A bump along the road to summer

Today’s inane image of the day:

Over Memorial Day weekend, Mike and I made our way to Western Michigan to South Haven for a quick day visit. Here’s the scene at the beach… even though it was rainy earlier and the water was chilly, there were still a number of dedicated beach-goers!

Although May 25th was our last official day of classes, sadly it wasn’t quite my last day. Our Art and Practice of Medicine [APM] course only had two graded items for the entire year — both of which were exams that took place during our last two weeks of classes. The requirement for passing was a 75% on our written exam and 85% on the OSCE — although I passed the written portion, the OSCE didn’t go as well. As with all of our other courses, I had to remediate the exam.

On the upside, of the six or so exams we had to take, this was the most predictable one — there is a set format and a very specific number of tests to memorize. Furthermore, I failed on two accounts: 1.) I didn’t ask enough open ended questions and 2.) I didn’t include enough detail in my write-up [honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking when I was doing it — looking back at how sparsely filled-in each section was, I guess I had temporary amnesia]. Basically, I had a pretty good idea of what I had to fix and could do them relatively easily.

On the downside, I was extremely disappointed in myself and went as far as to question my ability to become a physician [yes, I know that this was taking it too far, but hey try failing something like this and see how it makes you feel!]. All of the other courses require at least some rote memorization [something I really do not enjoy doing] and I could always blame insufficiencies on my laziness to memorize certain things. But this course is essentially the heart of medicine; we interview patients and perform physical examinations to lead us to reasonable differential diagnoses. Not doing well in this course could translate into not “being good at medicine.”

This discussion leads me to the question of whether certain skills and traits can really be taught through the medical curriculum. Can we be taught empathy and compassion? Can we be taught caring behavior? Or are we just shown what these things look like and through enough practice, we are expected to mimic it? Surely the admissions process disqualifies applicants who do not meet these criteria, but it’s not a perfect process so it makes sense that certain humanistic aspects of medicine need to be covered during medical training. These are interesting questions that I often ponder during our APM and Medical Humanities [MH] courses [with no definite conclusion].

Anyway… with all of this being said, I passed my exam [apparently with flying colors] and officially started summer as of Friday. Yay!

Look forward to a review of our Respiratory block, what I’m doing this summer and the exciting news I wanted to share with all of you!

Day 145: Things are moving along

Today’s inane image of the day:

MSG [Medical Student Government] got all of our white coats embroidered over the break! Now we look official. Thanks, MSG [really hard not to read that as monosodium glutamate…]!

Things this week have been relatively hectic…

I took my remediation exam on Tuesday and… passed BFCP1! Woohoo! Interestingly, I thought studying for the remediation exam was more difficult than the original exam, primarily because all of the material was already at least familiar. It was hard to gauge what I actually still remember [S. aureus = gram positive cocci in clusters!] and what I only sort of remember [Turner syndrome = 45X — for some reason this fact was more difficult for me to drill into my head]. Regardless, that hurdle has been surpassed and I was able to spend all of Wednesday not staring at books or lecture notes!

At the time that I realized I had to remediate, I was definitely frustrated with the idea that my entire winter break would be spent with this dark cloud over my head. Furthermore, the remediation exam is, in a way, a higher-stakes exam than the original because failure automatically requires course remediation over the summer and that is the last thing I want to be doing. But looking back, I do see the utility in the process and appreciate the extra push to review the material that I was weak on. I still wish I had passed the exam the first time around so I could have focused on all of my weak spots instead of just specific sections from one exam, but I guess that’s what the summer is for.

Lovely company
Mike has been home since mid-December and it has been absolutely wonderful. Although the LDR thing has been rough, things have settled down a bit and I’ve adjusted [somewhat]. Of course I would much rather just have him around, but I can’t change our current situation and in the end there are pros to the distance that I’ve come to appreciate. I plan on writing up an entry [at some point…] with tips for long distance relationships between medical and non-medical students.

Start of a new semester
We delved right into class again yesterday — it felt like an eon had passed since we last had class, but it was nice to see everyone again and catch up. There were a couple of bumps with getting the semester started, but administration is right on top of smoothing things out.

I’m not sure I’m ready to delve into the extremely deep depths of Neuroscience yet…  but there’s no turning back time at this point. Hopefully I’ll get back into my studying [and regular blog updating] routine relatively quickly since I won’t have any time to spare.

[Many of us discovered our unofficial transcripts and realized that last semester’s courses totaled to 36 credits and this upcoming one is 40 credits… I’d say that this sounds about right.]