I told myself that before I started this program I would make some promises to myself and that I would ask any readers who cared to lend a hand in helping me keep them. (By which I mean, when I’m flipping out six months from now, for someone to smack me and say, “Hey! Remember what you promised?”)

Promise #1: I will remember that this is a hard thing that I am doing and that stumbling along the way is supposed to happen. It is not a sign that I’m stupid or that I’m not cut out to be a doctor someday.

Promise #2: I will remember that this is about challenging myself to the greatest extent of my abilities and that there is a risk of failure involved in that challenge. It is better that I should fail trying than to have never come here at all. Failure at this does not equate failure as a person.

Promise #3: I will stop using caveats to talk about the future. It is when I go to medical school, not if I go to medical school. I have acknowledged that nothing is certain, but qualifying my goals will not help me achieve them.

Promise #4: I will take at least one evening to myself every week to do something that is completely unrelated to school.

Promise #5: I will not worry about my student loans, my glide year job or the MCATs until it is time to worry about them. I will not let my worry about these future problems get in the way of my studies.

Five promises. I am not promising that I will keep them always, but now they are here to refer back to in the coming months. Tomorrow I begin.