When I entered medical school, I assumed it would consist of all basic science courses. Life would consist of class and then studying; but second year was beyond any of my expectations. For the first time, I feel as if I am learning the information that first sparked my interest in becoming a physician. The information transitions for a boring fact, to the secret behind a specific disease. You begin to see all of the basic sciences mesh together to explain a pathology and the proper way to treat a patient. For me, I know that the information is more complex but I find it fascinating. It is very rewarding when you begin to recognize clinical signs and can talk effectively in a clinical setting.
Second year is not all about lectures and studying, you begin to learn to incorporate more of the professional aspect of becoming a physician. Here in Terre Haute, we have organized Dr. Camp/Camp M.D., a free program to the children and young adults in the community to get exposed to careers in the medical field and a Community Health Fair. These are student led organizations and they are used to develop community leadership skill. Along with this, we also have the Mollie Wheat Memorial Clinic, a student-run clinic that is free to the community), that allows us to not only get exposure to real patients and practice our physical diagnosis but also give us exposure to our community. It is this aspect of MS2 that makes you feel as if you are no longer a student but an effective member of the community. Yes, you have to balance the academics but it is the community integration that provides the motivation to be an efficient physician.
It may seem as if you never get a chance to relax in medical school but I believe the complete opposite is true. Being at a regional campus, I get the opportunity to form a close relationship with my 23 fellow classmates and all of my professors. The community feeling the regional campus promotes, provides you with a support system that gets you through the stressful times. I find time to go run a couple miles everyday with a classmate or play a game of beach volleyball. Taking time to have a social life was the hardest lesson I learned in medical school. I thought I should always be studying but now I realize how important to find time to do the things that make you happy.
The hardest part about second year is the USMLE. In the beginning you feel like you have no clue about this test that everyone keeps talking about but you slowly catch on. The professors and advisors are always keeping you on milestone but you do feel a bit overwhelmed by all the resources and what study strategies are right. The USMLE is always nagging at the back of your mind but the MS3 always provide comfort and useful information.
The most exciting part of medical school was actually when the MS1 year ended and I was able to travel to Florida for vacation with a bunch of my classmates. Then I was a groom’s man in my best friend wedding in Vermont. I was accepted into the CUPID program (Cancer in Underprivileged, Indigent, and Diverse populations) with Dr. Richard Zellars, Director of Radiation Oncology at IU Simon Cancer Center. This was a seven week program that provided housing for me in Indianapolis and put me in a research lab with Dr. Theresa Guise, a prominent researcher in bone metastasis. During my time in the program, I was flown to Baltimore to visit Johns Hopkins and then went to Washington D.C. to march the hill with the National Cancer Coalition, lobbying to get after care counseling to caner survivors as a Medicare billing code. I also attended a Rural Heath Care Conference in French Lick Resort, on scholarship through AHEC. I had an amazing and productive summer. It felt very privileged at all the opportunities I got to experience over the summer and it made me excited to come back to complete my last year of classroom work.