I loved school. I thrived in school. From the earliest age, I loved almost everything about school. The structure, the lessons, the process of learning. I loved puzzles and problem solving. I like creativity and self-expression. I like all the assignments and even homework. I was an organized student all the way from elementary through medical school. I was disciplined and focused. I planned ahead. I usually finished assignments before they were due. If there was extra credit, I did it. I loved the praise from teachers. I loved the competition between students. My biggest opponent was my own last assignment. I liked the duotangs and covering books. It was a special ritual before each school year to cover our books with grocery bags. My sister Debbie taught me how to cover my books. The covers allowed us to doodle on them. Now, they sell nylon covers. It is just not the same. I love memorizing facts. In medical school, the studying was so much more intense. At my med school, we took exams in blocks. We would have exams in all 8 course: 4 on Friday and  4 on Monday. The exams covered 6 weeks of material. It was arduous studying. The first year we would study in the library until it closed at midnight. We all had keys to the morgue so we’d go to the morgue to work on dissections for anatomy until 2 or 3 am.

When school was finally over and my last examinations were complete and I had my degree there was this terrible vacuum. Now there is no one handing out marks validating my efforts. Now, reality is that we don’t get tangible grades. Validation has to come from within. I miss it! I was compelled to do my very best because in the end there would be that “A” waiting to confirm all my efforts. Life now is so bloody subjective. We can do our very best effort and not hear a single word of praise or thanks. We can work diligently to complete or accomplish somethings and then we are at the mercy of others NOTICING. And what if they do not notice? What if no one says, “Wow this dinner was great!” or “The house looks lovely.” or “You solved my abdominal pain when no one else could.” How do we know we are really doing something worthwhile? They say we have to get our affirmation from within, but the system in which we are incubated is completely external.

I am going back to school for the weekend. We are required to do a certain number of hours of continuing medical education. I have decided to make it a school weekend. I am taking all my homestudy materials. I am going to complete all my tests and journals. I am going to be the little worker bee I was once 20 years ago.

And I am also getting a Swedish massage and a facial. There are perks to adulthood.

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