A fellow student and I had the privilege of 15 minutes of closed-door, private mentoring by a successful "Hospitalist" who graduated from our school. He is a preceptor for some of us in our class which requires that we spend a few hours twice a month in a medical setting to learn how it is in the real world and gain hands on experience interacting with patients and medical staff. Rumor has it our school produces students who score outstanding on the USMLE Step 2 because of the effort which goes into developing our personal and clinical skills. It makes perfect sense to me.
In any case, this doctor said something like this:
"I know you are in the 'anger' phase. I've been there. It sucks. It's a lot more difficult that you expected it to be. You don't have time to be here when you are taking a course load that consists of 27.5 credit hours including a whole bunch of really hard sciences. I get it. It sucks. Look, you didn't fool anyone to get here. You are obviously intelligent enough to be here, or you wouldn't be here. The same goes for your work ethic. It's gonna get easier, and I will let you in on a little secret. The reason they push you so hard and test you so much is so one day when you are a doctor and a nurse calls you at 3:00 A.M. to wake you up it will be no problem. You will be able to bark orders into the phone then go right back to sleep without giving it a second thought. You are being conditioned to deal with stress."Honestly, I hadn't looked at it from that perspective. It makes perfect sense to me. I actually thought it was because they want to push and push and push and barely pass us in order to force us to work three times as hard so we will study and work harder so we become better at being students, on rotations, residencies, and professionals so we make the school look better.
Either way it is DEMORALIZING at times. Our second year students gave us an updated "Survival Guide" which they had passed along to them when they were M1's. This guide states that 25% of the students in the class before us had to remediate AT LEAST one course during their M1 year. Holy cow. This tiny piece of information sometimes helps me retain my sanity. If my nightmare of failing a course comes true, it is not the end of the world.
A friend asked me how I was doing earlier, and I jokingly responded, "I fear I may break down into tears at any moment. For now, I've got my big-boy britches on." --Or, maybe it's big-girl britches? It's back to the anatomy lab for 4 more hours of review before Monday's final. Essentially, we have a final Friday and then one every other day for two weeks starting Monday.
We spent 3 hours in the lab having a review last night. I don't know how it is at most schools, but I was blown away to learn that the M2's doing the tutoring had stayed up all night studying for their two last finals which they took before tutoring us for 3 hours. The students in the class before them did the same thing last year, and so on.
It's another one of those awesome "culture" things I did not expect. I hope I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to "Pay it Forward" next year...
For now, the following image is burned in my mind. I think about it often, and it makes me laugh!!!!!! Because that doctor was correct, I am in the "anger" phase. This little boy looks like he knows exactly how I feel sometimes -even though I don't have someone who deserves to have my frustration directed towards them. It's just part of the process, and I am aware that I better be able to laugh about the process sometimes!!