I loved everything about medicine.
I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I could remember. Throughout undergrad my passion never faded, even with the remarks about all the fun I was missing, the stress of the MCAT, and the first C of my academic career. I knew I was meant to be a doctor and I knew I was going to be great.
My decision to continue fencing was official after NCAA Championships senior year. At the time, I wasn’t even in the top 10 on the senior points list. When I articulated my goals of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic team, I could feel my listener’s skepticism. But none of that mattered. College fencing was an enjoyable experience and I was absolutely positive (or rather had a lot of hope) my passion would help me succeed even in medical school.
The first several months at RWJ were not as strenuous as my critics predicted. Class moved at a faster pace than Usain Bolt, but I managed to stay afloat and found a best friend who was equally as perplexed. I was practicing in New York City 3-4 times a week, making friends in school, and even managed to play in the annual powderpuff football game. Some of my friends from high school and college moved to NYC post graduation and we would socialize after practice or on the weekends. Socially, academically, and athletically my performance was exceeding expectations. However, once the competition season began, life consisted of studying and practice. There was zero time for anything else.
After the completion of my first year, I felt accomplished having escalated into the top 10 on the senior points and passed all my classes. RWJ is only pass or fail, thank god! Returning to second year roused excitement, but also dismay for the inevitable constraint on my schedule. Within several weeks, I was back to my old ways:
Needless to say, it didn’t take long to become overwhelmed. I was exhausted and started wearing make-up to hide the bags under my eyes. I missed my friends who were still having the time of their lives while I was trapped in Piscataway studying pharmacology. Most importantly, a decision had to be made about the best way to start training for the Olympics. I felt like medicine was suffocating me.