If you have some time today (I know, I’m hilarious), take a minute to look up a YouTube video of someone running a 400-meter dash, and specifically watch their last 100 meters. This is the part of the 400-meter where you get what is affectionately referred to as “buttlock” in the track and field world. For that last 100 meters, even Olympic athletes are trying their damnedest to keep form, relax, and stride it out, despite the fact that their body just doesn’t want to do it anymore — I know, minus the butt part, it sounds familiar to me too.
Right now, we’re 300 meters into the fall semester, and at least us first-years are all suffering from a serious case of buttock’s equally enjoyable cousin brainlock. Dumbstruck that our first semester in medical school is almost over — and trying to figure out how time can feel like it’s moving so slowly in class but still go by so fast — this weekend we all prepared for our own home stretch where each of us will try to “keep form,” “relax” and “stride it out” in our own way.
Realistically, this is the last weekend we’ll have any time to ourselves until we taste sweet freedom on the night of December 21. That means that, as I write this column on a lovely Sunday night, not even the gunners are studying, because free time is about to pack it in for the holidays. I, for one, spent the weekend camping with a few other students and rediscovering what it’s like to be social. I know a bunch of people took time to reconnect with their old pal football. And a select few may have gotten a little bit too cozy with their long lost friend Jose Cuervo (hey, to each their own). But however we chose to spend this weekend, that “Sunday night feeling” has finally set in and we have to come to terms with the next three weeks.
So I suppose this column is, in a way, a nod of encouragement to you all, followed by a sigh of farewell to the freedom we’ve only just gotten a taste for again. For us first-years at UAB, it’s time for Microbiology to take its place in the ring, but whatever subject the next three weeks have in store for you, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. And remember: keep form, relax, and stride it out; bad as brainlock is, I’ll take it over its gluteal cousin any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.