Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The 110

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.


ireflect said...

Your post touched a tender spot in my heart dr. grumpy!

Just a few days ago, as I got in touch with my close friend from med school, we reminisced, how close our bonds were back then, and how untarnished they are today, even with the lapse of a decade. Picking up the phone, and saying hello took us back to the med school corridors where we sat on the porch on the stairs and chatted away for hours!

It is like being tempered in the same furnace.... spending practically every waking hour together - which are all the hours anyway - and going through the grueling med school, activities, love triangles, broken hearts, the highs and lows... all for nearly 5 years makes a med school batch like a metaphysical amalgam - we're always connected at some level.

After I talked to my friend, I wrote all about it, somewhat on your lines, in my yet unpublished blog ;-)

The Mother said...

If the guys in my medical school class looked like that picture, I might have enjoyed it more.

Yes, there are shared bonds. Still have close friendships with a few.

I missed my 10th. I missed my 20th because no one told me (I graduated on a half year, and somehow got left off the list).

DrB said...

I have to agree, although our class was HUGE (close to 250!!)... so I mainly stuck with the "A-G" crowd, but yes. And yes, there really is only one that I stay in touch with, although the calls are infrequent, there is a strong bond.

I, too, didn't attend my 10th for bullshit reasons and plan on making my 20th. I hope the others do, too!

Anonymous said...

Grad school is a shared misery and as we all know it loves company. One month in our class had been halved. No one could stare 4 years of coming home at 11 PM in the face and not blanch, some to the point of leaving. Iwas commuting from NJ into New York City and then back to NJ, Up at 5 for 2 hours of study, work full time and do it again 4 days a week. Friday night movie with wife, Sat. 4AM to 4PM study. 4PM collapse watching Kung Fu movies. Sunday brunch with wife, more light study afternoon, church, rake leaves, walk--day of rest. Oh, yeah --where are we now.

Anonymous said...

So the Greeks invented the Speedo, who would have thought?

Cate said...

My medical school class is pretty tight knit- more so than the current first year class for sure. There are 30 or so kids that never come to class so they're more out of the loop, but the rest of us all get along. Some of my closest friends are the others in my area of the alphabet though.
Great post. I hope I stay in touch with my classmates after we graduate.

Ginger said...

My 10 yr was this summer and I too, missed it.

As close as I felt to those comrades at the time, and continue to do so in memory, I have lost touch with them all in the decade since graduation. A few of us kept in contact during the first yr of residency but.... *shrugs*.

At least there is Facebook. I've been "friended" by a few ppl from my class though none are from my core gp of friends.

Can'tSpell, DVM said...

I fondly remember the shared experiences of vet school and miss it sometimes. I definatly plan on going to my 5th year reunion when it comes up in a year or two. We had a couple of MDs in our class too, and a PharmD as well... :)

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