September 2, 2011

First med school exam – check!

Filed under: Med School and the MSTP — sanguinemare @ 2:24 pm
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Just finished my first ever, real med school exam!  As you can probably tell from the exclamation mark, I did quite well… this may actually be the first time I’ve gotten a solid “A” on a bio/science-related test since… high school?  Whoot!  I think the questions were a lot easier than most of us expected – very much read the question and pick out a one word answer (word association).  A lot of people came out of this test smiling, so presumably everyone did pretty well.  🙂  That’s encouraging.  I feel like there was a lot less emphasized than I would have expected though… for example, our test had a LOT of the nutrition lectures in there – I feel like they were in disproportionate amounts compared to everything else we learned.  It almost makes the last two days (and my currently crying forearm from writing so much) seem like a waste.  But it’s good – it’s about time I started having better study habits.

I’ve never really understood before how the concept of “work hard, play hard” worked.  I was kind of always a floater – play/procrastinate most days, then work somewhat hard for a couple days before an exam, only expecting mediocre from myself and basically getting just that.  After the last few days, I’m starting to understand better why people say that work hard, play hard attitude is what you need to succeed in medical school.  It’s because you need to work hard – to study a few hours a day at least to keep up with the material, and then after all that high-focused intensity, you need to find/do something to relax and keep yourself sane.

We MSTP’s actually have it easy – my med school classmates had to memorize every single enzyme and reaction in all different types of metabolism (carbs, lipids, protein…) in one week!!!  We’re only just starting it in grad school… I may end up just listening to the medical school lectures though, because they had an amazing lecturer who had amazing slides to go with the explanations.  Med school is actually making me start being interested in all this stuff – the craziness!  It’s kind of interesting, because you get this whole spiel around high school (or possibly even middle school), and then again in undergrad, then again in medical school, so you’d think it would be old hat by now.  But seeing the clinical relevance of these cycles (i.e. what diseases arise when things go wrong) really helps put things into perspective.  I feel like I’m totally getting in tune with my nerdy side – I’m always really excited when I can connect two lectures together when one mentions an enzyme or disorder, and another one mentions the same thing in passing to explain something else.

That’s probably what we need more in undergraduate education.  My institution was really big on research, so we would get into all these enzymes and proteins and what they did… but it was never really that interesting to me (with occasional exceptions of course).  But now, when I can see an application to “real life”, it really makes me want to learn it more, and to a better degree.  So perhaps educators could try to include some applications to ground their theoretical findings in a more tangible way.

Anyway, I’m glad that first hurdle is over.  Time to catch up on notes, write some abstracts and e-mails, and then maybe dance/exercise, celebrate a classmate’s birthday and take a well-earned break! (<– that’s the first time I’ve ever said that, because it’s the first time it’s actually true!)


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