Finally – exams are done. The last of them were today and I am feeling the effects of “re-entry”, a phenomenon characterized by a lack of all social grace and skill. My ability to small talk is shot, and my patience for normal social conventions gone. I am confused by the simplest of conversations and my personal mannerisms, my tone, my affect are blunted. I’m not sure how to describe it but I know that I am not alone.
A friend of mine after the exams today told me that he had a family dinner on Sunday that he had to attend and all I could think was – you poor bastard, and the funny thing was that he was looking for the sympathy. I understand where he is at. This is not to say that he won’t have a good time, or that I wouldn’t love to see my own family, but rather we’re a poor choice for company right now. I can imagine my friend at his house, sitting with his family not being capable of decent conversation. It’s as though it moves too fast and the little clues, the gaps and spaces that normally allow one to take advantage and converse are gone. It’s like being autistic (or autistic as far as I can imagine it at this point). I should point out here that it’s not necessarily limited to medical students, in fact some of the worse cases I have seen are with those post-PhD defense. If you have the chance try and talk to someone who has just defended and I think you’ll notice the poor verbals skills and spaced look, much like I am wearing right now.
A positive aspect of the re-entry phenomenon is the feeling of once again stepping into the real world and remembering that there is more than school, and that there are other activities out there besides studying. Life goes on despite the little hiatus. I’m glad to be back in it.