Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Night, Weekend pre-Exam

Our first two exams menacingly loom over Monday morning.  I was managing just fine until this past Wednesday, when the lecturer piled 65 densely packed slides of intricate reaction mechanisms over 150 assigned pages of reading. Some of it was familiar; much was new minutiae. Ugh.

She repeated this distribution level both Thursday and today so I now have a mountain of new information to conquer before the weekend is out.

I'm in pretty good shape. I knew last week's material cold and have some familiarity with that of this week. I really feel for my classmates who don't have my chemistry background. They have a Herculean task. I think I'd rather steal the golden fleece, myself.

Anyway, I set up a study schedule and because I'm sacrificing my weekend to the (greater good?) of acing my first exams, I decided to treat myself to a pre-celebratory sushi dinner.

I walked down to the neighborhood sushi bar with my (amazing) Ipad full of notes and readings and snuggled into the banquette at a corner table overlooking the bustling bar.  Glass of wine in hand and saba sashimi on the way, I began to review ubiquitin modification in DNA repair. (awesome right? yawn.)

Losing myself in the notes, I didn't notice the couple next to me until the lady asked me what I was studying. I glanced down at my pad and then back to her smiling face and said. "Biology".

"Oh! Are you in nursing school?"

I smiled at her (I get that question a lot). I'm sometimes embarrassed to reveal that I'm in medical school; I don't want to EVER seem to be boasting and it's the type of confession that provokes preconceptions. Nonetheless...

"Medical. I'm at BCMS." (inner grin-thrilled at the self-reminder)

Gasp. Pause. Blurt.

"I've never seen a chubby med student before!" I could tell by her face, she was mortified at what slipped out.  I couldn't help my sharp shocked bark of laughter. Sometimes people just say the most awesome things.

"Oh. They make rare exceptions for really brilliant applicants." This was one of those rare times when my witty comeback didn't wait to 'come back' several hours after the fact.  Hee. She and her friend quickly settled their bill and I ordered a second glass of wine and some edamame.

I'm so glad I did! The next resident of the table turned out to be an adorable late seventies gentleman in a straw boater with a pale blue ribbon. He was unfamiliar with sushi but looking to be adventurous. We chatted; I gave him my recommendations and he told me about trying new things since his wife died.  I 'wasted' an hour of study time (totally worth it) meeting the character I hope I become when I grow up.

We left at the same time, hugged outside the restaurant and I turned to watch him stroll away, dapper with cane in hand.



  1. What the heck is wrong with people? She seriously said that? Since when is "chubby" a barrier to being a doctor? Gah. Just.....gah....

    Love your story of the dapper older man. Life is really richer for the small moments like that one.

  2.! I'm still trying to pick my lower jaw up. I cannot believe she said that!

    BOOM! on the witty comeback though. Good luck for the first set of exams.

  3. She said WHAT? I have a word for her, but I shall not use it. I just got my first pile of notes and was wondering about a location to take them and study-good to know there are other people studying at restaurants and such! Good luck on your first exam!

    The story about the older man made me smile.

  4. Good luck on the exams!! I love it when you think of a witty comeback just in time.

  5. Excellent comeback. Good luck on your exams from another another chubby med student! :)

  6. SD- I know, right? Some people can be so very superficial. It just makes those small dear interactions, like the one with my dapper old man, more clear.

    shoes- my jaw still throbs from hitting that hard tile floor!

    dolce- I've always been a restaurant/coffee shop studier. I love having dynamic background noise that falls short of distraction. If I study on campus or around people I know, I get interested in what they're interested in. But being at home, surrounded by my stuff (ahem: books, computer) I get distracted by what I'M interested in.

    Ann, Kathleen - thanks for the luck!

    Kathleen- Cheers to the chubby med students!