After one of my med school interviews, I had the opportunity to walk around my undergrad alma mater. This short excursion brought back some great memories that I had forgotten.
I chose IU Southeast for several reasons. My biggest concern was proximity to my family, since I had several family members who were of ill health as I was graduating from high school. I have no regrets about staying home for college; I met some of my best friends there, who are absolutely brilliant. Even though the New Albany campus doesn’t have the Big 10 flair of IU Bloomington, the education I earned was top-notch and has paid dividends in the real world in terms of employment and other opportunities.
I also got to check out the newly renovated chemistry labs. They are so much nicer than the older ones I had; more space, places for backpacks and such. In addition, the chem department was able to purchase a new NMR machine that I (as an alumnus) chipped in to pay for–to which Dr. H told me I could use whenever I want (score!) 😉
Has it really been that long since I was an undergrad? I remember walking around campus my freshman year, not knowing a single person and being scared to death. I remember wondering “do I really have what it takes to be a doctor?” I definitely had the feeling of being a small fish in a big pond. But, if there’s anything I learned at IUS, it was that I will always be okay if I jump into something alone, it will always work out–I have honed the ability to adapt and thrive. The same small-fish-big-pond happened again in grad school, and yet again when I took the first job at IUSM. I seem to have a knack for finding something completely new and just jumping in–and learning that I can, indeed, swim on my own. If I’ve done it once, twice, three times–I can do it again, right?
And yet, at the same time, it feels great to come home. My first year at IUS, I remember going to my HS for a basketball game, just to see familiar faces and feeling like I belonged there, that there were people who cared for me and missed me. And now I have that at IUS too. And yes, even at UofL. Never would I have imagined that.
Just as in high school, my professors were some of my best friends. Most of them are still at the school, even though a few have recently moved on or retired. On the day I got to visit, I was able to stop and chat for a long time with three of them. It’s so nice to be able to sit and talk with someone who knows me and my story, everything I’ve been through. After everything that has happened in the past year and a half, it was so nice to see friends again!
I really, really did not want to leave. I did not have enough time to stop in and chat with my former Dean. Maybe next time. I’m hoping to make a surprise trip back to campus to surprise my favorite professor for his birthday in April.