Sunday, June 6, 2010

Things I Wish I Knew - Second Year

It's that time again to take a look at what I've learned from the last year and roll it into a bite-sized post. At first glance it may not seem much different than last year's report, but with a side-by-side comparison I'm surprised I am alive to tell the story.

Looking Back

Somewhere between peaked exam weeks and the troughs of vacation, I actually found time to breath. For what it is worth I have learned a few things along the way and would love to hear from others what you have gleaned from your experience. Without further ado, he is my small list of things I wish I knew before my second year of medical school.
  1. Proper repose - Some people have a knack at getting sleep and lots of it. I have never been that fortunate, but learned that a regular sleep schedule was important to staying on task during the day. I must admit though, there were days when I just had to find a spot on the floor and take a quick nap. If only our brains could burn as much energy as a full workout, now then I would be set. Make sleep a habit and take short naps when needed.
  2. Staying current - I am still convinced some professors do not communicate with the others and actually understand how much information is being thrown at us. Letting too many lectures and reading assignments go unattended can lead to undue stress before exams. Pacing is crucial to really understanding the concepts despite how well you "cram." It might be difficult, but getting things done now will save the pain of not having it done later.
  3. Two heads are better than one - Normally, I am not one to study in groups, but I have found this to be fundamental to my success in medical school. Where I misunderstood a point or did not have the background knowledge to comprehend, my study partners were often able to fill in the blanks. And for all those times when the stress really got to me, a quick game of HORSE was sure to do some good. Study partners help you understand what you do and do not understand really fast, get some.
  4. Practice makes perfect - After being in the classroom for so many hours, it is easy to lose sight of why we are there in the first place. For some of us, it really is about helping the patient. Be sure to take advantage of opportunities that permit exposure within the community. These help make the light at the end of the tunnel a little brighter along with gained experience in practices you may intend to be doing for the rest of your career. Be an active participant outside of the classroom.
  5. Surmounting the challenge - Without hesitation, I can honestly say this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Having said that, it is also one of the most rewarding. High stress conditions, little sleep, poor exercise, sparse family time and a constant query of knowledge has kept me on my toes much longer than imagined. The best part is that it is fulfilling a goal that I have had for so long, which makes it all worthwhile. Take time to enjoy one of the more difficult hurdles life has to offer.
On another note, if you are interested in what other students are saying about their experiences, my Life as a Medical Student has been showcased along with theirs in this list of 42 Medical Blogs Written Entirely by Med Students.

Board Prep Question of the Week
A 3-year old child has dyspnea, severe cough, and a fever. A chest X-ray and laboratory tests lead to a diagnosis of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. Further laboratory tests indicate abnormally low levels of the IgG, IgA, and IgE immunoglobulins. However, levels of IgM are far above normal. This patient's immune deficiency is caused by a defect in which cell surface molecules?

A. CD40 ligand
B. CD86
C. Fas ligand
D. TCR
E. TNF receptor


Answer & Explanation

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