Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Every ounce of my grit went into today.
I woke up in a delirium, wishing for just a little bit longer of joyful unconscious oblivion.
Adam and I walked to the office at ten to 8am.
Only to discover it locked and empty.
Staff meeting.
Which no one had told us about.
I was one part ecstatic and one part annoyed at the thoughtlessness of the staff.
I could have slept longer.
And so I did.
And when Adam's knock came at my door for a second time, it took all my power to pull myself from my blankets.
Every inch of me felt heavy.
My feet dragged.
Though of course the cracks in my heels weren't helping any.
A slight lack of patients this morning, allowed me to fully go through the cases I'm trying to get credit for on externship. Scouring the calendar and quizzing Dr. B about the protocol for each step.

There is one cardinal rule for every dental student to learn to survive school.
At all costs, you must keep your head down, work hard and above all else, don't look too far into the future.
And today, I forgot that rule. The more you need to get done, the shorter the timeframe you should look at and plan for.

I have six weeks left of externship. And I foolishly started mapping out the logistics of all the cases I'm starting for credit. Even six weeks in advanced is too much right now. My stress mounted and it clung to me. It filled my lungs and was palpable in every room I entered. And once you start to look ahead, its hard to stop. Snowballing from there, I thought of being off externship and all the work that would need to be done, and started to think about boards and licensure exams that need to be planned for and scheduled and after that, the wholly unknown future post-dental school life.

There is nothing more terrifying than seeing all that needs to be done and trying to see how it will all work out.

I forgot the cardinal rule. Turns out, even on externship, I can't afford to look that far ahead of me.
Dr. B told me that all my incessant planning was giving her a headache. Twice, I got told I seemed stressed and asked if I was ok. And I wasn't. I was on the edge all day and felt that I might crash and burn up at any moment. I know that the stress made me less capable.

I hate forgetting the rule. Because this rule, controls my entire life. Personal, professional. Everything that has a future, requires me to not look or think or worry in advance.

I hate that today I forgot that I need to appear capable at all times with my externship staff. The length of leash they give to me depends fully on them believing that I can handle everything and anything they choose to send my way. And I know that despite the reasonableness of my being stressed (because seriously, I really need to accomplish a hell of a lot on externship if I even want a hope of graduating on time), I know that the respect I have built over the last four weeks is diminished with today's display of stress.

And I can't afford to have them respect me less. Because I need them to believe that the amount of work they've given me, is an amount that I can handle. Even if it is overwhelming, I greedily don't care about the stress it causes. I need it and I want it. I would rather strain and stress over the burden placed on me here, than have to go back to regular dental school without the credit. Because the alternative of doing it all at school is even more daunting.


.Ang. said...

You can do it!

Six weeks from now you will review all that you accomplished and you will wonder how in the world you did it all. Then collapse onto your bed and breath a sigh of relief.

This too shall pass, JGFI!

Shel said...

I learn this one over & over. My technique is (1) deep relaxing breathing for at least 5 breaths; (2) close my eyes & visualize my favorite getaway (warm sun on my face, sound of waves, feet in the warm sand) when I do this it makes me smile; If these fail I take a short walk outside and look up to the sky and say a prayer of thanks for Gods help to get me through everything. I think about letting the negative energy go and gather the positive energy. Then I turn around walk back into work and smile with positive energy and say hello to everyone I see. my smile picks me up and them. It really works. Love you. You can do it all!