Friday, August 1, 2014

Is This It? I Hope Not

An old email I sent to Don right
after he announced that the Vanderbilt
 program was available to everyone.
Late last year, around December, I remember being accepted into the interview portion of this whole adventure. My friends knew, my family, even people in Nigeria knew because of my parents. There was a lot of pressure not only from myself but from people around me. I felt like I needed to make it into the program because there were so many of people in my school that I thought deserved it more than I did. I've always been my harshest critic so after my interview, I felt as if I did everything wrong. Low and behold I made it. I remember exactly how how it was announced. "We wish we could take all of you but we can't. So these are the four that we are accepting; we want Jasmine, Shanti, Chiamaka, and we want Carson." To be honest it felt like the lady was speaking so slowly and every syllable felt so stretched out. It felt like a really long time before she said my name. I also remember being really happy for Shanti because she was my best friend and I thought she deserved it more than anyone. After she said my name, I was so happy. I don't think I can remember a time before when I had been that happy. I remember turning to hug Shanti, but she wasn't there because she had to leave early for an Orchestra concert. Because of my placement in the interviews, I wouldn't have made it to my Orchestra concert. But at that moment, it was okay because I was going to Vanderbilt. 
The three Musketeers

Being accepted into the program with my best friend made it that much sweeter. For the rest of the school year, Shanti and I talked endlessly about how much fun we were going to have this summer. I remember being on the football field one night with her and we were yelling at the top of our lungs "Nashville here we come!" To be perfectly honest, I thought our cohort was perfect the way it was. We had the best week of traveling ever. I think the only awkward day we had, was the first night in New York where no one really talked but after that, we all became really good friends. I remember having awesome late night conversations with Jasmine and Shanti. Jasmine was quiet at first but in no time we were all really close. We spent most of our first week traveling all together laughing at insiders we had made up the night before. I feel like if Jasmine went to my school, her and I would be really close friends. Jasmine and I were really excited for our class. I was thrilled to learn that she wanted to be a pediatrician or do something in Neurology or both. I believe that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Fourth of July was probably my favorite day. I got to see the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and more. We got to see the fireworks from the best view possible. I loved seeing the museums but it was the company that made all the difference. 

best roommate I could ask for
Coming to Vanderbilt was nerve wrecking to say the least. I was so nervous about not making any friends. I'm not the most social person and I easily saw myself holed up in my dorm not talking to anyone. I remember being so scared that my roommate would already have friends and would forget all about me. Boy was I wrong! I've made better friends here than I've made anywhere else. Everyone was so nice. Southern hospitality is definitely real. I don't think I remember meeting anybody that was rude. During the first week at VSA, it seemed like everyone was returner and all the returners stuck together so it was hard to make friends with people that already had their own friend group. But after that, everyone was so open and it was easier to talk to people. My roommate, Chelsea, and I became so much closer and we got in trouble a few times for talking past 11 o'clock. Shanti, Jasmine, Abigail, Stephanie, and Kristina were the best breakfast, lunch, and dinner buddies a girl could ask for. And of course all the girls in our proctor for being great friends. 

Being in our Med class was unlike any class I've ever been in. Everyone was so smart. I felt so behind, and felt as if my education was not on the level that it should be. But, I was learning so much just by listening. If I could do it over, I would have definitely talked a lot more in class. I was challenged with topics that were sometimes over my head but for the most part, it was a really good class. Shadowing in the OR was the best experience in my life. I got to see an actual heart! This might be a strange reason to be excited, but for me it was the best. I aspire to be heart surgeon and it would be a dream come true to be able to see and fix broken hearts for the rest of my life. Being in this class was so hands on. I remember being able to touch a lung that had cancer (with gloves of course). My only regret is I didn't take a picture in my scrubs. It's okay because I'm most likely going to spend the rest of my career in scrubs. 

I am forever grateful to the Ivy League connections for providing me with this life changing opportunity. I've learned a lot about myself and about my future in education. I will never really think of school the same way. I've always noticed the aspects of our school that could change for the better, but because of the Ivy League Connection, I feel empowered to be the person to change it. I would like to say that I challenge myself but this program has made me realize that I am not challenging myself enough or not in the right places. I can't wait for the Ivy League Connection to see what I do with these experiences in the future. 

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