For Medical School Posts #1 and #2, click the medical school tab under ‘Science’. Or just click here 🙂
The new first and second years are probably just getting into the full swing of medical school by now. I was able to participate in the activities fair for the incoming first years. All the student organizations set up booths and pass out information, free stuff, and sign-up sheets to get involved. I spent most of my time at the ophthalmology table since I’m an officer of that organization. But of course I wandered over to the health and wellness table because Katie was making smoothies 🙂
Since a new year is underway, I thought I would write about my experience as a second year. Please remember that this is only my opinion and I’m wrong all the time. Also, I hope this post will be helpful to those in other medical schools, but I can only write about my experiences in the classes at IU.
First semester second year included genetics, pathology, neuro, and our clinical medicine course. I’ll write about my experience in each course and then follow this up with how I spent my free time, my fitness routine, and of course my favorite- food!
- Genetics: This class is now being taught first year; we were the last class to take it as second years. I had taken a decent genetics course in undergrad, and punnett squares were always my jam so I had no trouble in this class. I actually put it completely on the back-burner until a few days before the exam. I am ashamed to admit that I did not go to this class, and I very rarely watched a lecture. We only had 2 exams and a final if I remember correctly. For the first exam, I begged one of my first year friends to help me out since the first years had had a week to study and I had about 12 hours between exams to study for genetics. He was a lifesaver and I ended up doing well on the first exam. Repeat on exam 2. For the final, I studied the lectures a few times and made sure to do every single old exam question- that really paid off.
- Pathology: Path is the meat and potatoes of medicine and I really enjoyed this class. It was very similar to histology for me. The in class exams were a lot of memorization (which is also my forte- give me complex physiologic mechanisms to understand and I’m doomed). The lab exams were pictures of specimens or slides that we had either seen in lab or seen in practice questions. In this class, old exams are golden. You could get a 90% by only studying old exams. The online qbank our school provided helped me a lot for the lab exams. Finally, I used this book to study as well. I did not by big Robbins or baby Robbins. I also never went to class, but I did go to lab because it was required.
- Neuro: Oh boy I hated this class. I felt like I understood the material but my exam grades did not reflect that. I’d say that if you did well in anatomy, you will do well in neuro- it’s similar learning. I did really well on our NBME final exam studying the BRS only. Many people used High Yield to study, but I did not feel as though it was comprehensive enough. Despite rocking the final, I missed the cut-off for honors because my super smart class all rocked the final too. I would say, don’t sweat this class. It’s a tiny percentage on boards and in the grand scheme of medicine, pathology and clinical medicine are more worthwhile.
- Clinical Medicine: This class rocks! You rotate though all the different specialties and actually learn medicine! Study your butt off for this class because it’s worth the most credits at the end of the year. One thing I wish I had done, was to take notes into my First Aid during first semester. We had our GI section very early in the school year and by the time May rolled around and I started studying hardcore for boards, I wish I had had my notes written into the GI section in First Aid. So my advice for this class is to study hard and take notes into First Aid. We were also encouraged to use the Physical Diagnosis textbook. I think I opened this book twice. It’s an awesome book, but honestly you don’t have time for much more than your notes. As for buying physical exam stuff- a stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope- buy the cheap stuff! You will never use your ophthalmoscope again so don’t spend your life savings on the best one. Get it on ebay, buy it from a third or forth year.
Fitness! In the fall of last year I started doing Jamie Eason’s Live Fit workouts. (A few other bloggers I know did this program- Julie and Clare.) I had literally never lifted a weight before. Starting this program was awesome because there was a great support group online and I saw great increases in my strength. I was hitting the gym generally after school. Many days, I would stay home to study and not go to class- so in that case I could go to the gym at 10 or 11am as a study break. During finals, fitness took a major back seat. I studied in my room for about a week before the neuro final. I would occasionally do some tabata workouts in my room or go for a quick run around the block. But that was it. School always comes first for me.
Food! When I started Jamie Eason’s program, I also started making tons of her recipes. I think I lived on turkey muffins and pumpkin protein bars all semester. They were portable, healthy, and quick to make. I still packed lunch every day if I was leaving the house. Some late night studying did lead to food purchases at Starbucks I’m not going to lie 😉 But I still think that making your own food is the way to go!
First semester second year is a great time to relax and enjoy your life. Second semester is much more stressful because you will have boards looming ahead. So the best advice I could give would be to study hard and do well but don’t sweat the small stuff. Go hang out with your gorgeous girlfriends:
Go to lots of weddings: (I swear it’s just a shadow and not arm-pit sweat)
And have fun!!