The End of One Journey and the Beginning of Another
Kendra Campbell -- Everything is so surreal right now. I’m riding in the passenger seat of a rented SUV on a major interstate highway, headed to a major international airport in Baltimore, Maryland. Do you ever have one of those moments in life where you pause and think, “How did I get here?” Well, I’m having one of those moments. There are hundreds of cars all around me. The highway has five lanes, and even has painted markings. At any moment I could stop and buy just about anything I could imagine. I could eat almost any type of food that exists. There is a McDonalds and Starbucks on almost every corner. I am in America.
For those of you who have lived for years in a less developed country, and then moved to a country of excess like the States, you can imagine what I’m going through right now. Culture shock is an understatement. I’m having a grand mal culture seizure right now. I’ve spent almost the entire past week traveling by bus, plane, and car to my home in the States. I somehow managed to get all my worldly possessions and my two dogs home safely. It wasn’t an easy undertaking. During my road trip, I stopped at a Target (a huge discount super store) and cried when I walked through the doors. The amount of stuff to buy was overwhelmingly unfathomable.
I completed one “transition” semester of short rotations in Dominica. I’m officially living in the States for at least the next few years. I’ll be taking the next month to study for the USMLE Step 1, the medical licensing exam for the US. Two weeks later I’ll be starting my first official clinical rotation in Washington, DC. After that, I’ll hopefully be starting more clinical rotations in Baltimore, Maryland. So, at least I do have a rough draft of a plan.
Honestly, though? I don’t really feel like my plans are all that solid. I still feel so jumbled up from all the moving. I feel homeless (technically, I am right now), carless, and pointless. Being in between homes, cars, and schools is a very dissociative experience.
As for my education, I’ve completed all of my basic science schooling. I’ve had an initial introduction to the clinical world, but I really haven’t yet begun that journey. So, once again I’m sort of in limbo with that too.
I feel like I’m teetering on the brink of something huge. Behind me, I see all the work that I’ve done to get here. I see Dominica, and a monumental pile of information that I’ve learned to get to this point. In front of me is the United States of America, and all of the clinical experiences I have yet to have. There’s a part of me that wants to take the easy way out and go running and screaming back to Dominica. But the responsible side of me knows that I must press on ahead. Luckily, there is actually a large part of me that is very excited to be starting a new adventure. So, here’s to the end of one journey and the beginning of another!
A toast to a fresh, new and exciting experience!!!! Cheers
Posted by: Sam | Apr 21, 2008 12:22:34 AM
Congrats on making it through!!!!! 5 semesters on the island is no easy task! I am about to complete my 4th and I already feel so exhausted. I can't wait to go back home where things will hopefully be better emotionally and physically for me.
I'm also staying here for the 5th semester - about 4 more months before I can go back to America for good, hopefully.
I like this island and I like the people but being away from home is very draining. I come home to an empty apartment every night and the daily cycle of just campus and apartment with really no where to go is... I can't even find a word for it. It's like the entry you had on going back to the same highlighter every day!
I remember when I went back for my break after 2nd semester...my family treated me to a some fruit pastry and my eyes started to tear up! I know how you feel!!!
Enjoy the time you have there!
All the best studying for the step!
Posted by: Tiffany | Apr 22, 2008 2:07:28 PM
I am not a med student. Actually, I am in the last days of a pharmacy school. Your story reminds me of all the experiences I have been going through, esp. crying for homesickness. I am going to graduate within several weeks. I definitely agree with you that the end of one journey will be the beginning of another. I wish you all the luck for the step...
Posted by: Van Nguyen | Apr 22, 2008 8:42:30 PM
wow, u guys have to take the USMLE before starting clinical rotations? good luck! i had a look at the questions and honestly, i can't do even a quarter of them!
Posted by: Jun | Apr 23, 2008 2:58:25 AM
I totally agree with the concept of your article. It's good to share your views with all of us. Thanks!
Posted by: Atif | Apr 23, 2008 11:20:31 AM
I know exactly how you feel about the homeless, carless, and pointless part. I just finished my step 1 and am going to be starting my clinical rotations in the US soon after having done my "book learning" in Grenada. It felt weird to be back to a place of plenty when you were in a place of pennies.
Posted by: Amit | Apr 23, 2008 11:37:09 AM
it was very nice reading your article. wishing you best of luck...:)looks like an endless journey,,lifes like that..
Posted by: asma | Apr 23, 2008 11:42:20 AM
Onward and upward! You can do it!! Life's all about adjusting as one journey ends and another one begins. The memories and experiences of each journey somehow prepares us for the next one...even when they can see so different at the time. Just take time to listen and learn important 'life lessons' along the way. Good job!
Posted by: Bob | Apr 23, 2008 8:37:27 PM
Posted by: Anna | Apr 24, 2008 12:10:26 AM
it's great article,i'm happy to read you,this experience remind me the mine.i'm in my ends medical studies.when i began medical studies it was so difficult to adapt to my new situation(stay alone a broad,without parent,just you).several years have passed,today i'proud of me,it was a great experience of life.
Posted by: ludjer | Apr 27, 2008 5:25:37 PM
I'll never forget walking into an American grocery store after only 9 months away; I couldn't make decisions because there were too many options. I ended up leaving with maybe one bag and having to go back later. It is a truly overwhelming culture, something you only realize once you leave for a while.
Posted by: Kate | May 1, 2008 3:03:19 PM
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