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Pre-med devotee adjusts to life after organic chemistry
This summer was the worst of my life. No one I know died, I didn’t contract the Black Death, and America kicked ass at the Olympics, but something far worse happened to me. To finish my pre-med courses, I had to take organic chemistry.
You hear about a lot about orgo as a pre-med kid. I, for one, came to dread it. After listening to horrifying stories from my older friends, I thought taking orgo would lead directly to my imminent death and reincarnation as a zombie. Weeks passed, though, and I came to terms with the fact that it was just a class. Not too scary, not too nice; it was just normal.
Something else started to prey on my mind, and it downright terrifies me. Since the moment I stepped onto campus my first year, I’ve identified as pre-med. Science is my thing, and the nerdiness just called to me. It was one of the first ways I felt a part of something my freshman year, and I love it.
Pre-med is a club where high school is turned on its head. Being way into classes is cool, playing with deadly bacteria is mandatory, and making alcohol in lab is par for the course. It doesn’t get much better than that, but that all came to an end this summer.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m absolutely ecstatic that I survived the entire pre-med course load. No more frustration at physics late at night before a 5 a.m. deadline, no more hydrochloric acid eating holes in my clothes, and no more giant intro classes in Reiss 103. By any objective standard, my life looks set to drastically improve. Yet, heading into this semester I feel like something important is missing.
I’ve always thought of pre-med as my crutch through these past two years. I’ve used it as a trump card for “who had the most work,” as an excuse for being tired, or even for why I didn’t feel like wearing anything other than sweats that one week during midterms. But more than just as a diversionary tactic for other responsibilities, being pre-med was the best way I made friends.
There’s nothing like going through a science-tinged hell together to make friendships, and being pre-med was how I settled into Georgetown at the onset of my freshman year. I transitioned from a nervous, nerdy high school student to a still-nerdy but newly confident, pre-med science major over the course of far too many late nights studying in Lau alongside my friends, disastrous labs, and early morning lectures.
Of course, very few people feel that way about their classes. Like I said, I’m a little nerdy. I think that the premise is the same for every kid who’s new to college, though. Some people ease into college life in NSO, make all their friends in the first five minutes, and are set, the lucky bastards. I was a little shy, a little out of my element, a little lost in a swirl of almost 1,800 new students. All it takes is finding a group of people who like what you like, are interested in what makes you tick, and friendships will just happen.
I’m halfway through college, but I feel like it’s NSO all over again. I’m sailing alone into uncharted waters, but I’m more excited than nervously terrified. I’m sure that in my next two years here, there will be a plethora of late nights in Lau, that’s just a fact of being a student. But I’m also looking forward to find out what exists in a world outside of pre-med.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to run away from my nerdiness, far from it. I’m going to spend my next two years on the Hilltop bringing that nerdiness to everything I do. I think that the camaraderie of being pre-med is something that should be experienced by more than just the denizens of Blommer Science Library.
While I might secretly register for science classes I don’t necessarily need to take, just to reminisce about that pre-med crutch, I’ve come to terms with letting go of at least part of my pre-med identity. Let’s be honest, it’s about damn time I left the library and got a social life.