My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,
I'm going to get straight to the point. One thing that is constantly on my mind is the general trend of conversations with my pre-med cohorts...and most folks in general. I'm kind of awkward and I've always thought it was just naturally how I am, but I've begun to realise over the past couple of days that it's mostly due to trying to find some way to relate to the person, or people, with whom I'm speaking.
I'm kind of an eccentric fellow, if you hadn't noticed. My tastes and interest are wide and varied, and in many cases, very European. In the American South, this is not ideal...especially since my accent has no detectable European influence. I thought that in coming to the big city for university, I would run into more culturally aware and exciting people...but I'm finding that I'm rather let down. Even many of the international students are extraordinarily...um, ordinary. It's tough out here on the fringes of society, I must say.
But, yes, as I was saying, every last one of my peers are so scientifically-oriented...and I'm really not. I mean, I certainly have the capacity to interpret, deal with, and dispense scientific data and other such goodies, but I'm a natural-born artistic personality. Just the other day, I was involved in a very scientific conversation. I contributed my bit, and someone asked for clarification on a point. I answered in relaxation mode, opting for an explanation that came out like, "So, this crap flies over here and affixes itself to this junk, and the whole mess goes on to..." It should be noted that I was pointing to a diagram. I'd demonstrated my knowledge on the subject and felt that it was fine to drop the formalities at that point, especially considering the informal environment...I got some raised eyebrows, and a little giggling. "You want to be a doctor?" was what I imagined going through some of their heads. hah.
The biggest example of constant disconnects with my audience come when I make some reference, or connection, to or between related items. Nine times out of ten, I get a blank stare...a few seconds later, the deer-in-headlights gaze or a raised eyebrow. I'm laughing, and they're trying to figure out what I'm on about.
Furthermore, I choose my words carefully, and this sometimes leads to a point in my speech where I pause, filling the space with an "errmm..." or some such similar, and then several avenues present themselves to me, leaving me in the position of deciding which is best suited for the situation. My natural tendency is to lean towards the laid-back, relaxed, humourous route...but historically, it's led to embarrassment. I should think that the other party would be the embarrassed one for not having understood my offering, but since I deviate from the norm I take the brunt. It's comical, and I wouldn't change it for anything, but I wonder how this will affect my medical career. I can just imagine myself in a med school interview making all sorts of wild statements that really make perfect sense to those in the know, but uh... yeah, obviously there aren't so many in the know.
A quick note on the above point: I saw an episode of Code Blue, or something, where this funny, laid-back ER doc was explaining to a patient's family that they'd found a big aneurysm. The doc said something like, "...an aneurysm about as big around as my head..." and one family member clutched her chest, and exclaimed, "Oh, my word!" The doc, very nonchalantly said, "Oh, no, that was just an exaggeration," and carried on. Naturally, that's a situation I would work to avoid, but I could picture it happening to me. Heh.
All of this does make me feel like I don't belong in my major and that I'm nuts for even thinking about being a doctor...but wouldn't it be better to be the one who stands out from the crowd as far as personality is concerned? I'm a likable chap, smile and laugh easily (and frequently!), and employ my ability to recreate voices and accents in a humourous light as often as possible... ah, I don't know.
Heaven to me would be to show up and have 50 or so people who carry on just as I do. Maybe this will be my medical school experience.
May the grace of He keep you always,