As the year is coming to a close, it would be great to be able to say that this blog post is meant to provide closure and a space for reflection for both myself and anyone who may be inspired from reading this post.
However, the truth is that I have a pretty poor episodic memory, for which I usually say that it’s just because I am focused on the future and not fixated on the past. Having said that, I am super thankful for the invention of photographs and videos, because I would not remember much without their prompting. And this is why, inspired by my dear friend, here is one personal highlight from each month in 2011, complete with photos and videos! Creating this post is more for my benefit than anyone else’s, as I otherwise would not remember what happened this year =P. I actually had to look at my Google Calendar to remember what I did each month (thank goodness for that invention as well!).
January was the first time I was back on the stage acting and singing in five years, and it was more than I could have asked for. Amazing cast and crew, a phenomenal and thought-provoking production of Kiss of the Spider Woman, and I learned more about acting and the art of being part of an ensemble than I ever had the privilege of learning before.
A photo from rehearsal! =)
February was a busy month with med-related gatherings of great friends, including parties (the biggest one of which was the annual Internos with all four med years attending), the first of many meetings planning the annual Med/Dent talent show, and the start of rehearsals with my amazing bandmates in our med school rock band: the Superior Retention Band.
March was mostly Unit 5, which was the musculoskeletal system, so it was anatomy-intensive in a very short amount of time (along with more extra-unit assignments than usual), so I think I was actually studying and working on school for most of it…but I made it through, so I’m going to say it was worth it! =)
In April, four of my Pennsylvania family members traveled quite a bit, leaving their lives behind momentarily just so we could all spend a weekend together. Great news was shared and I think we had a pretty awesome time together, but that’s pretty standard fare =).
The 2011 McGill Med/Dent Talent Show happened and I believe we raised $10,000 for Starlight. It was so much fun organizing this event with incredibly talented and dedicated human beings who I have the added privilege of calling my friends, and the result was that we had fun making skits, singing songs, and creating a pretty spectacular event together while raising money for a good cause.
Below is our band performing for the talent show, as well as one of the skits in full!
The first year of med school ended with June, and it was personally the most significant month of the year for me for a variety of reasons. I think the beginning of summer, the end of school, and my birth month meant that great changes and personal growth were inevitable, not to mention I saw quite a few out-of-town friends! =)
This was the month that two of my favourite people came to town and showed me the beauty of my own city, and I’m so thankful to have been included in their awesome adventure.
In August, I started a new job promoting mental health awareness at McGill, and the staff and volunteers that I’ve had the honour of working with are passionate, intelligent, and people that I could spend hours talking to on any given day, because we are driven by similar interests and passions in health promotion and prevention. Creating the Zenity Squad this year for mental health promotions with this team of stellar individuals was, to me, the first step in realizing the career that I hope to carve out for myself.
We had our white coat ceremony in September, so we can be official med students in the hospitals starting in January. I didn’t think it was a big deal at first, but eventually I realized the symbolism of the coat: the fact that many patients may not know the difference between our white coats and those of residents and attendings, and more importantly, the coat is about accepting the responsibility of taking the health of others into our hands. The trust that others place on us and thus, the power that we have and need to respect. Turns out it is kind of a big deal.
My October was all about a little musical production called Into the Woods, and oh, the stories I could tell you about this show! It was indeed a magical production, full of drama in the creative process itself, but coming to a fairytale conclusion. I learned so much from this team, and I think the experience will shape my performances as an actor and singer forever.
I also have to mention how much I appreciate all of my colleagues and friends in and out of med school who came to see the show. It means the world to me and I hope/think they enjoyed it!
Below is our cast photo, along with one of the promo videos we did for the show. Nothing but fond memories =).
TEDxMcGill happened in November, and organizing this event connected me with such inspirational and passionate human beings, and I’m proud of the event we created together.
Here’s one of my favourite talks, where he redefined success in the course of his own talk that afternoon, when he pulled himself out of what he thought was a bad start, and managed to bring the event home in the end.
My big December trip is now ending, and this month, I have been blessed with the company of beautiful friends and family (inside and out), as well as time for personal reflection in places that I got to explore. I feel loved and ready for the next step in my medical education, and there is nothing more that I could ask for from a vacation.
I think reflecting on the past, at least for me, helps me realize that I have been actively living this year. That as someone who focuses so much on the future, I need to stop and appreciate all of the amazing things I had the privilege of being part of and I had the power of making happen this year.
It’s not always about bigger and better things, moving onwards and upwards, but looking down every once in a while and admiring the fact that we’ve climbed up pretty high; we’ve come quite a ways up, and we’re exactly where we’re meant to be at this moment.
Here’s to 2012 – to looking back with fondness and without regret, to the excitement and anxiousness of the yet unseen, and to the present, oh, the present.