I’m sitting at my dinner table in my parent’s house following our basketball team’s incredible win in the Final Four that sends us to the National Championship. This hasn’t happened in 20 years, and I am at home with my cat attempting to study physics but mostly wanting to cry over the fact that I am not in Ann Arbor (or Atlanta) with my fellow wolverines. I’m home because I have a physics exam next week that I need to ace to save my grade, and I knew that being in Ann Arbor would keep me from studying. Now I’m asking myself if it is going to be worth it in the end.
If I didn’t have an exam this coming week, I would probably be in Atlanta right now. No, I’m not the world’s biggest basketball fan—I honestly didn’t watch many games until March Madness—but I knew what making it to the Final Four meant, and I know what this win today means. I was 6 months old the last time Michigan went this far in the tournament, and now it has happened while I am actually a student here. I don’t know if this will happen again.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the weekend off. Being pre-med is tough. It brings a lot of stress, not only because of the class load but also because of the looming application process that will focus so heavily on my GPA. I’ve missed a lot of important things to study for exams, and while I always try to convince myself that in the long run it will be worth it, I really question that sometimes.
I missed my best friend’s 21st birthday studying for my first physics exam. Luckily, she understood, and I was able to celebrate with her later. I missed my grandmother’s funeral studying for my second exam. I don’t get to re-do that, and I still feel this overwhelming guilt when I think about not being there. And now I have missed seeing our team advance to the championship game (and potentially win that championship game) attempting to study for this third exam.
It’s true that I am here at U of M to get an education. But this year more than ever, I’ve really started to regret not being able to experience things that I wish I could. I will never spend a semester abroad, because being pre-med doesn’t really allow for that. I spend a lot of Friday and Saturday nights at the library. I’ve accepted that my career of choice requires this of me, and for the most part, I am proud that I work as hard as I do.
On nights like tonight, though, I wonder. I wonder if I’m going to be so happy with where I am in 20 years that I’ll forget about the experiences I passed up on. I really hope so.
For now, all I can do is try to focus on these electromagnetic waves and hope that our boys in blue make us proud on Monday. I’ll be cheering them on with my physics notes in front of me. Go blue.