Well, we are officially 9 weeks away from the end of the first year of medical school. I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. We finished off what seemed to be an unending 17 weeks of CMBMP just before a much-needed two week break. The second portion of CMBMP, although the same type of material as the first portion of the course, felt far different–we encountered more pharmacology and many more clinical scenarios as well as more clinically oriented exams. I enjoyed the past 9 weeks and I’m looking forward to the next course, Biological Basis of Disease or BBD, and our last true summer. I’ll be spending the summer doing research at Hershey as will the majority of my friends–40 hours a week of research will seem like a vacation as compared to the constant studying and never-ending stress accompanying classes and exams. I hate to wish away any time but I am thoroughly looking forward to the completion of first year and a relaxing three months before second year begins…family vacations, weekend trips, and the promise of warm weather devoid of guilt associated with avoiding studying will help push me forward through this final course.
If someone were to ask me what the greatest challenge of medical school has been thus far, I might have to say the final week and a half of CMBMP. There’s very little that can deter me from studying…or staying awake…or eating but mononucleosis threw me a curve-ball. Pushing through literally became my mantra. Thankfully, the true exhaustion only set in two days prior to the exam, sense the sarcasm, and I somehow made it through and have spent the better part of my break recuperating. The CBC and mono spot test I pored over, however, yielded some pretty pathetic results and deferred my planned visit to California during the second week of break. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement but I realized that spending the week pushing myself even further would lead to a rough start to the semester…and I couldn’t spend another planned study day falling asleep in the library. Thankfully, my friends were incredibly supportive and through chicken noodle soup, tea, and encouraging pokes when I fell asleep, I made it through!
Before going home for two blissful weeks, we took a whirlwind trip to NYC. 48 hours, the actual Kate Spade NY store, a gala fit for royalty and a bialy with schmear that rivals even the best produced by my grandmother made for the perfect start to break. A quick train ride to the city, a mere 40 minutes after we emerged from our exam, and we were smack dab in the heart of the city, hailing a cab and getting ready for the gala. We shopped a bit, got efficiently lost in the Subway system, ate at a delicious Italian restaurant and saw a hilarious comedy improv show courtesy of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. I cannot wait to go back this summer.
The first week of break was spent shadowing a primary care physician in internal medicine. The first two days felt like a haze as I navigated mono and the unknown world of actual patients and complaints. My preceptor was excellent and helped not only diagnose me but make me feel incredibly comfortable with addressing patients, taking histories and even checking blood pressures. As the week continued, and I began to feel better, I was able to see patients and determine an assessment and plan entirely on my own. I’d confer with my preceptor and we’d make a decision together and then discuss the plan with the patient together. The amount of responsibility I was given helped me develop my skills while allowing me to ask questions and remain somewhat autonomous. It was a wonderful week and has been followed by an even better week filled with lots of relaxation, a bit of writing, and endless naps in between episodes of trashy television. This is the life.
There’s so much to look forward to, so much upcoming, and I cannot wait to feel completely myself again. Below are some pictures to try and update you on the past however many weeks and this wonderful break!
Hope all’s well with you and hopefully I’ll find some time to post in the coming weeks.