Status Update

It’s been a while. I’ve been absent from this blog for nearly two months now. Shockingly, I still received a couple of messages from people despite my absence. One naive soul guessed that I was participating in NaNoWriMo, AKA National Novel Writing Month. I certainly wasn’t writing anything important, much less a full novel in a month that also featured medical school.

So here’s where we are at right now. I am 4 months and 2 weeks from taking Step 1 of the USMLE, which means it’s time to get my butt in gear and study. Hopefully the irony of me saying this while actively avoiding studying is not lost on anyone. We will finish up our current unit (GI) before Christmas, and then all we have is Endocrine, Reproductive, and Skin/Bone/Joint. Effectively classes end at the end of February, and we all become hermits and study for USMLE, which we take at our discretion (somewhere during April, most likely). After that ordeal is over, we will start our third year clinical rotations at the beginning of May. This means that I am nearly halfway done with medical school!

So the title of this blog is “Highs and Lows” in medical school, and I’m certainly in a rough patch right now. First of all, I have put myself in a bad place by doing poorly on the first half of the GI Module, meaning I need to drastically improve my score on the Final Exam in a few weeks. Unfortunately, it’s the Christmas season, I have lots of stuff I would rather be doing, and it’s crazy hard to study when we have had so many dark, rainy days (I’m a little bit solar powered). The study load isn’t just GI course stuff, which would be time consuming by itself. It’s also Qbank questions for Step 1, and it’s reviewing Microbiology from 3rd party sources (because our Microbiology education was severely lacking), and it’s also working on research, among other things.

Oh right, that might be another thing to mention. Even though I don’t have the faintest idea what I am doing in research (or life, for that matter), I now have my own research project. It’s a super exciting technical paper that has me swimming in PubMed articles up to my ears. I strongly dislike research, but I guess residency directors like it (I can’t see how), so I am spending portions of my already limited time on research now too. Hopefully I get a publication or something to show for it, besides the huge Excel document saved on my desktop.

The ironic part of (nearly) failing my first GI exam is that I really like it so far. I worked in a GI practice for several years before starting medical school, and those GI docs were doing just fine. The procedural aspect of GI appeals to me, the hours aren’t terrible, and it pays decently because you have to deal with everyone’s poop all day. On the flip side it can be pretty competitive to get into and has a long residency fellowship. I actually have done fairly well in GI, but leading up to the first exam I was busy achieving Platinum in League of Legends, finishing a great book, and going through a phase characterized by a deep aversion to studying. Truth is I was a little bit burned out and it came back and bit me in the butt. Oops.

So that’s the take away message from this point. Med school is very much a grind right now, but I’m grinding through it and it’s getting better. It helps that it’s a Friday afternoon and I have the weekend ahead of me to “catch up”.

Lots of good stories to share someday in the future. Hopefully I will get those posted sometime.

Thanks for Reading!

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