Before starting medical school, I told myself multiple times I would make a point to still update this little blog (probably more accurately referred to as this “memory archive of Sam’s random life experiences and musings”). But then I actually started med school. Sooooo….. here we are almost 2 months since my last ramblings. Two months really isn’t that long, and yet as I sit out on the deck of my apartment on this Friday night, looking up at the moon (and the 2 stars you can still see with Chicago lights), feeling the fall breeze against the blurred rumblings of the active city below, it feels like its been so much longer.
So what is med school like? How has it been? How is everything going?
Well, you know how every so often you have something happen in your life that really impacts you? You have an event or sequence of events that change the way you view life? It causes you to stop and think about what you thought you knew about the world, your community, your relationships, and even who you are as a person?
That’s what the first two months of medical school feels like.
And it’s both amazing and terrifying — for a number of reasons.
Reason #1: I am extremely aware of how much I don’t know and how much I will eventually need to learn (Not to mention all the things I don’t know I don’t know and will need to learn…).
Our curriculum for the first two years of med school consists of a large portion of basic science/physiology/pathology lectures. It’s split up into different “modules” with a variety of topics covered within said modules. Module 1 = Foundations 1, which was bare bones basics about genetics/metabolism/other odds and ends that you really need to know to understand practically anything. I’m currently in Foundations 2 with an exam two weeks from today followed by another Foundations module, AND THEN we actually get into organ systems. Yea, four months of “basics” (which are much more complex than most of the material I covered during my 3 years of undergrad) before we even get into organ specifics. Needless to say, it’s a bit intense — but it’s also fascinating. Well, most days it’s fascinating, other days I consider hiding out by the cows at Lincoln Park Zoo…
Reason #2: A great many med school experiences defy typical life “norms”
In addition to the basic science lectures I talked about, we also have a clinical medicine component to our curriculum. What does that mean? It means I’ve actually spent time in the clinic with a faculty preceptor and have had the opportunity to work with real patients. I should clarify — I say “real patients” because part of our training also occurs in a Clinical Education Center (CEC) where we work with standardized patients who are professionally trained actors that live/work in Chicago. It’s pretty awesome to have those individuals as a resource since it allows for a “lower stress” learning environment. It’s especially appreciated when you’re learning things that may feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable, like how to take a sexual history (last week’s session) — but back to the point.