On Being Local

Leah N., M1

Having spent my entire childhood in St. Louis, plus three years after graduation from college, I was exceedingly reluctant to spend at least the next four years at medical school in St. Louis. The fact that WUSM was in St. Louis was its least attractive quality to me, since I was really looking forward to exploring a new environment as part of this new chapter in my life. Once I started school though, it became clear that my expectations about living in my hometown — which were to feel bored and under stimulated — were quite off base. Beginning medical school marked a huge transition in my life involving exciting new challenges, a new routine, new academic stimuli and a new and larger community. In the face of all of these changes, the familiar environment has become a welcome source of stability. Having close friends and family nearby, and even simply knowing my favorite places to go for various purposes, has afforded me a few less obstacles to tackle. Finally, having a new community in medical school has even helped transform St. Louis for me, as I come to see old places in a new light and explore new ground in the area.