Friday, April 17, 2015

My Cohort Mates: The Slightly-to-Extremely Odd Characters Surrounding Me

Orin from Parks and Rec

I obviously can't provide a picture of the real Cool Guy, but this man captures the overall essence.

She beams radiantly  in comparison to our Stare-down Queen.
I'm grouped with just over one hundred other first-year students at my medical school. We take all courses together until we get to choose between a few electives next year. The room in which we have our longest course is large enough that we're not totally packed in like sardines and even have room to take up extra seats with our belongings, but we're still entirely too familiar with one another for my comfort and probably for anyone else's. I know more than I really want to know about virtually everyone in the room, and I assume most of them would say the same about me

My medical school has an extremely low acceptance rate 
(somewhere around 1.4 %). This would indicate that most of the people around me are achievers.  I don't think I've shared my MCAT scores on this blog. They were considered quite high, but I've been told three people had scores higher than mine. I have not been told who those three people are, but I have it narrowed down to five people, all of whom I make it a habit to collaborate with on a regular basis. I collaborate with others as well, though. I'm not an intellectual snob.

When you spend as much time together as a group as we do, the quirks of others begin to stand out in most salient ways. I shall share a bit about some of the quirkier people with whom i spend my weekdays.

You may have seen the TV sitcom Parks and Recreation. I don't love sitcoms in general, but Parks and Recreation is classic with regard to its characters. One very minor but memorable character was April's friend Orin - a tall, Gothic vampire-like entity. A guy in my cohort bears such an uncanny physical and psychological resemblance to the character of Orin that it's as if he steps out of the TV into the auditorium for class, then steps back into the TV for Parks and Rec reruns. He leaves his cape in the TV, but dresses in black pants and a black turtleneck every day as far as I've noticed. I don't know if it's the same pants and turtleneck or if he has a closet full of identical garments. He talks as little as possible. You'd expect someone as anti-social and outrightly odd to be a bit of a misfit socially, but there are actually girls in the cohort who hit on him. Vampirism is apparently trending now. If I find out that Orin (not his real name, obviously) is considering hematology as a specialty I will have a serious case of the willies. All I know is that when we arrive at the time in pre-clerkship that we have to practice inserting IVs into each other to master the skill, I will make it a point to be as far from him as possible. No one will want to practice on me anyway, as they'll risk looking really bad when they can't locate my tiny veins.

I've briefly discussed  Cool Guy -- the one who first used the name "Cutthroat Bitch" in reference to me.  I wonder if he has Addison's Disease, which is an adrenal condition, suffered by the late JFK,  one symptom of which is a year-round tan with no sun exposure. I haven't seen  Cool Guy's  parents, but his sister has been here, and she's every bit as white as I am. Ethnically speaking, he's supposedly not Italian or anything Mediterranean, although one never knows when the Maytag repairman was involved in someone's genesis. His surname is Scandinavian.  It's most likely that he either visits a tanning salon or gets fake tans on a regular basis. We're in The Golden State, but we're in northern California, where we don't have summer weather and endless sun all year long, and the nearest beaches aren't all that great considering what I've grown accustomed to since living and attending school on the southern tip of the central coast. He puts enough gel in his rapidly-thinning hair (at twenty-six, he's a couple of  years older than the average first-year med student; our mean age was 22 years, seven months at the start of the year) to render a brick establishment impenetrable to an 8.0 earthquake.  I suspect he'll be getting hair plugs before he gets his medical doctorate. He'll want to find a way to do it on the down-low, though, as he's so vain about his appearance that he'd die if anyone knew he got hair implants. Vanity notwithstanding, Cool Guy is reasonably sharp. Any spare time he's not spending looking at his reflection, he's probably studying. He's not an altogether unpleasant person, either. He was one of the first people to come to my aid when the third-year student leveled me on the steps outside of our building.

I've already shared enough about Bimbo and Olivia to last a lifetime. I don't want to expend much more energy on their drama. Suffice it to say that their somewhat sick symbiotic relationship continues.

There's a particular female from an Asian nation who sits in the second row of the auditorium near the center. I can say this because several Asian girls sit there, and if i don't give descriptions too specific, none of them will know specifically to whom I'm referring should they come across this blog except in an if-the-shoe-fits-wear-it sort of sense.  Anyway, this person rarely looks at or even faces the lecturer. Instead, it's as though she singles out a different individual and mean- mugs the person for the entire session of lecture. I haven't yet been on the receiving end of her glares, but I assume my turn will come. The woman must be listening to the lecture because she types as though she's taking notes, and her test scores I've seen have been relatively high. On one test she wouldn't show her paper. I don't think she would have the social sense to withhold a test paper because the score was embarrassingly high, so I would guess that her score on the particular test didn't please her. She probably has high standards, though, so her reluctance to show the paper wouldn't necessarily indicate she was anywhere near Bimbo's league.

Another guy has what I would guess to be chronic motor tic disorder bordering on full-scale Tourette Syndrome. Contrary to pop culture portrayals, most Tourette sufferers don't blurt random obscenities, and neither does he. his prominent manifestation is an unusual squirm and shifting of his spine. I suppose musculoskeletal disorder is not out of the question, but it looks a lot more like Tourette to me. He's a bit quiet but not entirely antisocial. The squirm used to make me uncomfortable, but I've somewhat grown accustomed to it and barely notice it at this point.

There's one woman in our group who seems to consider herself something of a runway model, though I don't think she's impressing any of us with her rather bizarre wardrobe choices. Her nails are elaborately done each day to complement whatever outfit she is wearing. She seems to look at the rest of us as though we are utterly pathetic in our rather casual attire. Only  Cool Guy appears to meet her standards of dress. He doesn't really dress any more fashionably than do the rest of us, but he's so cool that his coolness transcends any wardrobe inadequacies.  The only time La Fashionista has ever paid the slightest notice of me was the first day after Jared's cousin and my friend  Alyssa visited and had done my nails with a piano keyboard motif, at which time she actually approached me and complimented me on my nails. The next day she appeared rather dismissive of me, however, as I had the slovenly audacity to sport the  same nail motif two days in a row.  I'm curious as to how she will handle medical and surgical clerkship rotations, not to mention an internship. when a person is lucky to get six hours of sleep at one stretch, when she places such a high premium on fingernail art. Most 3rd-year students bite their nails to keep them in check.

My brother is relatively popular with the group as a whole. I've been somewhat anonymous, though someone must have noticed something about me for me to have earned my nickname. People still call out "Cutthroat Bitch" in a friendly way when I enter the room. I continue to act as though it's  a compliment.

We had a rather intense exam today, but I felt like i was adequately prepared. I dread receiving the papers back only to the extent that it may further cement my relationship as a cutthroat botch if I scored especially high. Nonetheless, it's a hell of a lot better than being afraid of having failed the exam.


  1. I have failed many exams in my lifetime... But then, I never aspired to saving anyone's life.

    1. My mm keeps telling me it's not the end of the world to fail an exam, although I''m not sure she's ever failed one. My brother has, and he says you just move on.

  2. Dwelling on an failure is never helpful. Interesting group you've got!

  3. Plus ca change.i can recognize (recall) each of theses types fro, my own days. Keep being amused by them. Some of them morph into " normal" people. Some rebels become arch conservatives. Some fall by the wayside. People are endlessly interesting

    1. i suspect i can accurately predict where each of the more eccentircg students will end up, but only time will tell.

  4. I thought this was extremely funny-- "If I find out that Orin (not his real name, obviously) is considering hematology as a specialty I will have a serious case of the willies." I can see you as a doctor diagnosing someone with having a serious case of the willies.

    Also this supports my theory that the guy who gave you the cutthroat bitch nickname likes you or has a crush on you-- "He was one of the first people to come to my aid when the third-year student leveled me on the steps outside of our building." Also it sounds like you like him with what you say and giving him the nickname "the cool guy."