It's been really weird transitioning from a college sophomore into a PY1, from undergraduate to professional school student, from Texas to North Carolina, from UT to UNC. Admittedly, I am still learning a lot about UNC and still have no idea where half of the buildings on campus are, but as a pharmacy school student, there's really never a reason to venture outside of the following three places: the pharmacy school itself (which consists of two buildings), the Health Science Library (and even then it's iffy because the pharm school has free coffee and printing, which are the only two reasons I ever go to the library), and the Beach for days where I forget lunch.
It's strange looking outside in the morning and seeing fog. It's even stranger driving around and seeing such tall trees. I love it here though; it's so pretty in the fall. The campus is absolutely stunning, and getting to walk around Duke University is a rare privilege that I never thought I'd ever be able to casually receive. (As a Tar Heel, I know I shouldn't say that because Dook sucks, but honesty, they have a gorgeous campus that somewhat resembles Disney World, in my opinion.)
Professional school is so different from undergraduate too. I have friends who ask me every so often how pharmacy school is different, and I try to look for words to explain and realize... there's just so much. I don't want to start rambling, so generally, I just tell them that the students are older and that there is much more self-discipline involved, both of which are very true.
It's not necessarily... more competitive here. Or maybe it is. But it's hard to explain how. Every classmate I have met here wants residency, and so they're going all out for high GPA, different professional fraternities, a hospital job at Duke or UNC, etc. At the same time though, we're like a huge family - everybody's looking out for each other, we're all helping each other any way we can, and I really like that vibe. I haven't came across a single person who seems manipulative or stingy. I guess everyone just has really high standards for themselves, which is suitable for a person like me, because I've always been that way too, and so I really love feeling like a part of a group of extremely motivated people. Nobody deters me from going over and beyond the requirement, and I'm always busy, which is nice.
In the past, nobody has ever explicitly said it, but people like A and L would look at me like I was crazy for wanting to take on more projects and they often said things that made me feel as if I was "trying" too hard. Like, "oh, well if you wanna be an overachiever..." or "what's the point of ____?" For instance, when I was a preceptor for Microbio or when I was taking up a professor's offer to get coffee together.
Anyway, it's going to be a little lonely for the rest of the week because everybody's going home for Thanksgiving break and I decided not to. Now that I've seen my apartment parking lot, I'm wondering if I made the wrong decision, but then I tell myself there's a lot I need to work on, and hopping on the plane for a total of 8 hours (not to mention layover and travel time) and spending hundreds of dollars for plane tickets wouldn't be worth it. I can't work very well at home, with my family around anyway. I'm telling myself we have all of winter break to catch up, and so that's one thing to look forward to get through next week.
Then volunteering at Durham Rescue Mission with my pledge brothers: