Thursday, June 28, 2012

Med School's Eyes Are Way Too Big

Everyone has had those days.  When you are so voraciously hungry you are confident you will be able to put away 4 boxes of Wendy’s chicken nuggets, a chicken sandwich, a side of fries and a large frosty.  Then you get your food and by the time you’re on the 5th nugget you’re barely nibbling.  Cue the “your eyes must have been bigger than your stomach” which never made sense to me because that’s anatomically ridiculous but the gist of the story is you bit off more than you can chew, literally.

So now the title makes a little more sense, right?  I think that medical school’s eyes are far too large for my academic stomach.  Let me explain a little bit further.  The biggest shocker to me was not the difficulty of the subject matter in medical school but rather the sheer volume.  Never in my life have I had to study so many things at once.  Its like the academic wizards over in the college of medicine walked through a buffet line of classes and decided to just pile on heaping loads of biochemistry, histology, anatomy, physiology (which should be its own freaking restaurant) and all the other classes until it started to get so high they couldn’t see over the plate and then continued piling it on.  

The biggest mistake I made was underestimating when people described the volume of material, I figured I could handle it.  I did handle it, everyone does, but it is an epic shock to your system.  Here I have to warn that everyone has a very different experience and I can only speak form my own.  I have never been the type of student that holes up in the library right after class to review notes from that day or to pre-read chapters, I barely get to reading the chapters in the first place.  Medical school changed all of that. 

Study guides, those are my favorite.  I’m a study guide maker.  I’ll type up all my little notes from all my powerpoints with doodles and scribbles and bullet points and amass all of that information into a neatly stapled packet from which I can review.  And when I say review I mean just read over and over and over until I know what is going on, that’s the only way I know how to study.  Here is a little comparison, in undergrad I thought 6 page study guides were intense.  Any more than 8 pages had to be some kind of epic final exam study guide for a class that gave a cumulative final.  The first time I put one of these little guys together in med school it was like 34 pages long.  That’s not even a joke.  Its really difficult to explain that it isn’t really overwhelming, you know its what you have to do and so your mental mindset evolves and adjusts to your present circumstance.  At first you may feel a little at sea but then its fine and you just go with the flow.  

Being the kind of person that you are, utilizing the study skills that you have been have brought you as far as it has so whatever methods you have employed has obviously worked for you. Being in medical school is a shocker to the system, no doubt about it.  You will study harder than you ever have in your life, you will spend more hours sitting at a desk reviewing notes than you ever thought possible, your body will hate you for not sleeping enough because you got distracted by whatshouldwecallmedschool’s tumblr page instead of reviewing for shelf exams, but that is what its all about.  At the end of the day, you figure it out. 

Honestly, in retrospect, I can now say that it wasn’t all that bad.  In the throes of it, I was miserable, but I made it through and so did everyone else. People tend to overdramatize and act like being a medical student means you have no friends, no social life, no nothing,  I strongly disagree.  It is what you make of it so the biggest thing you can take with you to medical school is a positive attitude, as cheesy as it sounds, its so easy to get sucked into the vortex of complaints and frustration but don’t let yourself do it.  There are too many negative nancies in medical school just looking for something to leech on to and complain and whine about, FIGHT IT! You’ll be so much happier for it in the end.