coffee date #34 with nataline elmasri
senior 🥺, SKister, future doc!, AMSA prez, Palestinian, green tea fan
me: chicken caesar salad & a panini (lmfao I was too hungry during this date) | nataline: green tea
location: panera bread, new jersey
I met Nataline through Sigma Kappa. I always thought she was one of the sweetest humans ever despite never having an actual conversation with her.
I think the first time we actually talked was when we decided to party together for the first time. There were a total of seven of us and we were all in our cute black dresses (photo evidence below), posing for some pictures before we squished into a singular car to make our way to the party.
I remember we were having the time of our lives that night, dancing to some bops (even made it onto an elevated surface) and just wholeheartedly vibing. I have so many videos and selfies from that night it’s ridiculous. Ever since that night, Nataline and I became a lot more comfortable with each other and we’d exchange a few conversations here and there whenever we saw each other.
She then texted me towards the end of the last semester and asked if I’d be interested in being involved in another position with AMSA as I was already involved in the club. Texts make me gush, especially when they’re unexpected, so that’s why I remember that because it just made me happy that she thought of me ☺️.
It’s this school year, though, that we actually started talking a lot more (we also do have a class together!) It’s just easy to talk to Nataline. It’s also the fact that she’s pre-med, which probably also played a role in making me feel a lot more connected towards her. There’s that collective, underlying struggle/impatience/anxiety that comes with being a pre-med that I feel like kinda just brings everyone together LOL.
This coffee date was a lot quicker than some of my previous ones. However, it was very much straight to the point and insightful. Diving into the world of Nataline Elmasri….
- Giving everyone a chance in college
I’ve heard Nataline talk about how much she loves the people she lives with in her off-campus house a few times. After hearing her speak about them in that way, I assumed that they probably were best friends since the time they stepped foot onto college. However, Nataline told me that they actually weren’t that close when they all moved in together. It was once they started living together, that their friendship just grew naturally. When I asked what about her housemates makes them so special, she said something along the lines of “overall they’re just a good vibe.” Hell yeah.
What Nataline’s experience further drilled into my head was the idea of giving everyone a chance. College is that incredibly rare time we get to explore ourselves. We can do this branching out to different people and cultivating friendships with people who we may not have thought we could be drawn to initially. My relationship with coffee date #25 is an example of me just walking in to college without any expectations of the type of friendships I wanted! It’s actually insane the number of people you meet in college, who come from such different walks of life. Those are the differences that can create strong, long-lasting bonds.
- ‘Good’ anxiety
As someone who is an anxious individual, I never really cared enough to differentiate between ‘good’ anxiety vs ‘bad’ anxiety. I just associated all kinds of anxiety with ‘bad’ anxiety. Nataline described that she too is an anxious person, but she categorizes her anxiety as ‘good.’ She further elaborated that that is what keeps her motivated and gives her the push she needs to work hard. Without that feeling, she described that she’d probably be never be able to get anything done. Nataline’s description just provided me with a different outlook on such anxious feelings because sometimes dwelling about the fact that I can never calm down does not help me accomplish anything. Thus, associating a rather positive thought with anxious thoughts may help us push through in that moment.
We also touched upon the ‘pre-med anxiety’ and how there’s usually that constant, nagging feeling of never doing enough. Nataline offered this helpful piece of information: medical school admissions counselors don’t even compare you to other people – it’s just you that’s comparing yourself to the others.
“Mind your business. You did all that you could.” – Nataline Elmasri, 2022
She further explained that there’s only so much that we can do. If you have 10000 hours of clinical experience, then it’s okay if you don’t have an equal amount of research hours because there is physically not enough time in a day for you to fit everything! Coming to terms with the fact that what you are doing is enough and understanding that you are not being compared to other people’s applications can help calm all those nerves.
A queen. Thank you Nataline ❤
- Dating in college
I feel like pop culture low-key ingrained in us that college is that time when you’ll find your long lost lover – ya’ll will meet each other, instantly fall in love, and stay together for the rest of your lives. As a current college student myself lemme just convey that that is most definitely not always the case.
There are those rare cases of people who do find their person and they end up having this really awesome romantic story that they can later tell their grandchildren and their children and so on. However, for a lot of us, we’re just not at that emotional maturity yet to be in such a long term relationship (whether you believe it or not). That’s how Nataline described it to me. She knew that she didn’t want to rush into anything because we still have our whole lives ahead of us, so why rush and scramble to find that one person in that one college you go to? We’re not saying that you shouldn’t date at all in college. Obviously if you find your person, then go for it. We’re saying don’t feel like you have to date in college.
I also have this theory that us college students confuse chemistry with compatibility when we’re dating.
Jay Shetty obviously words this concept (podcast below) a lot more eloquently than I am about to. But for me, chemistry is that ‘spark’ you feel when you’re initially with someone. You’re having the time of your life being with them and fooling around. You kinda just brush the little things they do that piss you off under the rug because you don’t want to ruin the perfect thing you have going.
Once that spark dwindles (which it inevitably will because it is impossible to have that same intense feeling for a prolonged period of time), compatibility kicks in. If you feel like you’re compatible with the other person, then you’ll want to stay even after that spark dissipates. If you feel like you’re incompatible, you will struggle to remain in that relationship because this is when you start seeing the differences between the both of you.
Compatibility obviously does not mean liking the same things and being the same person (why would you want to date the same version of yourself? that’s lame). Compatibility is the idea of building each other up and essentially being each other’s #1 best friend. Thus, if you feel like you have to change who the other person is to be more compatible, then (as Jay Shetty puts it) you’re in love with the idea of who that person could potentially be. You are not in love with who that person actually is. Mind-awakening. I know.