We were in the depths of the most grueling exam period of Mod 1 – the ominous three-day stretch that sat between us and Thanksgiving break. The administration had even warned our parents about this particular set of exams during orientation, telling them that this was going to be one of the hardest weeks of our first year and to make sure we were eating and sleeping and in good spirits. But instead of thinking about epidemiology, microbiology, immunology, and anatomy (those darn cranial nerves that you’ll learn to love and hate soon enough!), the Penn Med intramural (IM) volleyball team was focused on one thing – winning the IM volleyball playoffs.
Atasha, our team captain, had texted the group earlier that week with the bad news that the playoffs would be during our exams, assuming that most people wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice study time for the matches. But one by one, each of our teammates chimed in: “I’m 100% down to play!”… “Penn Med pride!! I wanna kick those dental kids’ [butts]”… “#PassNowPassLater”… “#Atasha4President”
We had suffered only one loss the entire season, and it was to the Penn Dental team, Drill ‘n Kill. Our one chance at redemption was to make it to the championship round to face off with the Dental team again, and we were hungry for that victory.
Playoff game #1, the night before the microbiology and immunology exams, was an easy win over a psychology grad student team. Game #2, the night before the big anatomy exam, was a slightly more challenging win against an undergraduate engineering team, but we pulled through unscathed and ecstatic that we were going to the championships!!!
The championship match against the Dental team was a white-knuckled roller coaster. They pulled ahead early on with a run of hard serves in the first game, a lead we weren’t able to overcome. In the second game, we regrouped and pulled our secret weapon, Greg, our towering and unparalleled middle hitter, to the front row to put the ball down. We drove forward with a few serving runs of our own, and were leading by three or four points for much of the game. In the end, they caught back up with us, and in “overtime” managed to snag the win from us 25-27. It was an exhilarating game and as satisfying as a loss could be, knowing we had fought our hardest and left it all out on the court.
I had assumed that my volleyball days were over after playing throughout middle school, high school, and club in college. But the IM spirit is very much alive and kicking at Perelman, with many MS1s participating in IM soccer, football, ultimate Frisbee, and of course volleyball (just to name a few).
The IM volleyball Spring league began March 18th, and you can bet the Penn Med Gun Show is faster, stronger and better than ever.
Jessica Dong is an MS1 who calls many places home, including San Francisco, CA; Rockville, MD; and Naperville, IL. Jessica graduated from Dartmouth College in 2012 with a degree in Biology and a minor in environmental studies. Outside of school she enjoys running, frequenting farmer’s markets, cooking, and traveling.