My medical school preceptors considered me a rather mediocre student; it was not necessarily a wrong assessment. I kept my head down, I made no waves, I just wanted to be done . . . . because being lower than whale dung really sucks. Other students were much more savvy: look eager, ask lots of questions (especially ones you know the answers), flatter the attendings. Get good evaluations, and you are on your way to the rest of your life.
The rest of my life did not follow, but it is many years later now, and it is a reunion year. The alumni reunion coordinator had no volunteers to be our class co-chairs, so I thought, “Why not?” Why not, indeed. This is not altruism, it is an experiment on myself: I have time, I want to know if this could be my personal Creative Morning, and I am curious how my former classmates define success.
I wrote a reunion letter so inspiring that I am tempted to go to the reunion! And then, the coordinator gets not one, not two, but three more volunteers:
The three of us are willing to be the co-chairs for the upcoming class of ’93 reunion. None of us have a whole lot of time . . . blah blah blah . . .
Well gosh. The Three of Us and Bisy Backson, all in one!
The coordinator has sent my inspirational reunion letter on to The Three of Us, and is sure that they will “connect” with me. She is so optimistic — but I suppose she has to be to deal with medical alumni.
I am back remembering the day I realized that The Three of Us (or rather, The Six of Us, of which The Three of Us was a subset) and I had never been friends. These women were a clique back then, and they remain a clique now. And of course, the core truth of a clique is that while you-the-outsider can clearly identify them as the clique, they do not identify you as anything because they never think about you at all. On that day I remember my truth: “How stupid am I?”
But there is hope yet for my inner Opie: the memories are vivid, but they no longer sting. And that is very good news indeed because I am, of course, on tenterhooks waiting to see whether I will be noticed by The Three of Us Bisy Backsons!
Tenter frames, Otterburn Mill, Northumberland