Waking up on the day of my final exam of medical school, the familiar feeling of pre-exam jitters washed over me. That combination of anxiety and relief, the anticipation of it being almost over, the flutters that make it feel like your gut is doing backflips.
Over my eight year of university these feelings have not dampened, though I like to think that I tend to be on the good side of the anxiety curve, where it is more of a help than a hinderance. It is that same happy balance point I aim for when it comes to caffeination, just enough coffee to improve performance, without so much that you become shaky and completely unproductive.
I am not naive enough to believe that I have completed exams forever (yes there are exams for general practice and specialist training) but it is comforting to know that at that stage I will be sitting an exam to further my career not to complete a degree, yet it is anxiety inducing all the same to realise that I will be being compared directly with my colleagues for training positions and jobs.
Though graduation remains 6 months away, the time between is filled with fun and interesting experiences and adventure. From a rotation on plastic surgery to trekking up the Himalayas in Nepal I can already tell the rest of the year will fly by and before we know it we will be throwing our hats in the air, ready to start the next chapter of our lives.
Until that time I am going to immerse myself in the moment, in that limbo phase between being a student and starting a career, where I don’t quite know where life is headed yet. I am embracing the unknown and the expanse of space with open arms, and enjoying that little taste of freedom after so many years of being bunkered down with the books.
Over the past week of holidays I have felt like a completely new person, with a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. But, more so, I have felt an overwhelming sense of calm and intense joy and have barely been able to wipe the smile off my face. I have laughed so hard that my cheeks hurt and been able to spend quality time with some of my favourite people on this planet without ruminating over a to-do list in the back of my mind.
In the midst of my holiday bliss I can’t help but look around in awe at how good life is!