ferry1.jpgMemorial Day just passed and the free day could not have come at a better time. Most of last week was spent on introductory classes, and we were given quite a bit of free time in order to adjust to our surroundings and bond with each other.

This week, although not as hectic as the ones in front of us (I couldn’t help but look at the next couple of weeks’ schedule), is still going to be a busy one. But before I let my mind wonder about the challenges of next week, I want to pay special tribute to this week.

Being a science major, I have sat through a handful of science lectures regarding various topics from the brain to earthworms. Last week we sat through lectures that showcased a great deal of variety. We learned the important structures of the thorax and even got to look at x-rays at one of our imaging lectures. Medical ethics was another topic that we got a flavor of this past week. Our topic was rather interesting. Is medicine a science or not? One would be surprised at the variety of answers that emerged from that one question, not to mention that it took us a full two hours to discuss the topic.

ferry2.jpgAside from classroom activities, most people took advantage of the free afternoons and long weekends. This past Thursday, a group of us took a ferry to one of the nearby islands here in Galveston.

thestrand1.jpg The water had a ton of surprises, from dolphins to pelicans diving into it. However, the sight of the actual island where we docked was a bit more depressing. Just like some of the buildings and houses on the island itself, one can see the havoc that Hurricane Ike caused. It was a moment of reflection on my part as I really took in the effects of the natural disaster. It was impressive to see how the residents here are coping with the situation at hand and admirable how quite a number chose to remain on the island. Now, that’s courage.

The first week is over, and yet I feel like I have learned so much more than have given back to this community.

Some lessons from the week:

1. Never underestimate the power of time. Although it is not capable of bringing things back exactly to their previous condition, it gives people time to heal, something important for the process of rebuilding.

2. A camera is a wise investment. Sometimes, pictures really speak louder than words.

thestrand2.jpg3. Going out to shop with girls requires comfortable footwear. You never know when you will spend the next eight hours of your life going to store after store. Trust me, it can happen.

4. If you have never been on a Duck Tour of a city, I highly recommend it. There’s no better feeling than going about 23 mph on a vehicle designed for war combat.

5. Take time to appreciate things that come naturally like the roof over your head or hot breakfast. You won’t like it when they are taken away from you.