“Choose People Who Choose You”

“Choose people who choose you.”

I saw this as an Instagram post a few days ago and it’s stuck with me since. Perhaps because it’s been a recurring message for me throughout the years – from undergrad to my gap years to med school – wheew, totally relate. Anyway, today I felt compelled to write a blog post on this statement. This is a different kind of post but it does relate to med school. I can proudly say that Ohio State chose me and I chose it back. As far back as my interview day, when I came in rocking my baby dreadlocks, a statement saying, “yea, this is me, this is what y’all gon get.” And not feeling one ounce of prejudice. That’s love y’all. But I digress, this isn’t where I’m going with this. We all know med school is hard (and if you didn’t, SURPRISE! It is). Besides the mountain of information you’re learning, the limited time to grasp the information, the long nights, the stress and so on, there is one other thing that makes it hard:

The loneliness. 

Geez! Med school can be lonely! It is a deeply personal journey and will test you to the limits.

WHY are you even doing this?”

CAN you even do this?”

“Does anyone even CARE how you’re feeling?”

wow crying gif

So one common advice students will hear as they start their first year is: “Find your people.” The people who will support you during your journey, who will be like family, who will be there to listen, through the grind, through the tears, through the successes, through the let downs. Your people.

And if you can’t find them, you’re not alone. Reach out for help, for support through the counseling office.

Yea. We all got this spiel or some form of it.

But what happens when you just can’t seem to fit in?

Can I get personal for a sec? I suck at fitting in. I don’t consider myself as part of the “cool crowd” and quite frankly I gave up a long time ago on trying to fit the mold. Years ago (before med school), someone told me I had been described as “doing my own thing.” I was surprised, but I think it sums me up well. Now, how does this relate to med school? Well the past few years, my poor love has been subjected to me complaining about not being able to find more classmates who “get me.” Is it because I’m slightly older, a non-traditional student who had no interest in some of the post-exam parties? Is it because I’m black in a majority white institution? Is it because I’m rarely around on the weekends, often missing out on some precious bonding activities? Or perhaps because the financial stress is real, often causing me to say no to some outings? Do I come off as stand off-ish? Maybe if I wasn’t in a long distance relationship, maybe if I didn’t have other stressors outside of med school…maybe…maybe…

Yep, my love heard it all. The complaints of not being invited to some things, feeling forgotten by some friends in and outside of med school, feeling bummed about saying no to certain invites, the list goes on. And in those moments he would remind me of the same thing over and over again: cherish the ones who are there for you, the ones who keep showing up, the ones who keep reaching out. Focus your eyes on that. Cultivate those relationships.

Sounds a lot like “choose people who choose you” doesn’t it?

So here’s a few reminders and encouragements from one of my favorite Instagram accounts – @thecocoahue:

  1. It is impossible to be forgotten by God.
  2. When you’re set apart, sometimes you have to sit out. It is not a punishment, it’s a process.
  3. You belong because you are his beloved.
  4. Find your place in Christ. It’s where you will always fit in.
  5. You will never walk alone when you choose Jesus.

Cheers y’all and stay blessed!

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