Junior year was probably my second favorite year at SJU. This was the year that I moved off campus and started to find myself. Living off campus allowed me a bit more freedom in the hours I kept, which was good because that year I had started working part time off campus to make money. I found early in the fall semester that I didn’t have the time, or the desire, to continue tutoring but I still needed a way to earn tuition and still live off campus.
Unlike the two previous years where I had classes scheduled throughout the day, that year I decided to have all of my classes in the morning each day which would allow me to work a few hours each evening and still keep up with all of my coursework. I managed to find a job as a hotel concierge in the evenings, which allowed me to study while working and also allowed me to work on my people skills. I’m not going to say I enjoyed the work, but it was better than some of the other options I had looked in to.
The money wasn’t that great, but at the time you could still find a place to stay for not a lot of money. It was close to campus, and the neighborhood was nice. The apartment was sparsely furnished, a bed, couch and space to study is all I really needed. My routine was simple, wake up, go to class, then head home to grab something to eat and study. After all that I would head off to work for a few hours. The hardest part was trying to stay in shape. With such a hectic schedule it was easy to just grab something quick and tell myself I’d go to the gym later to make up for it. Probably should have gained more than I did, but most days I would forget to eat at least once, so I wasn’t consuming more than I was burning which helped keep some of the weight off.
Classes were not as challenging that year as I was expecting. Most of the hard ones had already been taken the previous years so all I had left were a handful of major classes and the general education courses that were required by every student to take. Having classes that didn’t require much time allowed me to start getting ready to take the medical school entrance exams (MCAT’s).
I knew that the MCAT test consisted of four parts, Physical Science, Verbal Reasoning, Writing, and Biological Sciences. When I started going over the material I could tell that the most challenging parts would be the one part of the physical sciences section of the exam. In the years I had been at SJU I had covered Biology, Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, but had not yet tried to take a Physics course which would be covered in that section of the exam. The Spring semester of junior year I signed up for the Physics class that was offered in the morning, which included lab, and started studying before the semester started to get a head start.
The spring semester went by uneventfully. I had my physics courses and general education courses, and continued to work at the hotel. Sadly by the end of that semester you could notice a drop-off in the number of people continuing on in the program. Most switched out to other programs, but a few left the university entirely to go to another school. There was maybe 20 of us that had stuck it out to the end of the semester, and even then some of those who stayed probably shouldn’t have. All that was left for me was one more year and then I’d be off to medical school.
I also found out at the end of the year that my old girlfriend Anna had decided to move back to her home town to take a position as a school nurse, which was probably good for her. She had some training with internal medicine and had been working part time at the local hospital helping out the nurses. At the time I wasn’t sure I would see her again, but funny how things turn out in the end.