I love Starbucks a lot, but believe it or not, I used to love it even more in college because it was where I did 80% of my studying. I don’t know what it was about the Starbucks near my campus that made me so productive, but I really did study the best at Starbucks and would literally spend up to 10 hours a day at the same table. By my senior year, all the baristas knew me by name and I would occasionally get a free drink or sweets from them!
For this reason, every time I go to Starbucks and see college students studying, I feel nostalgic for those days, but at the same time, I’m immensely glad that I’ve changed since those stressful college days. I’m not really sure why I changed (maturity perhaps? not sure I feel quite like an adult yet, though!), but I find myself a more relaxed person now. In college, every little thing seemed like a huge deal, and I would stress out about things as minor as the wording of questions I wanted to ask the TAs (I was always so worried they would think I was so dumb, but once I was a TA in grad school it was such an interesting perspective to be on the other side — more on this next time!). I dismissed the importance of taking breaks and taking time for myself because everything else seemed too important to me, and in retrospect, I have some regrets that I didn’t get to spend enough time with friends and instead spent way to much time fretting over things that now seem so trivial.
I’m sure my experience is not unique and that many pre-meds, current or former, can relate. My college friends will wholeheartedly agree with me when I say that I was probably the most Type A as anyone could be, but now, I’ve definitely learned when I just need to let things go and relax. Some things are just out of your control and it’s not healthy to stress about things that are out of your hands! This isn’t to say that I never stress out anymore or that I’ve lost all of my Type A personality, because that’s not true at all. Everyone is stressed from time to time, and medical school is hard and stressful, but I’ve moved away from my college mentality of thinking that I had to worry about every little thing or else the world will come to an end (and really, this isn’t too far from how dramatic I probably was being back then). I think it’s also something about the “college bubble” that only exacerbates this mentality. For the most part, the bubble of being in college allows you to be pretty isolated from the real world and I think a lot of times, this can skew your perspective so that everything in your little college bubble seems so much more exaggerated than it actually is. But alas, those days are over, so now, when I go to Starbucks and see other stressed out college students, I empathize with them and reminisce about those days, but I’m definitely glad I’ve moved away from the college mentality — because life should be about so much more than letting minor mishaps and bumps in the road consume your life!