My favorite day was probably the afternoon that I found out I passed my first test—when I realized, hey, maybe I can do this.
Overall though, my favorite things in first year were the times that I was allowed to work with real people instead of books. I loved anatomy lab and I loved my community medicine placement in a family practice office. I didn’t love the massive paper I had to write on community med, but I did appreciate the break from the books and the fact that my preceptor let me see patients on my own even as a first year.
My advice to you:
Part I: What will it be like?!
There will be lots of smart people there. Most of them will be smarter than you, or at least they’ll think they are. Being around smart people all the time will send you into a constant fluctuating state of confidence and crushing self-doubt.
On the first day you will go home and crack open a book, read for 8 hours, and remark to yourself, “this ain’t so bad.” On the 4th day of such reading, you will start calculating how much debt you will be in if you quit on day 5.
You will learn an entire new language made mostly of gibberish, Latin, and acronyms. Get to know your -ologies, your hypers- and hypos-, and always pronounce the word the way your professor does, even if there’s a perfectly acceptable alternative pronunciation.
But to add to the advice, here goes:
Hope these things help friend!
A new academic year is beginning, which means there is a whole new crop of thousands of first years who are, at any given moment, this close to peeing themselves out of excitement or utter fear. So to calm your worries, I’ve compiled a little advice column. Here goes:
1. Don’t look at the cadaver’s face on the first day of dissection. Save that emotional challenge for a week or two in.
2. Take the amount of time you think you’ll need to study and double it. Seriously.
3. Yes, you really do have to know that minute detail about the alpha subunit of the cholera toxin molecule (there’s a reason why I still remember it. Hello first day of medical school… ah the memories).
4. Don’t pull all-nighters. If you don’t know it by 10pm, you won’t know it at 3am.
Attending: I need you to chaperone me while I do a prostate exam on the man in room 3.
Me: No can do.
Attending (thinking I’m a little smart @$$, no doubt): Why not?
Me: Because that’s my pastor.
Once again, my community med doc handed me a triage sheet and told me to go get a history from the patient. I did my comm med rotation in my hometown, so by then I had gotten used to seeing people I knew.
He explained that this patient was a frequent flier drug seeker, and he added a little colorful commentary on his thoughts on her acting skills.
Without reading the name on the triage sheet, I opened the door to the room.
I looked up and realized that the patient was
my step-sister’s mom.
A little gem from my first year.
Community Med Attending: Go in room 2 and get a history from the patient.
Me as a first year student: Umm, I know her. We go way back. We went to kindergarten together.
Attending: She knows a student is coming in. She said it’s ok.
Me: *sigh* ok.
Me, talking to patient: Hey girl, so what’s going on with you?
Patient: I think I got chlamydia.
Me (in my head): of course you do.
Hand Dropping Test in Pseudocoma:
When a patient is truly in a coma and their hand is released directly above their face, their hand should strike their face on its way down.
Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases by Hal Blumenfeld.
As if every one has never tried this on their sleeping younger siblings… I laughed out loud when I read it.
You can name more amino acids than past presidents.
I’ve been reading one of my pharm books today and I just came across the term “therapeutic abortion”. It really pains me. One more reason why I really REALLY hate reading Pharm.
So… one of the ladies who is in charge of grading our tests and posting the grades couldn’t come to work today. Come to find out, she’s got Bell’s Palsy. Heh. So hilarious that someone couldn’t grade our neuro exams because of a neurological problem. For those who don’t know what Bell’s Palsy is, it’s not serious. It is a paralysis of one side of the face and it lasts a couple of weeks. Anyway, just thought it was ironic.