Thursday, June 13, 2013

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor


REWIND: My alarm was blaring, it was 5:30, I needed to get up. I felt around my nightstand for my glasses and grappled to put them on my face. Todays the big day. I trudged my way to the bathroom and took a quick shower--a burst of hot water propelled me further into wakefulness.

As I got dressed my mind was racing. It was racing with all of the last minute things I forgot to look up. I quickly ran to my desk and flipped to the equation section of First Aid. Waves of panic washed over me in a rhythmic beat. Clearance. Loading Dose. Maintenance dose. Renal Plasma Flow. Glomerular filtration rate. Inulin. PAH. As I scribbled those down to look over on the ride to the testing center my mind came to a screeching halt and starting leading me down another corridor of confusion. P450 inducers? What were they? Phenytoin, Rifampin. P450 inhibitors? Grapefruit juice. There are more, where is my mnemonic? I raced to the page where I knew I had scribbled a helpful note in the corner. Glancing over the list a momentary sense of relief, I knew them.

Flipping through the pages of first aid at every turn I felt like I was sinking. Did I remember the material? I don't know. My roommate was somewhere in the background packing a lunch and calmly getting ready. I'm not that person. I can't stay calm in those last moments and hand the reigns over to fate, not just yet. I believe in cramming till the 11th hour. Some people say you know what you know. I whole heartedly disagree. How many times on an exam are you searching for just that one little tidbit? Sometimes I find that little tidbit floating in the ether of my mind because I happened to see it as I unceremoniously shoved my notes into my bag before entering the exam room.

The exam itself was quite a marathon but in all honesty I don't even know where the time went. Not to say that I was completely rushed and racing the clock, but it didn't feel quite as long as I was expecting. It was tiring and long and at certain points I felt downright bored.

I did what I could to prepare, based on what I had seen and heard. Uworld? FA? Goljan? Pathoma? Pharmcards? Microcards? CMMRS? Rapid review path? So many resources and so little time.

The step 1 was like no other exam I have ever taken, I don't even know how many questions I answered with 100% confidence. I hesitate to share my study plan until I receive my score.

I set my goals high at the start of all of this, I walked away from that exam hoping, begging and pleading the universe for a pass.  Walking out of that exam felt very much like the end of the road for some of my hopes and dreams but nobody walks out of that feeling like a million bucks.

Stepping out of my testing center and onto the busy sidewalk I was again struck by the realization that it was only my life that had been on pause for the last month.

I'm really hoping that somehow Effie Trinket's words ring true for me, but until then I'll be holding my breathe. (I apologize for the Hunger Games reference, but I had to, I can't say taking the step 1 is all that different than being thrown into the arena)

For now I'm shifting my focus to gearing up for clerkships.  Ready to hit PLAY again.

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