Thoughts on my 2-year journey to medical school

It’s over: a strange, glorious feeling.

“I need a job,” I say to her.

The south Park Blocks are burning at full bloom. The air is cold, dry, crisp; a static, electric blue sky holds back the future cloudbursts. The air vibrates with movement as students hurry by in chaotic directions, late for their first week of classes. I bite into my granny smith apple and smile inwardly at the unintentionally cliched scene. Portland State University seems to be a good place to call home.

“I have some money saved up,” I say between chews, “but I’m going to need a regular cash-flow by next month.”

Christy purses her lips in thought before speaking. “Starbucks is hiring. Not the store I work at, but I’m sure a lot of stores in the area need people. I’ll put a good word in for you.”

She leaves for work then and there. I consider the idea of working for Starbucks. I had spent the past year at an independent coffee shop deep in suburbia and the thought of going corporate sounds unappealing. But I am desperate. I decide to apply, get some money, and move on to a better-suiting position.

That was 2 years, 4 months and 18 days ago.  A steady influx of course requirements, apartment relocations and a constantly shrinking job market eventually sapped my resolve to find a new job while that job continued to sap my soul.

When I had finally given up all hope at finding a better place for myself, opportunity arose in its typical, unexpected fashion: A grant opportunity.

I calculated that, if I received this grant, I could continue to live the way I do now (meagerly) for the next two terms without working and have enough left over for my cross-country move to Chicago at the end of the summer. I took the grant. My last day at that dreadful establishment is this saturday.

In 28 months, I have shapeshifted from a wide-eyed newcomer staring at the towering buildings into another nameless cyclist, enfolded into the rain-drenched tendrils of these busy one-way streets. I learned of the trials and tributes of living with a drug-dealing roommate. I entered my longest-term relationship yet and know what it is like to refer to myself as “we,” and am now living with her and my best friend, finally returned after 2 years from his harrowing experiences in the deep south. I have seen the sun set over the city’s bridges and a fair share of declared majors. I have watched old relationships predicated on my life in high school and the suburbs fade as new ones have come to fruition. And yet, in the face of all this flux, only one constant had remained until now: my job. Where I work has become part of my identity despite my struggles: discussions with mine and my girlfriend’s families inevitably turn to SBUX stocks. And while this source of recollection may be pathetic, it still warrants a few minor chords of wistfulness interspersed in my joyous fugue.


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