I am hoping many students find it helpful as they begin rotations, prepare for their boards and apply for residencies. I know that throughout my path as a medical student, I always wished there was more information and support available from the doctors who graduated before me.
Since taking boards I’ve been spending time with my family and friends in Maryland. I am experiencing the full extent of my fatigue. Med school works you SO hard emotionally, physically and mentally and its almost like your body won’t let you know just how exhausted it is until after it’s all over.
As for boards:
I ran into an alumni at a coffee shop a week before I began preparing for boards. She told me to spend that month relaxing, to take care of myself and that taking the boards will really be about my ability to think logically and use deductive reasoning to determine the correct answer. I’d say this was spot on – you DO need to take care of yourself, eat healthy and SLEEP while you study. But during the exams themselves there WILL be questions that leave you feeling dumbstruck, you will have no idea which option to choose, and you will leave boards with the realization that there was no amount of studying that would have prepared you for the boards. But that month of studying was incredible – it helped me know what concepts and modalities I felt comfortable with and what diagnoses and modalities I needed to focus on more. It also helped me become so much more confident in holding the title as Doctor.
So just enjoy the journey.
i thank You God for this most amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
We can’t control our successes and failures, we can only know we tried our hardest. A wise walrus once told me to relax and have faith in the time I put into studying in the days prior to the exam. Taking an exam is like rock climbing, you need to relax your muscles inbetween climbs so you can climb better, hardest and stronger for longer. For now, the most I can do is stay positive and remember what it means for me to be alive. More hiking, more trees, more birds singing and fresh air, more rock climbing, more laughter, so many friends that I love tremendously.
…Aaand a nice whiskey ginger to sip on at the end of this week.
The derm notes that this medical student left in her book as she studied for boards.
I bought this First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 from the Tempe Public Library for $1 two years ago after I took my Step 1. What I didn’t know at the time was that the student who used this book before me included her own set of notes throughout the book. I’ve begun final revisions and finishing up the practice questions that I have. As I sifted through the pages of this book tonight I felt connected to her as I studied the same materials and noted her own side notes: “Pityriasis rosea looks like seconday syphillis. SJS – NSAIDs. She circled and highlighted the information implicating niacin in significantly elevating the good cholesterol called “HDL.” I wished I could high 5 her for noting that, and teach her more about the form that wouldn’t cause flushing, the form that could cause liver enzyme elevation and how taking aspirin or vitamin C with it could reduce flushing.
Reading used books, especially used books with notes in them is one of my favorite pleasures in life.
An ND I preceptored with in Maryland reflected on her board study period with the simple description of, “Oh boy, boards, that was the cleanest my house has ever been.” We both laughed at the ironic ways in which people respond to stress, for her tidiness was never a priority – until it came to crunch time. I forgot about that until-
today. I looked around my house and realized that I’ve followed in her footsteps. My house is unrecognizable, Everythings in it’s right place (props to you if you get that reference). There’s space to process and I relish in the therapeutic effects of bare floors and clarity of mind.
I’m looking forward to an adventure next Friday after my last exam, just me and a backpack and a whole lot of ocean.
Think about it.. No amount of school, studying or passing exams can make you a good doctor. It’s all about the practice of medicine itself.
One of the doctors I had the pleasure of shadowing this past year is a huge fan of walking meditation. In fact, he did an entire presentation on it this year at the AANP in Colorado. My hypnotherapist-RN mother taught me how to do walking meditation at a young age. I’ve been taking the long way lately to the recycling bin and mailbox in our complex, meditating on my breath and the feeling of the ground against my feet. It’s incredible, love it, I can see why Priessnitz (the founder of hydrotherapy) stressed the importance of walking barefoot on grass covered in morning dew.
Anyway, here’s what hit me yesterday during my long walk on a surprisingly humid evening in the desert. I’m so grateful that we have a 3 day, 8-hours each day licensing exam. Although, I hear everyone leaves feeling like they’ve failed, and I hear the questions are absolutely absurd, I’m glad that they’re requiring that we have a standardized amount of knowledge before we can practice medicine.
Imagine if they didn’t? Imagine if we weren’t required to know what to do should a patient on calcium channel blockers have an adverse reaction to a magnesium push? Or if we got white powdery stuff in the mail and we didn’t know that you HAVE to treat suspected anthrax immediately with doxy or cipro.. Or if we didn’t review how to triage patients during a medical emergency, or if we didn’t know how to deliver a baby properly. Or imagine if we didn’t know drug-drug interactions/drug-herb interactions or black box warnings of drugs our patients seem to always come in on? ETC.
Do you feel me? So, even though it feels like this exam is my arch nemesis, it’s actually an ally.