Final exams loom, a distressingly diminishing number of days away. Calendars are the enemy now and every sunset inspires a mixture of awe and resentment. Days and weeks and months are finite, fickle creatures.
I reread Samuel Shem’s cynical exposé on medical training in North America because I needed to remind myself what I was working toward in the weeks after exams. House of God isn’t a particularly encouraging novel, but throughout the story hope rises like the Wing of Zock: unstoppable and overpowering.
In this season of fasting (not Lent) I will have to give up so many of my vices: novels, writing, the internet, sleep. Oh, sleep, I will miss you. A fourth year student asked me what I would do come June 3 when the last of my exams are over.
“I’d run naked,” she suggested. Oblivious to our incredulity, she continued. “As I walk out of the exam, I’d be unhooking my bra, pulling down the straps.” She trailed off in slow-motion speech, lost in a fantastical daydream.
I intend to sleep the sleep of the guilt-free. It’s been so long since I had guilt-free sleep, I’m probably going to get an ulcer. Just one time I would like to put my head on a pillow and not have the voice in my head (which sounds uncannily like one of my friends) demand that I cease this nonsense and get on with studying.
This morning while waiting on the bus that shuttles us to the hospital, I stared across the expanse of sea and horizon, thinking.
I feel like I’m being wound-up, I wrote in my journal, like an old-fashioned wrist watch. Will I fall apart when the time comes, or spring smoothly into action like some well-oiled gears?
Do any of us know how we will perform when we need to? I think everyone feels some tension at this point, regardless of ambition. Even those of us who are certain of passing (there are always some) are still anxious about graduating with honours or distinctions.
There’s so much at stake, so much at risk. I calm myself by remembering that this too shall pass.
Thursdays have sort of turned into book sharing time, so I’m sorry if this wasn’t what you expected. But! If you read this far, know that I have been reading way more fiction than I should, and if you want a recommendation Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning is absolute soul-disturbing perfection and you should go read it now (Also, he and Amanda are pregnant so yay).
It’s so rare that I recommend a newly published book – am I doing it right?
4 thoughts on “Back to the House of God: some short reflections”
Robyn, Robyn! It is so great to read this post! Keep pressing on my friend. We all have to do hard things, that is if we want to accomplish great things. I really love the language and structure of your post: “Days and weeks and months are finite, fickle creatures”, the humour in section 3 with that girl who plans to strip naked, and that section where you talk about what you wrote in your journal.
It made me think of my own experiences with journal writing. Sometimes you’ll look back, see the hard things you’ve done and can’t help but feel hopeful about the future. Press on my friend. Work hard and celebrate at the end by getting some guilt-free sleep. You deserve it, Robyn!!!!
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Thank you SO much Tricia. Your words mean more than you know .
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Please post the video.
I won’t even be there to record it. Stick to your fantasies; they probably end better.