Every great work of literature includes a prologue in which a person writes a beautiful and inspirational praise for the author of said work. The person expresses their admiration and provides a quick introduction that could help you understand the purpose behind the author’s writings. In my work of literature, if you want to call it that, we lack the means to provide such a person to introduce me. So, I guess you are stuck with me, myself, and I. Prepare yourself for the humble brag, but mostly the realness of why I’m even attempting to write this self-indulgent piece of work.
High school was a monotonous purgatory. It is the same classic story of children being trapped in endless cycle of teachers who might give a crap or might not (it depended on how much xanax they were on – I’m mostly kidding), but I shined nonetheless. I was enrolled in AP and Honor classes, played sports, did countless hours of volunteer work – you name it; I did it! I wasn’t valedictorian or the class president (because honestly where has that gotten anybody in life), but I did more than what was expected from a Latina. I mean I’m not even pregnant yet. ¡Dios mio! Anyway, all of my hard work was in hopes of being good enough to be wanted by a university. To be honest, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing most of the time. All I knew was that I had to go to college, one way or another. I hustled, worked the system, and luckily became the first in my family to go to college. I did not realize what the weight of being a first-generation college student felt like until the day I found myself struggling to do the basics in life. That weight quite frankly destroyed me. I couldn’t handle carrying that burden anymore. It left way too many damn scars on my back. Immigrant, first-generation, Guatemalan, low-income, woman, daughter, sister – all these descriptors and more were branded into the wood of my cross; the cross I had to carry on my own with quiet submission like a nice young lady is supposed to do. The cross grew heavier with every step I took. I reached a point where I stopped moving forward and collapsed alongside my cross. As I lay next to the giant wooden structure, I would look from the cross to the sky and my thoughts grew more into a “why bother” state of mind. I even started carving words into the blood stricken, putrid, “hijo de la gran puta” cross that I believed were more accurate descriptors: failure, pathetic, stupid, disappointment, unworthy, etc.
In retrospect I’m forever grateful for it all. My downfall gave me the opportunity to piece myself back together into what seems to be a better version. I am still trying to piece myself together entirely. It’s a slow process. I look at the pieces over and over again trying to hold them together. Sometimes the pieces are too jagged to stick together, and other times I realize that I’m using a very shity glue, called wine, that only does a temporary job of holding everything together (disclaimer: I self-medicate, everyone does, but I know my limits and am conscious of what is happening). You come to recognize pieces of yourself you never knew existed, then you have to discover where they fit the best. I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?
You may be thinking, “Geez, what does this sad story have to do with being pre-med?” Um, sweetie, it has to do A LOT. Premed students are expected to attain perfection in all aspects of their lives while being a good son/daughter, roommate, friend, spiritual guide. Like damn, y’all, it’s hard out here for a player. We have to balance all these parts of our lives while trying to figure out who we are as an individual in a society that likes to put us into compartmentalized boxes. College in essence is a never-ending existential crisis. We are away from the people that have influenced us the most throughout our lives. We have the chance to reinvent ourselves or to be more than what we could be back home. We get music tattoos two months into our freshman year (based on true events). We bask in the sweet stench of college life and freedom, maybe it’s more what traditional media has taught us freedom is supposed to look like. It’s just too easy to get lost in this miniature world that we live in for 4+ years.
So, this is the story of a young girl who lost herself in the craziness of pre-med life, and her journey out of the premed-induced psychosis. Enjoy.