Feel free to scroll to the bottom for the short answer.
Long answer to how medical school has been:
Since school started, I’ve been asked numerous times by numerous people how things have been going. I was overcome by a wave of calmness in the days leading up to school and told myself that no matter how hard these upcoming weeks will be, I’ve made it this far and I belong here just as much as any of my classmates. It will be quite an adjustment, but I’ll adapt and conquer.
AND AN ADJUSTMENT IT HAS BEEN. In undergrad, I always strove for an A and was confident that I’ll be able to achieve the same results if I worked harder and studied more. After my first quiz, I decided that passing the first exam will do until I figured out how to efficiently absorb the many hours of mandatory lectures. Now that I’ve survived four exams and a quiz this past week, I’ve finally had time to finish this post.
At the beginning of week 2, we had a morning lecture about the brachial plexus and a cadaver lab covering the material that same afternoon. Our professor came by and quizzed us on the distal attachment of pectoralis minor. Everyone in my group had already said coracoid process, so I didn’t feel the need to repeat the correct answer for the 6th time. Because I didn’t answer, he said he was going to make me talk before the end of lab. After doing his rotations, he came back and made me identify every nerve in the brachial plexus with no help from my group. I hadn’t had time to absorb any of the information we had learned earlier in the day, but he said that was no excuse and that I should have already known it by now, as our first exam was in a week. I was dreading lab later that week, but when he came around to quiz us, you bet your bottom dollar I knew the anterior forearm inside and out.
Going into that first exam was terrifying because we didn’t know what to expect. We were given 20+ hours of lecture material with no guidance besides “Know Everything”. Walking out of the exam, I felt as though it wasn’t my best, but I could have done a lot worse. Regardless, it was the first exam and we’re still figuring out how we learn and study.
I thought surviving the first medical school exam was an accomplishment, but now that I’ve survived a FOUR exam week, I feel as though I can do anything. I’ve fine tuned my study routine and have gotten into a better groove. For the second exam, I studied alone more and the time I spent at school increased exponentially. There were days when I spent more than 12 hours at school. I’d come home at night to sleep and wake up to return to school in less than 8 hours to do it all over again. Hopefully I can boogie my way to an anatomy exam A.
The number of exams and my level of stress have been directly correlated; it’s times like these when I’m especially thankful for the wonderful friends I’ve made who share their snacks, accompany me on my quest for my second coffee of the day, and fill the gaps in my knowledge when we study together. In the past week, my anxiety-fueled adrenaline rush propelled me out of my comfort zone where I met many more wonderful individuals. They share my belief that we should build each other up rather than tear each other down because we’re in the same boat. Now that I’ve seen how the genuinely caring individuals vastly outnumber the selfish ones, my fears about making friends here have dissipated.
Short answer to how medical school has been:
Some days are pretty difficult, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. We always have a good time here.