How I plan to burn 800 gallons of gas in 9 months.

Tomorrow I start my daily 60-mile commute to Springfield, MA.  I don’t like to think about how much time I will spend driving or how much I will spend on gas over the course of my APPE rotations.  Instead, I like to think about all the awesome experiences that lie ahead:  a community rotation that allows me to participate in CHF/MI discharge counseling three times weekly; an internal medicine bootcamp; a pediatrics rotation; a critical care rotation that hopefully, will elucidate my future career; an ED rotation at the largest emergency room in New England; and an institutional rotation at a regional academic medical center.

My friends who are also participating in the Baystate-MCPHS Longitudinal APPE program seem to be a bit nervous about starting advanced rotations.  I try to stay optimistic and enthusiastic for them, but to be honest, nervousness can get to me, too.  Will I meet my preceptors’ expectations?  Will I get good grades?  Keep my budget balanced?  Get enough sleep?  Tolerate the long commutes?  Fit in with the culture of Baystate?  Find an advisor for a research project?  Make it home in time to pick up Peter from day care?  I guess uncertainty and nervousness are inevitable whenever you embark upon a new endeavor that is unlike anything you’ve done before.

I feel like I should be bragging about all that I accomplished during my two weeks off from school.  In reality, though, there’s not much to brag about.  I brainstormed ideas for an article for AJHP’s new student column.  I e-mailed Dr. Tuiskula, Dr. Radigan, and my Rho Chi board members in attempt to get some work/networking/planning done, but I didn’t make much headway on any of those fronts.  I did get some gardening done, and I bought some chic new sandals for about $25.  I got changed the oil in my car and bought new tires for it and vacuumed my car and dirtied it with yard waste and vacuumed it again.  I cleaned my fish tank twice and killed my oldest guppy.  We read a lot of “bedtime stories”, and I discovered a number of additional words that Peter can recognize.   (I added lion, penguin, wolf, monkey, and turtle to the list on Friday.   How he learned all these words is still a mystery.)  I polished my cv and attempted to start an e-portfolio.  I made it to the gym a few times and took Peter to the playground a few times.  Heck, I even cooked and did some laundry.

But a year from now, I probably won’t remember any of that.  Hopefully, I will remember our trip to Newport, RI.  We went blueberry picking at nearby Smith’s Berry Farm, parked at the Newport visitors’ center, walked to First Beach, met friends for a picnic lunch, walked the Cliff Walk to The Breakers, toured the breakers, walked back to the visitors’ center, ate some ice cream, noted that we were slightly sun burned, and went home happy.

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