I first became friends with Lily when I found out she was failing anatomy during my first semester of med school. It was a doomed friendship.
I was pretty lonely back then, so I certainly wouldn’t have turned away any friends at that time. Lily had a lot of important qualities I look for in a friend: she was nice, she was talkative, and most importantly, she wanted to be my friend too.
Lily had a great sob story. Her roommates, who were also her lab partners, were really mean to her. She ate some of their cereal and they screamed at her. I could relate to that.
Except there were always these signs that her stories weren’t exactly true. Like maybe she wasn’t as much of a victim as she made herself out to be. Namely, I knew one of her roommates pretty well and that girl was awesome. The roommate told me some stories about Lily that made my toes curl, but I told myself that it was probably just misunderstandings.
I tried to help Lily as much as I could. The thing is, it actually wasn’t that easy to fail anatomy where I went to school. The professor provided us with old exam questions that repeated each year, so all you had to do was go through the last few years of old exams. You might not honor, but you’d pass. Unless, of course, your knowledge of anatomy was so poor that you had zero chance of passing the practical or answering any questions that weren’t direct repeats.
Unfortunately, Lily was in that position. When we went over basic anatomy, she knew nothing. I genuinely tried to help her, but I could tell there was no way she was going to pass the final. And I was right.
Also, she failed all her other classes that semester.
Even though she didn’t tell me this, I heard from a reputable source that Lily had officially flunked out. I wasn’t sure what to believe though, because Lily kept going to classes like nothing had happened. In fact, when we were reforming lab groups for the second semester, she asked us if we could kick out a member of our group so that she could be part of the group instead.
Moreover, she continued to expect me to help her study. She wanted me to put aside my own work to help her. If she wasn’t even in our class anymore, it seemed a bit selfish for her to ask that of me. It got to the point where I felt like she was pestering me all the time. I would have just walked into the histology lab and immediately Lily would find me and say, “Hey, Fizzy, how have you been studying for the histology exam?”
Me: “I’m not sure. I just started studying like two minutes ago.”
Lily: “Yes, but what have you done so far?”
Me: “I told you, nothing. I just started two minutes ago. Literally.”
Lily: “Oh, okay.”
Then she would leave and come back in five minutes:
Lily: “So what have you been studying?”
And she started pestering me during class too. We had histology lectures where we would watch a large TV with slides on it while the lecturer talked about them (don’t you wish you were in med school?). And Lily would constantly ask me questions during these lectures:
Lily: “What did he say that was?”
Lily: “What about bone?”
Me: “I don’t know! It’s just bone!”
What I really wanted to say was, “Maybe I’d know more about the slide if you’d shut up for a minute.”
Anyway, it eventually got back to me that Lily thought I didn’t like her anymore.
It made me feel bad to hear that. I think we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been friends with someone and all of a sudden, they didn’t seem to like us anymore. And you wrack your brain, thinking, “What did I do wrong? What’s wrong with me?” I didn’t want to do that to someone. I’m nice. And I generally have a high limit of tolerance for annoying behavior. But Lily had managed to exceed that limit.
After about a month, Lily stopped going to class and she did end up repeating that year. We never became BFFs, but we were friendly. I wish I could say this story had a happy ending for Lily, but it doesn’t. At the very least, it got worse before it got better.