Monthly Archives: April 2012

Shipping Up To…

…Boston?!

I guess I should explain myself.

As many of you know, I am currently enrolled in the NYU post-baccalaureate pre-health studies program (AKA the NYU post-bacc). Most post-bacc programs are designed to implant out-of-college students into all the pre-med pre-requisites for med school (bio I, bio II, chem I, chem II, phsyics I, physics II, calculus, English/expository writing, orgo I, orgo II, an advanced bio/chem, etc.). Unfortunately, as a pre-DPT (a rarity in the post-bacc program, but becoming more normal) I have slightly different pre-reqs than a pre-MD. This has created quite the headache, I must say. And this headache is what has indirectly led me to Boston.

ARE YOU BORED YET?! (Here’s a blue-footed boobie doing an awesome mating-dance move to lure you back!)

What, lists of pre-med pre-requisites aren’t fun to read?! Look, this has been my life for the past year (you’re lucky I’m keeping the colligative properties and earthworm anatomical features out of this post). It has not been very sexy to read about, I get it. There has been no sipping of pisco sours in the sparkling evening light of a colonial plaza, no deciding which bikini to pack for my next travel adventure, no plane rides, no tans, no dancing all night in the sand, and certainly no snorkeling with hammerhead sharks (already checked that off the list!).

Rather than the usual rainbow of adventures, this past year has been, well, a couple shades of grey (in terms of adventure — no I am NOT referring to that book!). I’ve traveled so little this past year that the idea of going to Boston is actually thrilling! But don’t you go thinking that I didn’t get something out of the past year…

Maybe wandering down exotic cobblestoned streets was replaced with a repetitive 15-minute walk to Washington Square Park. Trips to Argentina were replaced with trips… to the library. My world shrank from everywhere to a few drab science buildings on the NYU campus. Part of me spent the year in withrdrawal from my cold-turkey life change, and part of me was too busy to even catch my breath and miss anything.

The good news is, I’ve (almost) made it through year one! It’s unreal. The difference I feel now compared to those first few weeks in Biology and Chemistry with a bunch of (echem, 800 of them) AP Bio and Chem kids is amazing. To say I sat there and had absolutely NO idea what the professors were talking about that first week is a major understatement. I felt like I was taking pre-med classes in Swahili. And, this might be news to you, but I don’t actually speak Swahili…

I went from feeling like a complete impostor pretending to be one of “them” to being the first one to grab a knife, cut open a fetal pig’s thoracic cavity, and pull out its heart. This transition has been weird and awkward, like becoming a teenager all over again, but somewhere along the course of the year, I began to feel right at home in my lab coat and goggles.

Speaking of home, let’s get back to the whole Boston thing. Here is the bottom line: my lease is about to end (moving tomorrow, in fact… I should definitely be packing), NYU does not offer a few of the courses I need, nor does it have space in some classes for non-matriculated “special students” like me. For better or worse, the allied health profession courses (pre-vet, pre-physical therapy, pre-phsysician assistant, nursing) are overflowing, and there are a limited number of dead creatures to dissect, so you can’t just squeeze extra students in. That, in addition to the whole NYC thing…

OK, this is going to come as a shock to many of you because I am the girl who was born and raised here and loves NYC to its core but… something has changed and it’s not NYC; it’s me.

Do I still love NYC? ABSOLUTELY. I always will. But do I hate it a little right now too? … Yes.

Being a student in New York is much crueler than even I imagined it would be. The rents are so astronomical, it’s hard to explain them to non-New Yorkers, and hard to justify them to myself. And it’s not just that; the whole apartment-hunting process is a NIGHTMARE. You can’t even start looking at apartments until you’re one or two weeks away from losing yours, and then you have to visit a bunch of crapholes (ok — that is my case since I am a student… echem) with a check-book in hand, because if you don’t put the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, security deposit, application fee AND broker’s fee (usually a pretty terrifying total) up front within a couple hours, you will lose the apartment.

I can’t live like that! Not to mention, I have this inner domestic side that has come out and is screaming for mercy. I want more space, more peace and quiet, maybe even a porch! But, I can’t give up city living completely. NYC is a tough town in general, but add being a long-term student to the mix and it is like choosing to live in the shitty basement over a beautiful mansion. I don’t need a mansion, but I do need and want more space, and more bang for my very small buck. The reality sunk in this year: I just can’t afford to be a student in this town. I hate to leave my family, but I can barely enjoy all that NYC has to offer. Even if I leave NYU (a necessity given the fact that I can’t complete my pre-requisites here), the other NYC options — Brooklyn College, Hunter, CCNY, Pace — are also overwhelmed with students. Sure, a few of those are a bit cheaper, but they require an application, and then, once accepted, that would make me a non-matriculated, non-post-bacc student, which basically gives me the scraps of course availability. I’d be registering AFTER everyone else, and after talking with admissions/bursars office representatives from each and every one of these schools, it became clear that this means I probably would not get into the courses I need… And I’m not wasting any time here. Let’s get this ball rolling!

And then there is the Harvard Extension School. I thought about this place way at the beginning, but after just moving home from Quito, Ecuador, I didn’t want to be anywhere but NYC. Funny how things change in a year.

To wrap things up, let me just say that — after years of telling myself I had absolutely no interest in living in Boston — I am now SO looking forward to this move. My dad is from Dorchester. He’s a real Boston guy, from Boston Latin School to Harvard… He’s still got the accent and the sports loyalties… I definitely have a little New England swag in me. In a way, Boston already feels like home. But now I have to make it home. The hard work begins in JUNE!

OK — I have a TON to do today. Let’s just end by saying I’m ready to pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd. That said, you can take the girl out of NYC, but you can’t take the NYC out of the girl… I don’t actually have a cah, so I’ll have to do without. It is now your job to tell me about your favorite bars and restaurants in Boston so I can enjoy the heck out of Boston the only way I know how.

Life is crazy. Another whirlwind year, another apartment, another city… Time to roll with all the changes once again. And here’s to hoping there is a little more adventure in the next year… in any form that takes on because, as you can probably tell, I don’t “do” boring well.

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