Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Mysteriousness

Me in Houston, attending the 2008 AMSA National Convention and visiting Laura!

While I don’t get into March Madness as much as some folks around here, I do find March to be a mysterious month in many ways. Firstly, it is mysterious because of the weather. The old adage of “in like a lion, out like a lamb” could not be less true here. I might change it to be “in like bipolar mood disorder, and out like borderline personality disorder.” When March begins, we’ve already been suffering from long periods of cold depression. We can still remember when it was summer and we were happy and sunny, and fall, when we were manically joyful because of the beautiful colors, but it’s been a while since we actually saw the sun. March promises the beginning of spring in many places, and we can’t help but be bolstered by the false hope that here too, spring will begin. Instead, the weather transforms into an impossible to predict, one-day-warm-two-days-cold-one-day-of-rain-three-inches-of-snow disaster. It fluctuates between beautiful and terrible so quickly that you almost don’t remember how it happens. This is clearly mystery number one.

Mystery number two is how quickly the semester passes in March. The first week is often taken up by Spring Break, which marks somewhat of a midterm point for winter term coursework. This always comes somewhat by surprise, and the week of vacation serves to throw it off further. This year I went to Portland to visit Ash, which was the most fantastic break ever. We ate lots of vegan food, rode bikes, walked around, went to knit shops, and in general had a fantastic time. I’ve posted a picture or two below. Despite this fabulous, deadlines seem exponentially closer after break (though the calendar insists that time and dates are, in fact, quite linear). It takes a few days to get back into the swing of things, and then, poof, there are only a few days of March left and only a few weeks left of the semester.

The third mystery is the number of exciting events that always seem to take place in March. In the context of the medical school, I suspect that this is planned. You see, the second years disappear into board studying at the end of March, so anything interesting needs to be done by then if they are to participate in any form. This means that it is a perfect time for the Galen’s Smoker. (See below for a lovely picture of me using a bag of batting to create a makeshift empathy belly.) This year’s show, “Billy Medicine” was based on the movie “Billy Madison,” and was one of the best shows ever, according to most credible sources. I was a dancer, and had several walk-on/no-lines bit parts. It was wonderful.

In addition to the Smoker, the AMSA National Convention always occurs in March. This weeklong meeting (a few days of leadership meetings, and a few days of fabulous programming!) is kind of intense, and definitely exhausting, but one of the most fun weeks of the year. This year I was thrilled to hand down my chair position (I was the chair of the LGBT Health Action Committee), and to be elected to a position within the newly restructure Committee on Gender and Sexuality. (I am now the Grassroots Organizing Coordinator for Sexuality.) I think this will free up some of my time (no more administrative and managerial duties), but I will still get to do what I love, which is help local chapters organizing amazing programming around important healthcare issues.

Finally, March is also when Match Day occurs. Last Thursday, all of my graduating friends (except those who were in the early match specialities...) found out where they will be doing their residencies. It was incredibly exciting, and made me really want to work quickly to finish my PhD and the rest of medical school and move on out!

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