Well, the summer is almost over, and it’s just about been a year since I moved to Boston from Southern California. Boston is still going through a latent US speculative property inflation trend — fancy talk for “the rent is too damn high”.
Anyways, second year starts this Wednesday. My summer is coming to a close. I spent most of my summer at an ambulatory cardiovascular clinic, with occasional visits to various inpatient cardiology rounds, and topped off with a random visit to a level 4 bio-safety lab (the places where they make zombie viruses in movies). It was an awesome opportunity given to me by the American Heart Association and NIH for a proposal I was working on with my PI last winter, and I’m very appreciative of this formative paid experience to work with patients (extensively), nurses, EPIC (our EHR), and physicians every day. From patients I’ve received lots of enthusiastic handshakes, a few hugs, and even a drawing. Best of all, I gained a physician mentor and made really close friends.
In the first year, it’s easy to drown under the tsunami of one-off facts you’ll need to have in your back pocket at any given time. Though, I suppose, they’ll always be a new tsunami to worry about. Speaking of that tsunami, the first years students will be starting soon. I’m not an authority on how to best first year, in fact, I struggled like many others did just to get through it. I expected medical school to be hard, and honestly it’s a little gratifying to see that it’s just as hard as quoted. I’ve enjoyed my humble pie. There were classes I did great in, some not so well, and I learned a lot in the process. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use those lessons wisely in the second year and onward.
Our schedule is going to be very different than the first year. Incidentally, we’re the last to have that 1st year schedule at our school as they’re changing the curriculum. The first year was a traditional system, you have a lot of disparate courses at once: have biochemistry, anatomy, neuroscience/anatomy, public health, and the list goes on and on. A lot of schools are moving towards “integration”, i.e. the very opposite of the traditional system where students were tasked with forming their own euphonies on the connections between disparate courses. Hopefully you did, some surely didn’t. Here, second years have more of a systems based approach, i.e. we’ll have a pulmonary block, cardiovascular block, hematology block. The big difference, so I’ve been told, is that we’ll now focus more on the disease and treatment than the science (first year work). For all intents and purposes, one could argue we’re learning more practical things — probably with an immeasurable amount of things I’ll need to unlearn/relearn properly later in our careers.
In case you’re curious about the schedule for our second year medical school here’s a non all inclusive list of modules, our school year ends April 1st of next year giving us time to focus on our board exam (Step 1):
– Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases (affectionately called “Bugs and Drugs”)
– Renal (The Kidneys Strike Back!)
Good luck incoming students, and current applicants! I’m going to get back to work, i.e. eat, go through some patients’ charts, and drink lots of coffee.