I can feel the beginning of MS2. It’s lurking in the not-so-distant future, just over the horizon of next weekend. The funny thing is, it feels just like MS1.
Last Sunday was the white coat ceremony for the new first years. This week has been orientation week for them, which mostly means that they are drinking for free as a group at various locations around our city. Honestly, it was probably the most exhausting week of first year, just because you go to stuff from 8am-midnight every single day, surrounded by people you don’t know. Next week they will show up and start where we did, at Molecular Biology. Next Monday I also have to show up and start with Cardiology and Bedside Diagnosis.
So why does this year feel so similar to last year? First of all, the weather has been deceptively nice. With the exception of today’s non-stop rain and thunderstorms, we have had an abnormally cool summer. I live in a part of the country where early August brings scorching heat and stifling humidity on nice days, and intolerable misery on the rest. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet.
Secondly, at this time last year I had just moved here to start medical school while my wife stayed in our home city for a few weeks to finish her job and transition to a job out here. Remember, she is the one that works, makes all of our money, and buys Chick-fil-a. Well last week she ended up accepting another position, one with significantly higher salary and great potential for future raises and advancement. The downside is that she can’t start until August 25th. Because we just went on vacation and the mortgage company doesn’t care about where the money comes from, she ended up going back to work for her old company while they pay her a hefty “consulting fee” for the next three weeks while she helps them catch up on overdue projects. This works out really well for nearly everyone, except I’m living by myself for the next three weeks, just like last year when medical school started. (Because it actually hasn’t started yet, but she is already gone, my dog and I have spent a very slow, rainy day watching the rain and reading and playing video games.)
I’m secretly excited to kick off Year 2. This “year” will actually be over in March, at which point we will all go hibernate and study for Step 1, the first part of our board exams. After we pass Step 1 (nearly everyone passes it, but higher scores are important for residency down the road) we begin our 3rd year clerkships. Despite 3rd Year’s reputation as hell on earth for medical students, I’m beginning to look forward to it just to get out of the lecture hall and back into a hospital.
I didn’t accomplish a whole lot this summer. I think I blogged a little, and I ate a lot, but really that’s about all. The only really productive activity was tutoring online for money (it’s a thing, look it up) and working on Qbank. Medical students instantly know what I mean when I say the word Qbank, but I need to offer some background for my other readers (and Mom). Qbank is an online database of approximately one billion sample questions that could theoretically appear on Step 1. For medical students, Qbank is a primary tool for scoring well on Step 1. I have tried to do Qbank questions every single day, and have failed miserably, but I am getting better. First of all, I don’t actually know a whole lot, especially when it comes to organ systems, because we are going to learn that this coming year. The only system we have covered is Neuroscience, which I just barely passed. Second, Qbank will ask detailed questions about areas in which I have very broad knowledge. One question asked about a disease affecting newborns, options A-E were all diseases named after people, and I didn’t know even one of them.
The most humiliating part is that they have the data on how many students get that right, then compare your performance to the average right after you submit your answers. When my “Percent Correct” part of the graph is dwarfed by the “Student Average” part of the graph, I usually feel terrible and consider applying to law school. (Just kidding I could never do that)
Anyways, I’m improving at Qbank, and by the time I finish next year and do my studying for the boards I think I can perform well.
Importantly, medical school provides the fuel that helps me sit down and write, because I get to do all kinds of crazy stuff on a weekly basis in medical school. Stay tuned, because Chapter 2 of Medical School is about to get underway.
P.S. No pictures in this entire post. Sorry about that!