Beyond learning actual knowledge, I learned some soft skills first year of dental school. I already wrote about why resilience is so important, and how I hope to better harbor into resilience to push through my second year of dental school next year. There are other skills relevant to living in this great urban Philadelphia.
1. Living without a car is not only possible but kind of nice.
When I said bye-bye to Kasey and left Houston sans car, (I’d already signed the least on my current apartment which does not have a garage) I panicked a little. I’d gotten so used to driving around everywhere. Last year I thought my gym was far away at two miles: I would drive there, work out for 30 minutes, then drive back.
I got used to using public transportation during my summer vacation and learned to use that time catching up on texts, emails, and reading. Buses, subways, trolleys, there are so many options to get anywhere you want at just $1.55 a ride. It’s just wonderful- it’s especially better when you get a trolley operator giving you a tour guide: “And now, just like migratory birds in the springtime, we will travel north up, up, up….”
2. It’s really fun having different seasons!
Houston has only one season: the hot and humid summer. All year around it’s just varying degrees of humidity and heat that will have you running for indoor relief. (Maybe why having a car was so necessary?)
With every month full of exams and non-distinct semesters, I would have never noticed the seasons had I not been in Philadelphia. The beautiful Locust Walk with lush green canopy, tulips and hydrangeas blooming, cherry blossoms forming pink mattresses on top of cars… Marveling at nature and taking time to breathe. Oh- and the snow. Loved it too.
Also miscellaneous ones:
- Food trucks are awesome. During cadaver lab, we walked home along the row of food trucks on Penn campus with their delicious sights and delicious smells. Many trucks have vegan and vegetarian options too!
- Cockroaches and mice aren’t that big of a deal. Sad but true. “You saw a mouse?” “YES!!!!” “At least it wasn’t a rat.”
- Look both ways, even on a one-way street. The main streets that run East-West are one-way’s but still, remember to look both ways before crossing the street. Trust me on this.