With exactly one week until graduation, and one month until my next life-chapter, I’ve decided to write this manifesto for my final Plotzk entry. I dedicate it to all the giants whose shoulders I’ve stood on throughout medical school. Reader, please count yourself among them. 

I’ve been told it’s best to start where you are. Me: I’m on Eastern Parkway, between Franklin and Classon Avenues, in apartment 3G, in my bed. I am single again. I still play piano. I love plants, poetry, writing, interior decorating; I’m learning how to enjoy TV shows. I just expectantly bought a new pair of sneakers that should support my pronating ankles the next time I try to run.  (These are all activities in solitude – odd for this apparent extrovert). I care very much about my relationships, even if lately it’s been difficult to find time to give them the attention I think they deserve.

I moved to New York six years ago in order to change. I wanted to make new friendships, and do meaningful work.  I stayed to cultivate those friendships; to expand the latitude of that work. The friendships coagulated into a community of people from my job, medical school, childhood, college, and also my neighbors in Prospect Heights.  My work demanded I learn to appreciate the wholeness of the human body, as well as what happens when that wholeness is threatened.

I meditated a lot. I was a hypochondriac for a little while. I became slightly desensitized to blood, vomit, excrement, and physical deformities. I swallowed more coffee than I did water, milk, and orange juice combined. I walked (wobbled, marched, hiked) through as many shoes as I could afford. Then I went to Vietnam, where I learned to be a less stingy.  I indulgently tried to write down everything I could here. Maybe I believed keeping that record solidified the reality of my stories.

And here we are.

Now what? I want be a good doctor, for starters. I’d like to do good research in the process, possibly get involved with global health again if the opportunity presents itself. I’ve decided to keep blogging, in order to also solidify the reality of my residency experience.  I want a community of colleagues inside the hospital. I want a home that feels like home in Queens. In both places I want to spend my time as an expression of my truest self.

The next four years will be devoted to cultivating the art of process. I still believe everything I accomplish will be the cumulative sum of several small steps, which usually feel like nothing at the time. Switchbacks up a mountain. And, with any luck I will also deepen my compassion through my work; hopefully I’ll allow the joys and tragedies of my patients to make their imprints.

So, it seems I’m on the same trajectory as before. But, like a tree that has yet to bear fruit, I have obvious growing to do.  You, lovely reader, have been my nourishment and my witness. Thank you so so much. Please stay tuned.