Sunday, June 10, 2007

Well at least next year, it will be easier...right?

Oh wait... it won't.

During finals, a friend in my class told me that this was about the highest level of stress she has ever been through.

She wasn't the only one. I saw a few people crying in the halls before finals, and had to handle the odd late-night telephone call with a sobbing classmate on the other end of the line.

"I can't believe this," she told me, apparently asking for help finding the end of the tunnel. "The second-year students are done already, so second year can't be much harder, can it?"

"Actually," I replied, "I hear second year is a lot harder. At least we had one final out of ten where
we had the feeling we had studied everything. Apparently, that feeling goes out the window for even the anatomy lab final next year."

"Well, once we get through that, it will be great to get to third year. We'll actually be doing medical stuff and won't be in classes any more."

"Uh, well, from what I've heard, third year does have lectures in it, in addition to being on the wards more than full-time. And, you have to write finals for each rotation that are standardized across North Amercia."

"Well, at least after several weeks working through, say, surgery, you'll know the information inside and out."

"Actually, I think that you can't be guaranteed to see everything in your rotation that will be on the test. So, for most of the stuff you need to know for finals, you need to study from books on your own, between seeing patients, between lectures, and between being at the hospital full-time."

"Huh... wow... well, at least.... at least you're only doing one final at a time.... just surgery, or just ob/gyn, none of this infectious diseases and cardio and renal and pulmonary all in just a few days."

"Yeah, I suppose, but what if you're in your emergency rotation and in comes a 76-year-old smoker with COPD (a chronic respiratory disease) who has a blood creatinine of 1800 (likely kidney failure), who is short of breath due to an acute exacerbation of congestive heart failure (uh, clearly a cardio problem)... and has S. aureus sepsis (you guessed it, infectious diseases)?"

"You're not helping."



Added 15 June: I was talking to a doctor the other day who described third year like this: "You get thrown into it and are just like 'WOAH - I've learned more in my first four weeks of third year, than in my entire last six years of university.'" Scary.


4 comments:

Kath said...

Hahah, I'm a second year med student in Australia, about to do our mid year exams. And each semester so far we've said the same thing: "wow, now that I think about it, last semester was so easy compared to this. I don't know why I was worried then, when it's gotten so much harder."

And talking to the third years, it just keeps getting harder, dammit.

Anonymous said...

Yah, it makes you think: maybe those jerks who don't seem to try that hard and accept just coasting by each year while leaving a margin of room to study more each year are actually kind of smart.

I thought second year was my hardest year academically, and third year was the most straining.

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Just say to yourself, "I'm learning so much; so lucky to be here, this is what I want." You'll talk yourself into it, I'm sure.