Road Movie: Chapter 6

“So how did you end up doing on the SAT?” We were sitting together in our Literature AP class. “Well, I got a 600 in math… and a 750 in reading and an 800 in writing! My total was a 2150!” Dakota smiled at me. “Nice!” I was proud of her. She studied so hard for that test, and the fact that she managed to get a 600 in math, her weakest subject, it showed that she pushed herself. “I’m so happy right now! If it wasn’t for college apps, I’d be so down to celebrate.” She laughed. “How would you have celebrated?” “Binge-watching Netflix and binge-eating Ben and Jerry’s. My two favorite things to do.” “Oh my god, how do you stay so skinny if you have habits like that?” I shook my head disapprovingly. “Hey, I said I like doing those things! Not that I do them often! And hey, you better not be one of those boyfriends who think that they deserve a vagina-upgrade or something!” She smirked at me. “Trust me, I know we are great together.” I reassured her. Our banter was 100% playful. We both knew that, and that’s why we had such a good relationship. Nothing was too serious, nothing was too extreme.

Submitting college applications was about as tedious as going to a dentist appointment; not terribly fun, but it is just something we have to do for our own good. We used a website called Common App to apply to most private schools, and in this case, I was only aiming for UChicago, because that was Dakota’s top choice too. We wanted to go together, since we just started dating, and we did not want to have to break up so abruptly or bother trying long distance just yet. I got really lucky. Because of how many APs I had already finished at that point, a lot of the colleges nearby had already heard about me because of that. UChicago gave me a Stamps Scholarship because of my high GPA, AP credits, and because I was from a single-parent home at that point. My mom was definitely watching over me. At that point, I had a decent amount of my expenses covered, but I still needed to work in case the medical schools do not give me money. Every cent that I would earn would go towards medical school.

I worked two jobs while I was in college. One was on campus, in the library. Honestly, it was not that bad. It was quiet, I got ahead on my homework and studying for the MCAT, and then Dakota would visit every now and then while I was working. And then I interned at Northwestern Memorial. That was the much more difficult one. I could not get away with doing homework during my internship. When it came to my actual college experience, Dakota and I mostly kept to ourselves. We were the two lovebirds, I guess you could say. We planned our meals together, we even lived together in the same building, obviously different rooms, but things were a little complicated because she was in Business/Marketing and I was in Pre-Med. But we managed to make it work for the most part. There was maybe one or two bad arguments we had. The first was during freshman year. I was really stressed and busy with my labs, and Dakota felt neglected. I remember walking back to my dorm and she was waiting on the first floor, pissed. We spent a good hour yelling at each other, and we even threatened to break up. But eventually, we cooled down and realized that we weren’t communicating. She started to realize that my labs really did take a lot of time and I started to realize that she was very lonely because of that. We tried to plan our schedules to make them more complimentary and Dakota started joining more clubs and make more friends.

Sophomore year rolled around, and the two of us moved off campus. It was getting stressful for me because I was also studying for the MCAT around that time. Dakota was rushing for a sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, and her pledge sisters were always over. That was our second big fight. It was hard for me to study when there was so much giggling and laughter and drunkenness constantly filling our apartment. I got very angry.  So we fought over that too. Dakota was not happy about my complaints; she felt like I was attacking her for pledging. In the end, she agreed that while I was studying for the MCAT, she and her pledge sisters would need to do all of their work somewhere else. We got over it once I finished my MCAT and she crossed into being a fully fledged sister. Those months were pretty lonely, because she was never in the apartment and my only company that fall semester were my study books. But it was well worth it, because I got a 520 out of a possible 528.

Eventually after graduating sophomore year, I was able to not only get admitted into Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine for medical school, but they also gave me a pretty sizable scholarship; I basically had half of my tuition paid for from the fund. I felt like all of my jobs and my hard work wound up paying off. While I was starting school in Northwestern, it was pretty tough. Luckily, I still lived off campus with Dakota, so we would each both commute from the apartment. But I did make one close friend right off the bat. John. He was very friendly and helped me feel a lot less stressed about studying. Unlike Dakota, John understood my struggles, mostly because he was going through them the same time I was. It was great being able to rant and complain to somebody who understood your situation fully and completely. We met in our orientation and we were both laughing about how stressful it was to study for the MCATs. Most people did not want to be friends with me because I was so young; they were afraid I was too immature or that I would be a liability. But John did not care. It was the first time since high school that I had friends other than my girlfriend.

In the end, I was somebody who did not need a whole lot of friends to be happy. I had my best friend in John and my girlfriend in Dakota. Sometimes, I would worry about my dad, being all alone at home, so I would occasionally visit, every other weekend when I could. But he insisted that I should enjoy my time with Dakota and just have fun. He also got a dog, a Jack Russell Terrier that he named Terry, so he had his hands full with that when he was not working at the power plant. Medical school has been tough, but once I got past the first two years of general studies, we finally got into the more interesting topics: Pediatrics. Being a pediatrician meant that I could help the younger generation. It was something that my mom wanted to do before she got pregnant with me, and it felt good knowing that I can live out her dream for her.

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