Missed the March deadline, so here’s a delayed post!
This semester has been crazy busy! Obviously we have all the usual pressure of weekly exams but this semester we’ve also got Step 1 in the back of our minds. Step 1 is like the MCAT of med school. It’s a big exam you take at the end of your second year of med school that encompasses everything you’ve learned the past 2 years. It’s the last exam before you begin clinical rotations. So in some ways, it’s a really exciting time because it marks the end of pure classroom learning. This semester is the last semester EVER where all we do is sit in a classroom–like we’ve done for the past 20 years (yes, I’m counting pre-k + kindergarten :)…+ 12 years of grade/high school + 4 years of college + 2 years of med school).
So even though everyone keeps telling us how this is the MOST IMPORTANT test of our lives and we better not screw it up, I think it’s worth noting that getting to this point is also a major achievement. Everyone has put in years of work. Taking Step 1 is the grand finale of our time “stuck” in a classroom.
The stress can easily get the best of people. I’ve certainly dealt with my own meltdowns and “I hate med school” moments…the moments where you question every decision you’ve ever made that led you this point haha. But I think it’s important to constantly keep perspective on everything. People do that in different ways. For me, it helped to remember that I believe God has led me this far and I trust that He knows what He’s doing! I can work hard and do my best, but at the end of the day…I don’t need to feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I believe Jesus is strong when I am weak…and this semester has certainly made me feel very weak at times!
However, I’m also aware of the incredibly vast amount of information that I’ve had the privilege to learn this year. My friend and I went on a walk yesterday and talked about how at this time last year, we would have had NO CLUE how to answer many of these long clinical test questions. We still have “no clue” on a lot, but we also have gained knowledge to approach clinical questions calmly and logically. Medicine will always be “life-long learning” but it’s important not to get caught up in how much you don’t know. There will ALWAYS be more to learn! But remember how much more you know now than a year ago. That’s a pretty amazing thing. Keeping things in perspective is so crucial to your well-being.
Have friends outside of medicine. Have good friends in medicine. Study hard but don’t let studying take over your life. Enjoy being outside when the weather is beautiful instead of feeling guilty that you should be studying. Getting fresh air is NOT a waste of time. Take care of your body instead of overworking it. LAUGH. I cannot emphasize that enough. I swear that laughter is one of the best stress relievers out there. Get yourself some funny friends! :)
And as always, choose joy. Most of us are privileged to be learning about diseases rather than being the patients with the disease. We have the immense blessing of having people invest their time to impart knowledge to us. Very soon, we will be using the knowledge to help patients. Don’t every forget what a blessing and honor it is to have someone trust you with their health. Invest the time now so you can be the best physician possible. At the same time, remember that you can only learn so much right now. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a lot to learn. So enjoy your life and keep marching on :)