and it has been for about a month now. To be honest, I’ve been relaxing without any guilt of not studying, not worrying about extracurriculars, boosting my application, or even getting ready for next year like I was constantly worried about last summer when I was prepping to enter first year. It’s a good feeling. I’ve had time to reflect and reevaluate myself and recognize all the changes that have occurred.
Two weeks ago, I helped with some recruiting events for the medical school where some of my class travelled Oklahoma and taught high schoolers about some of the things you get to learn in medical school. Over and over, my classmates talked about how much we had learned in our first year. Listening to my classmates explain things in such a way that high schoolers understood, gave me a lot of pride in watching the fruits of our labors these last nine months come to life. We have successfully integrated anatomy, foundational biological sciences, and now the physiology of the systems we are going through sequentially; we are able to articulate these concepts into something high schoolers can understand.
I’ve heard it said several times now that medicine involves a lot of teaching and at first I dreaded that thought. Rarely am I able to explain things in a fluid way such that my audience understands my thought process and the little tricks in my mind that help me learn. However, once I was put in front of these students just barely encroaching into the path that is Premed, I felt like for the first time I was able to take what I learned and really present it to this audience where they might be able to take away a deeper understanding of the heart, lung, or whatever we were discussing. Simply because I really, really understood the how it all works- from a molecular level, up to cellular, tissue, organ, and the entire body system through and through. Its taken 17 years of school, but I am finally getting there.
Throughout classes, I always felt like there was too much information- how could it ever all stick? Well, some of it doesn’t. My classmates were always right there for me to ask them about my weak points in order to figure out a good way to explain it. But for everything I didnt quite feel proficient in, there were 17 other things I could rattle off and say- with some confidence- that were just as pertinent. It was an extremely cool thing to find. This crazy, flawed, difficult system that is medical education is working. I wish I had the stats- how many pages have I read, how many words- some way to quantify what was shoved into my brain. Its astronomical, but somehow, its working.
Against all odds- fighting sleep and skipping workouts and eating junk; feeling like crap, feeling like you’re never going to make it, skipping class, studying at all hours of the day, unsustainably torturing ourselves to fill ourselves to the breaking point with information- it actually really really worked. And medicine is just as amazing as I hoped it would be, and more.
Here’s to you, first year- all your ups and downs, suffering through, and thriving with some of the most wonderful humans I’ve ever met; I’m glad you are over but sad to see you go. I am now an 18th grader!
I’ve got some posts up my sleeves for this summer; some I have been mulling over for over a year when I first started this blog! So stay tuned.
Use the contact form at the top right of the screen to request a post on certain topic, get in touch, ask questions, whatever you need! Summer is the best time for me to do it!