Actually, there were 110 of us, not 300. And we definitely didn't look anything like that.
There were 110 of us. We all met at the same time.
A few married couples. Mostly single. Most of us had just graduated from college. Several were nurses. One or two were veterinarians. An actress. Some military vets. Others had just joined the military to pay for this. 2 were Ph.D.'s in sciences. Some of us had kids. A few were even living far away from spouses and kids for 4 years just to do this.
And there we were. Most of us had just moved to this city in the last 1-2 weeks. Found apartments, grocery stores, and laundromats, and finally this building.
It was the first day of medical school.
I was a 2 day drive from home and where I'd gone to college. I'd met my roommate the week before, and didn't know anybody else.
I miss them all now. None were really close friends, but the bonds you get with people who share the same life experiences with you are incredible.
They forge quickly. Med school starts out like a sledgehammer. No matter how prepared you thought you were for it, you weren't. And everyone else was in the same boat (though most would deny it).
So for 2 years we suffered through the same schedules of tests, lab groups, STUDYING (studying is a never ending process in med school). 110 people with almost identical schedules. Your social lives also tend to mesh, because you also want to go out to relax (i.e. drink) at the same time, and have the same post-test schedules to do it on. You see each other on campus and around town.
We formed sports teams. Couples. Groups based on religious affiliation. We went to sporting events together. Movies in groups. Road trips to baseball games and amusement parks.
In the 3rd & 4th years the contacts start to break up, because we were on different clinical rotations all over town. But the last week of school there were a bunch of lectures on "what to expect in residency", and there was something oddly reassuring about being together again.
I remember all of them. It's funny, because in other circumstances many of us probably wouldn't have gotten along, but the shared experiences of medical school made us friends. I'll never forget those people. I think of them more, and remember them more, than any other group I was with. My high school class, college groups, other residents. None of them have left an imprint on my memory as strong as the 110 in my medical school class.
There's only one I'm in semi-regular contact with, because life took us both to the same hospital. On rare occasions a new patient will bring in records from out-of-state, and I note that they saw one of my former classmates. Through the miracle of the internet it's easy to see where the others landed, and it's somehow reassuring to know they're out there. I wonder if any of them look me up. I'd like to think so.
But even so...
I missed my 10 year med school reunion a while back for bullshit reasons, and still regret it. I'm definitely going when the 20th comes around.
This post was inspired by Albino Black Bear, who wrote last week about a road trip she and some medical school friends went on.