I don’t want you to be intimidated by the work load, but I’m not going to lie to you. It’s tough. There’s a definite learning curve, but chances are you’ll adapt more quickly than you think.
The old saying is that med school is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Drinking is easy, but trying to drink that volume is near impossible.
I like to think of it as drinking from Niagara Falls. You’re busy trying to drink up the water where you are standing, but there’s so much water way over there that you’ll never get to.
The point isn’t to know everything, but to know enough so you can figure out what a question stem is asking, be able to eliminate wrong answers, and draw logical conclusions.
This is a picture of all my print notes from the end of fall quarter. The slides are six slides to a sheet printed front and back. That stack is about eight inches tall. That stack grew to be about four feet by the time I was done with my second year.
My school separates things by courses, but some schools have a systems based approach. Most schools have block exams, but my program had weekly exams our first year and twice weekly exams our second year. Other programs may have fewer notes than the one I am attending. Since we have so many exams they are able to ask more nit-picky questions than they do on block exams (at least that’s what I got from talking to friends at other schools).
We took 9 courses our first year (not all were taken every quarter): anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, histology, embryology, immunology, psychiatry, clinical medicine, and osteopathic medical manipulations; second year consisted of 5 courses: pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, radiology, clinical medicine, and osteopathic medical manipulations. We also had some one quarter classes in there like ethics and medical jurisprudence. I have a feeling I’m forgetting something in my sleep deprived state, I’ll add it later if it comes to me.
I didn’t take a “real” anatomy and physiology class in undergrad, just this useless evolutionary physiology class. So I can’t quite compare those two. I did take biochemistry tho. The biochemistry classes were comparable in difficulty between undergrad and medical school, but they emphasized very different things. In undergrad it was very important to be able to draw structures of the various metabolic pathways. In medical school we care more about the rate limiting steps and the problems caused by genetic deficiencies in enzymes. So, at least for biochemistry, it’s not harder just different. If I were to speculate, physiology seems like it may be similar to what I experienced in biochemistry, where the emphasis may be different. Anatomy may be a little more tough, I know most people studied cats in undergrad, and in medical school it’s people. It also has the added component of having to do the dissections.
Like I said earlier, it is a lot of work, but it’s not impossible. Medical school is challenging and will push you to do harder than ever before. But anything worth doing is worth putting a lot of effort into.
Such a great analogy with the niagara falls thing. A comment on the block exams, which my school does. For example, our test in 2 weeks will cover 47 chapters between 8 different subjects. It’s tough but not impossible.
So my buddy asked me last week “on a scale of 1 to sheldon, how big of a nerd are you?” I responded a 5. I think not seeing Avatar, watching Dr. Who/Star Trek docks me some points.
HOW IT FEELS:
Oh how familiar am I with this. Massively difficult decision.
- I don’t care about other people’s relationships.
But I’m sitting here eating a massive bag of cheetos and sipping on cream soda.
We’re all defined by conflict. I know that I can’t have both.
It’s one or the other; Do I become the person I have to be. Or the person I want to be.
In my mind I have a choice, but in reality, we’re all fixed to our path.
I may be the one at the top, striving to be the best, fixated on what’s the next big thing to accomplish.
In the end, that’s what I have to be. I am fortunate to be intelligent enough to be where I am.
But its not what I want to be. I know that I want what everyone else wants. A happy other that brings us warmth and a smile.
We all feel alone sometimes. But I’ve never been around so many people and still feel alone. I grow older, and I continue to achieve another step in my journey to be a doctor.
Yet the amount of friends past and present that are single decrease every year. It makes me wonder, if I should give up altogether, stop hoping, and start being the person I have to be, not the person I want to be.