty miles ahead of yourself).  i headed out of chicago at seven thirty a.m. aiming for columbus, ohio.  it was going to take me a mere five and a half hours.  it was the second time this year that i’ve been on this road to see f2fb friend #157 todd stiles.

i had recently been stung by some comments from a facebook friend who said roughly the following “i’ve talked to some of our mutual facebook friends who say your project annoys them and they will not see you this year”  i don’t see these mutual friends all that often and one of the side effects of this new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends is that i’m getting to know people i call friends a little better.  i respect boundaries.  if someone doesn’t want to make a video, sure.  if someone says i just want to get together with friends but i don’t want you to blog about it, okay (see friend #88).  if someone cancels and reschedules, sure. 

and that last had been the case with todd–

todd is in medical school and has faced many obstacles, not the least of which was everybody telling him “you look too exhausted to take the exam” on the morning i was last supposed to see him, for an exam that was critical to his success.  so he ended up cancelling the exam.  it’s set him back a bit but he is someone who just can’t quit.  he’s just stubborn enough, just ornery enough, just positive enough–i think we should all start calling him dr. todd now because it’s just a matter of time.  specifically a year, i believe, before he will graduate.

he is the first in his immediate family to graduate from college and the only one in his extended family to try medical school.  and medical school has dragged him from ohio to antigua, and from working at a pharmaceutical warehouse to get tuition money to long nights reviewing textbooks and lecture notes. 

we went to the short north neighborhood of columbus and whiled away a few hours while we caught up.  we had known each other when he was studying in chicago and then drifted apart when he moved first to champaign, then to ohio, and then to antiqua and back to ohio.  we realized we have a lot of the same issues with anxiety and self-doubt. 

todd was so sweet–when it came time for me to say goodbye, he pulled out of his backpack a printout of instructions on how to get to oberlin, ohio.  “you’ll be fine once you get on warren street,”  he said.  he overestimated.  i drove around for about a half hour before i found i-71 north and moved north into a thunderstorm.  the clouds did not lift me up and deposit me gently into oberlin but rather, slowed my progress.

todd and i in front of a mural of american gothic on north high street


so part of the reason i missed the ramp to the interstate was that i was crying–dr. todd told me that even if i run into obstacles, even if i run up against negativity, even if i run up against outright failure, just pick up, dust yourself off, and get back on the highway to success.  in my case, it requires a few illegal u-turns on columbus streets, but i’m aiming to oberlin and beyond. . . .