Thursday, August 30, 2007


"Excuse me, everyone!" The lecture hall quieted down. "I have a quick announcement: There is a virus being passed around amongst the class, so please be careful."


"That's nasty!"

"What kind of virus, and who's spreading it?"

"How is it being spread?"

"Is it safe to be in here?"

"Oh, I bet it's X. Didn't you see the outbreak he had on his lip the other day." (Gross. Seriously.)

"No, no, no. . . I'm sorry, everyone! Please quiet down. I should have been more specific: A computer virus is being passed around through our flash drives as we share files with each other."

Collective "Ooohhh. . ." and laughter.

But, seriously, some of us need to get our heads out of the gutter and into our books!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


For over eight months, a brand new Crock-Pot has been sitting in its original packaging, collecting dust in my hallway closet. I was convinced that I would burn the house down if I used it. I remember thinking, "I can't believe X would give me such a dangerous thing!" as I smiled and thanked X for the gift on Christmas morning. "Yes," I agreed, "I'm going to make really good use of this when I get back to school." Of course my next thought was, "How the heck am I going to get this thing back to Washington?"

I don't know why I thought I was going to burn the house down if I used the Crock-Pot. Thousands -- millions? -- have been sold as efficient, time-saving appliances. Where the image of sparks flying and flames bursting from the outlet came from, I don't know. All I know is that the image and feelings were strong. So, I stored the hazardous gift -- out of sight, out of mind.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my efforts to maintain a better diet this school year. (BTW: Healthy eating requires a certain level of planning, but so far I've been able to stick to the program despite my crazy schedule.) In the comments, The Lone Coyote suggested that I give the Crock-Pot a try. After careful consideration (yes, I tend to mull things over), I decided I was going to make my first Crock-Pot meal. I flipped through my copy of Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook (which was part of the Crock-Pot gift) and selected a dish. What was it? Lazy Day Braised Pot Roast. I'm not a big meat eater, but I thought it best to go with a classic.

I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients; I read the owner's manual -- thrice; I washed the Crock-Pot; I prepared the ingredients; I dumped the ingredients into the stoneware liner. Good, now I was prepared to start the cooking. I place the lid on the stoneware liner and turned the dial to "LOW". Nothing happened. Wait -- wasn't there a light to let me know that it was working? Nope, no light. See, I knew this thing dangerous! I placed my hand on the side of the cooker. Warmth. Yep, it's working. I let it do its thing for 8 hours, as directed.

Eight hours (and 8 "check-ins") later I returned to the kitchen to find a very nice looking pot roast. I made myself a plate and was pleasantly surprised by how tender the meat was. It just broke apart effortlessly with a fork. (I know, I know, that's the whole point of slow cooking!) So, now I had a tasty meal to last at least 5 meals, prep and clean up were easy, and I didn't burn the house down! The Crock-Pot may become my new best friend in the kitchen.

Lesson learned: Sometimes irrational fears are just that. Overcome them and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, August 27, 2007

10 Years

Do you remember the movie "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" starring Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino? Romy and Michele have spent the ten years since high school graduation living nondescript lives when they receive invitations to their ten year high school reunion. In an attempt to impress their former classmates, they decide to attend the affair as successful business women -- the inventors of Post-its. LOL, I loved that movie!

Coincidentally, the movie came out the year I graduated from high school, and this summer, my ten year high school reunion was held. When I received the invitation, I couldn't believe that the time had come. Had it really been ten years already?

Unfortunately, I couldn't make it out West for the weekend of festivities. Thankfully, however, I did receive a link to the reunion photo album, which provided all the highlights. Let me tell you, I was stunned by some of the physical changes that some of my former classmates had made. I could hardly recognize some of them. My favorite shots, though, were those of the babies playing together at the family picnic. It was simply amazing to see where we all had ended up over the past ten years.

For me, the past ten years hold the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Highs: getting into and graduating from "a fancy east coast college", semester abroad, first long-term relationship (2+ years), getting into medical school. Lows: the death of my mother and the subsequent complicated grief. (My mother's death was earth-shattering -- and I mean earth-shattering. It was two full years before I was able to stand on my own two feet again. I'm very grateful to my friends, professors, deans, therapists, and those I consider family for supporting and guiding me through that tumultuous period.)

I wonder what the next ten years will hold for me. Where will I end up for residency? Will I end up back on the west coast, where I want to be? What specialty will I pursue?

Two things I know for sure: I'm proud of what I've accomplished and my future is bright. No Post-it inventing story needed here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


A friend, who attends one of the two other medical schools in the District, recently forwarded to me the June 2007 AAFP Student Update. The Update, from the American Academy of Family Physicians, highlighted the following 9 Tips to Surviving Medical School:
  1. Eat healthy
  2. Exercise
  3. Stay connected with friends and family
  4. Maintain a sense of humor
  5. Find time for a hobby or non-medical talent
  6. Meditate
  7. Celebrate holidays or special occasions
  8. Find a mentor
  9. Reflect on why you are becoming a doctor and find solace in your motives
The lessons I learned during the first year of medical school (as fas as being successful) are exactly these. And my guess is that you've seen these mentioned before on many of the medical student blogs.

Last year, I wasn't good about exercising and keeping a good diet. This year I have a plan and have been sticking to it fairly well. Now that I have this blog, I will be reflecting about my medical school experience often, and hopefully that will be a rewarding experience. I try to maintain a good sense of humor, but it can be difficult at times. The same goes with keeping in touch with family and friends. I'll have to work on those two. And, I need to find a faculty adviser/mentor (though my 3rd year mentor is great).

To the other medical school bloggers out there: Has blogging been a positive experience for you?

To medical students at large: Do you have any other tips for surviving medical school?

I would probably add "Become a better test-taker" to the list. Perhaps I'll write about that soon (such a backlog of ideas for posts). The AAFP offers some other tips (e.g. time management skills, life balance) which may be accessed here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Roller Coaster

In the introduction to my medical school blog, I stated that the purpose of this blog would be to chronicle the ups and downs of my medical training experience. Only one month into my second year and already you've seen at least one example of the highs and lows. Of course (if you've been following along these past few weeks), I'm referring here to Dr. A (high) and Dr. B (low).

A couple of weeks ago I experienced the low of an unsatisfactory quiz score. I wrote a post about the disconnect I felt between the amount of studying I did for that quiz and the grade I received. Yesterday I received my scores for this week's examinations.

Going into the exams, I felt confident about the first, but was worried about the second which covered a lot more information. I first went to get the second exam score: I passed -- barely. Not cool, considering the hours I put into it. But, yes, I passed. My confidence shaken, I went to get the score for the first examination. The result: I did very well! In fact, it was the first time I broke 90% on an examination in medical school (excluding histology and anatomy practicums)!

I can't tell you how reassuring this was. I really needed to see something positive come out of all of those hours of study. My spirits needed a lift and that high score supplied it. Now, with my spirits lifted, I'm ready to face the next challenge. I've seen what's possible.

During medical school, and indeed during life, there are going to be many ups and downs. "What goes up, must come down." That's just one of the many universal laws. Let's just hope that I get to coast up here for a while -- and that the drop to come is more like a dip.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dr. B

Baffling. Simply baffling. That is the only word I can come up with to describe Dr. B. Here, let me try to recreate the first five to ten minutes of our lecture hour with him last week.

Dr. B (arriving 10 minutes late, looking like he just rolled out of bed): "Good morning."

Class: "Good morning."

Dr. B (now standing in front of the class): "Today I will be talking about -- Yes?"

Student 1 (lowers his hand): "Excuse me, Dr. B. I'm sorry to interrupt, but, Do you have a PowerPoint presentation to go along with your lecture? We don't seem to have any materials for your lecture this morning."

Dr. B (rocking back a bit and then taking two steps back): "Well, no. . . Everything you need to know is in your textbook."

(Grumbling throughout the lecture hall.)

Student 2 (raising her hand): "Dr. B?"

Dr. B (pointing to Student 2): "Yes?"

Student 2 (lowers her hand): "Dr. B, do you have a list of objectives for us -- something we can use to help guide our study?"

Dr. B (giggles): "Don't worry, everything you need to know is in your textbook."

(More grumbling throughout the lecture hall. Several students pack up and leave.)

Dr. B (addressing the whole class): "Look, everything you need to know is in the textbook -- the way I see it, Why should I make a PowerPoint or list of objectives when the material is already in your book?"

(Unbelievable! No one can believe what they just heard.)

Student 3 (raising his hand): "Dr. B?"

Dr. B (pointing to Student 3): "Yes?"

Student 3 (lowers his hand): "Dr. B, could you at least tell us what chapters in the book we should read for your material."

Dr. B (giggles, stumbles to and leans on the lectern): "You guys can look it up. It's right there in your textbook. Everything I'm going to say to you this morning is in your textbook."

(More grumbling from the class. Several more students leave.)

I don't think I have to continue any further. As you can imagine, the rest of the hour was brutal to sit through. How is it possible that this man was allowed to teach -- to medical students? What role did he see himself playing in our educations if "the information was already in the book" and all we needed to do was read?

I am becoming more and more concerned about the quality of my medical education. The school year started off great with Dr. A, and I believe we will have her again throughout the rest of the school year. However, Dr. A is turning out to be the exception and not the rule. Granted, Dr. B anchors the opposite end of the teaching scale, but there are not enough instructors on Dr. A's side of the scale. I don't think I'm learning what I need to know from the majority of my instructors.

If all I have to do is read my textbooks, then what is the point of medical school?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


A second-year medical student has spent the past week studying intensely for their first exams of the school year. Household chores, grocery shopping, exercise and sleep have all taken a back seat to quality time with Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple, BRS: Pathology, Katzung & Trevor's Pharmacology, Robinns and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease and First Aid: USMLE Step 1. Unpleasant odors, emanating from the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom closet, are beginning to overwhelm the medical student's apartment. Now that examinations have been held, the medical student should do which of the following?

  1. Continue working at the same breakneck pace, they'll get used to the foul odors
  2. Go to Disneyland
  3. Take a day to regroup and get rid of the foul odors
  4. Take the rest of the week off to regroup and get rid of the foul odors

As much as I would like to choose (b) or (d), those are not viable options. And, as tempting as choice (a) is, I think I’m just going to go with (c).

In one of my earliest posts, I mentioned how my apartment becomes a disaster area in the days leading up to exams. It’s a universal truth that your external environment will match your internal one. There’s a definite link between the two. In order to handle the flood of new information over the next weeks, I need to be able to think clearly. In order to think clearly, I need to be able to see clearly. I need to see an empty sink, an empty (or at least not overflowing) laundry bin, clean counters, clean floors – a clean living environment. It does no good to start the morning being grossed out by a filthy shower or by what you find growing in the kitchen sink.

So, I’m off to get my apartment in order. It really shouldn’t take that long. Then it’s off to the grocery store for some fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ll round out the day by catching up with friends and family and watching those Netflix DVDs that have been sitting here for over a month. It’s me time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Last night I had a dream that I was dating two different men. The first I took to a friend's wedding, the second I took to a dinner party at Oprah's! (She makes one mean mango martini.) As I said, in my dreams.

Dating during medical school is hard to do. At least, I find it hard to do. Most of the days' hours are spent intensely (or not-so-intensely) studying, so when I find myself with "free time," all I want to do is relax. I'll watch one of my Netflix movies (the three I currently have have been sitting here for 5 weeks), I'll walk to the park and just sit and listen to the cascading fountain, I'll do some light reading, or I'll sleep. The last thing I want to do is get all dressed and primped to go out to some meat-market to find a man. I don't have the time.

OK, that's not completely true. You can make the time. It takes some effort, but it is possible. Last year I dated occasionally, but ultimately I couldn't devote the time needed to develop a real relationship. So, it didn't work out for me. However, it seems to be working for some people in my class.

Many in my second-year medical school class have been dating for some time. Some became engaged during first-year and were married this past summer, others have been in long-term relationships for many years, and a small group have been dating within the class or between classes. Now, not all of these relationships have been rosy. As in all relationships, there have been rough spots. Understandably, in the relationship, it's hard when you are not the one in medical school -- when you are not priority #1. I've been on that side of the coin. After a while, it hurts.

I keep saying to myself, Just wait until you're through with medical school. . . residency. . . fellowship? I ask myself, When will there be time? Will I end up old and alone without a family of my own?

At the core, I'm a hopeless romantic. I mean, how many times have I watched Ever After? You -- and I -- don't want to know! It will happen when it's supposed to happen. Love will happen when I make time for it to happen. As Oprah would say, That I know for sure.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Three o'clock to five o'clock in the morning. This has become my favorite time of the day. It is so peaceful. The only sounds are the occasional humming of my refrigerator and laptop cooling fan.

It's rare to find peace and quiet in the city during normal business or weekend hours. I've found few oases that offer relief from the city's cacophony produced by rush-hour traffic, drag-race wannabes, police car sirens, ambulance sirens, fire truck sirens, speeding metro buses, speeding presidential and dignitary motorcades, military helicopters, emergency response helicopters, low-flying airplanes -- you get the picture.

The end of the 3-to-5 a.m. silence brings with it a slow but steady rise in those cursed traffic sounds. However, it also brings with it a gift: sunrise. Watching the colorful 2-hour transformation of the sky from a deep black to shades of purple and subsequent pinks and yellows and finally a brilliant blue is really rather quite spiritual.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Despite being caffeinated and drinking lots of water, I failed in my attempt to stay up all night studying. I'm getting old folks. Actually, I'm just out of practice. During college, I pulled many an all-nighter. In fact, on two separate occasions I pulled back-to-back all-nighters. And back then, I only used water! Surely I still have this stay-up-all-night ability in me.

As I've heard many medical school professors say, "Sleep is for the weak." Although I only had four hours of sleep, I'm feeling a bit weak for not being able to pull off the all-nighter. Two-thirty a.m. hit and my eyes just wouldn't stay open and I had a horrible headache. Perhaps I'm tough for being able to withstand the "big, bad buzz" of the Monster energy drink?

Sorry to disappoint if you thought this post was going to be about failing in medical school. I'll make it up to you in the near future -- hopefully not because I failed my upcoming exams!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Only a few weeks into the school year and already I've experienced my first discouraging moment: a less than satisfactory quiz score.

I am discouraged because I had put a lot of time and effort into preparing for this first quiz. I pre-read for every class, I attended all but one lecture (8 a.m. came early that day), and I reviewed all of the lectures as well as my notes. It's a blow to my confidence that all of that work went unrewarded.

So what went wrong? Where was the disconnect? Well, I think the problem was twofold.

Lesson #1: Do not believe professors when they say that they are not going to ask a question about "X" enzyme or gene or chromosome; you need to know the details! We were told by the faculty to focus our attention on the concepts rather than the details. I don't know why I believed them because professors love to ask questions about the details.

Lesson #2: Stick with the method of studying that works best for you. Because I didn't think I had to know the details, I didn't write anything out by hand. I did not follow my own advice, the same advice I had just given to my mentee! Usually my preparation would have consisted of drawing flow charts on my white board and writing notes and charts by hand. There is just something about putting pen to paper that really makes the details stick.

The quiz is not worth much of my overall grade for this section, so I'm just going to brush myself off and keep it moving. Besides, I have two exams in the next week that are worth a significant portion of my overall grade for this section. This time I'll be prepared for whatever Dr.A & Co. decide to throw my way.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Last year, I fell in love with Papa John. Well, not Papa John himself, but rather his online pizza, chicken tender and chicken wing delivery service. How could I not fall in love with Papa John's? The food was good, ordering online was a snap and the food arrived hot in about 30 minutes. And what did I like best about PJ's? Well, two things: 1) I didn't have to make the trek to the grocery store and 2) no clean-up!

One evening over the summer, I got home from work and went to the fridge to see what I could make for dinner. Nada! My fridge was empty. My options were to either (a) make the 20-minute trek by foot to the grocery store and get stuff to restock my fridge, (b) run across to the street to the sketchy corner store and get some 5-year-old canned soup or instant ramen, or (c) go to, click on "Repeat last order" and relax in the comfort of my apartment until food arrived. This wasn't neuroanatomy; I chose (c).

I logged onto the site and received a message that I had not seen before: "Store closed." What do they mean "Store closed," it's 6:30 on a weeknight? I tried logging in again. "Stored closed." How could they do this to me without any notice? It felt like the end of my first relationship.

While I was on vacation, I made a pledge to myself to be healthier this school year. I would start eating right and exercising more. So far, so good. My new love is the Giant, a relatively new grocery store about 20 minutes away. I count the trek as exercise -- no, really, the bags can be quite heavy sometimes! -- and I'm eating more fruits and vegetables. Yes, I'm doing the things that doctors are always telling their patients to do. I've also started doing some resistance training, and I can already see my body changing for the better. Best of all, I feel better.

Hopefully, I can keep up with this new healthy lifestyle. I know how easy it can be to slip back to my old habits, especially under the stressful condition of medical school. But, I think I can do it this time. Otherwise, how am I ever going to fulfill my dream of becoming a hot, sexy M.D.? ;o)

Friday, August 10, 2007


Medical school is slowly draining me of patience. This concerns me as I believe that patience is a quality required of all physicians wishing to provide compassionate care. provides the following definitions (showing only the first three) for this virtue:
  1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
Pre-medical school, I was an extremely patient person. For instance, my job prior to medical school sometimes required me to go to the post office to mail documents to clients. DC postal workers move at a glacial pace, and there can only be one -- two at the most -- postal workers at the counter at any given time, no matter how long the line of customers. I did not mind. I would bring my iPod and listen to music until it was my turn to be served. It was a nice break, to be honest. Even on weekends, when I would buy stamps or send packages to friends and family, I did not mind the wait.

Today, I would never set foot inside the post office. Standing in line is no longer something I can do without becoming irritated. Instead I do everything online: buy stamps, ship packages, etc.

I am still a patient person. If you could ask some of my friends, they would tell you that I am probably one of the most composed people they know. However, as I look back at some of my previous posts (specifically,
Backpacks and "Question!") and reflect on my reactions to a couple of poor lecturers these past couple of weeks, it is clear to me that I am no longer as "willing to suppress restlessness or annoyance."

Time Lack of time is a major factor in this slow erosion. I constantly feel like I don't have time for anything but studying. I need to study to perform well, and I need to do well to have options when it comes time to choose a residency. Therefore, anything that is seen as taking time away from studying had better be important. Of course, friends, family, and eating always make the cut.

Becoming a good, competent physician is very important to me. I know for sure that it will require a lot of patience if I am to remain calm, cool, and collected through this education process and beyond. Finding myself an irritable person at the end of this journey would be a huge disappointment.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Wheeled backpacks? Wheeled carry-on luggage? Has this new sedentary lifestyle caused your muscles to atrophy that much? Seriously.

During medical school (at least the first two years) you are going to use some rather large textbooks. For example, first year you have Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy and Moore and Dalley's Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Second year revolves around the hefty Robbins and Contran's Pathologic Basis of Disease. They are relatively heavy books, weighing in around 6 to 8 pounds. However, do they necessitate the use of a wheeled backpack or carry-on luggage?

Wheeled backpacks and carry-on luggage seem to be taking over the rows and aisles in the lecture hall this year. I spotted a couple last year, but they have made a strong showing this year. Some may argue that they use more than one book and combined with the weight from a laptop, it is too much to carry around on your back all day. Well, how about using the locker that is provided to you? I mean, do you really even use your books while you are at school? My sense is that most people study at home, so why not just leave your books there? All you need during lecture is your laptop -- maybe a BRS or High-Yield review book. If you need to quickly look something up, use the Internet. Why carry around extra weight for no reason?

And let's not forget the aesthetics of the matter (oh so important). I'm sorry, but these bags are not aesthetically pleasing. Why not use a cute tote or sleek messenger bag or traditional backpack? If you are so concerned about developing an abnormal curvature of your spine, switch shoulders every now and then to balance things out.

I just don't get it. Maybe you can help me understand this new wheelie-bag phenomenon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Dr. A

Amazing. Dr. A's teaching style is exemplary. She is everything a medical school professor should be. She speaks in a loud clear voice. Her PowerPoint presentations are high yield. She integrates material as she is lecturing. She engages us, the students, by asking questions that lead us through a concept in a logical manner. As Tina Turner would say, Dr. A is simply The Best.

I am at my best when I am challenged by professors such as Dr. A. It motivates me to be as great as she. I don't think I could ever lecture like she can (I do not like to speak before large audiences), however I do think that I can get to the point where I can think about this material the way she does. This year is proving to be a lot more interesting to me, making it easier to retain the information. And, because I feel like I need to know this information so that I do not cause a patient harm when I begin my clinical years, I tend to stay more focused and "active" as I am reading my texts.

I hope that we will continue to have great professors like Dr. A throughout this school year. It makes this journey seem painless and even -- dare I say it -- fun.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Orientation MSII

Welcome to the most important year of your medical school career. Be prepared to work even harder than first year, and make sure you are reviewing for the USMLE Step 1, arguably the most important examination of your entire medical careers.

That was the message conveyed to my class at the Medical School Year II Orientation last week. A lot of emphasis was placed on lecture attendance and participation in scheduled small group discussion sessions. My sense was that attendance during previous years was very much considered optional by those classes. Perhaps that is why the second year lecture hall is significantly smaller than the first year lecture hall. Or is that why attendance was so low, because students did not have seats when they did show up for lecture?

I feel ready and look forward to tackling this critical year of medical school. I am taking every step necessary to ensure my success. I have my textbooks and review books. I am pre-reading for lectures. I am reviewing the heck out of lectures. I know that it is up to me to learn this material.

One week down, roughly 36 more to go. I hope I can maintain the fast pace of this marathon.

Friday, August 3, 2007


As I mentioned in the Teamwork post, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the medical school I attend is the family-like atmosphere. One of the programs that establishes and maintains that atmosphere is the 2nd Year --> 1st Year Mentor Program. Now that I am an older and wiser 2nd year medical student, the time has come for me to take a 1st year medical student under my wing.

I was recently contacted by my mentee, who wrote a short email introducing himself. I responding by giving him my contact information (i.e. mobile number) and letting him know that I would gladly supply him with many of the 1st year textbooks. My mentor had done this for me and I remember what a huge savings it was, allowing me to stretch those loan dollars a bit farther.

Soon after I had replied with my email, my mentee called to thank me and then proceeded to ask a battery of questions. He seemed extremely anxious about the upcoming workload and I began to wonder if I had been so anxious when I was in his position. I answered his questions as best I could, but mostly I assured him that there was nothing to worry about and that he should just take things one day at a time so that he didn't get overwhelmed. He had come this far and as long as he put in the time and effort, he was going to pass. Remember, Pass = M.D.

I left him with the two best pieces of advice I ever received regarding success in medical school: (1) treat it like a job (2) practice the Three R's.

Treat it like a job. Set a schedule where you work a certain number of hours every day. For example, my schedule was to work at least 10 hours a day. Approximately 4-5 of those hours were in-class lecture time, and the remaining hours were spent studying (either on my own or with my small group). Set regular breaks to eat, exercise, rest, but get through as much material as you can each day because it will pay off on test day.

The Three R's: review, recite, repeat. It's all about repetition. My best exam scores were on examinations where I was able to get through the material at least 5 times. Of course, you have to begin with some reading -- even if it's just headings and figures. Then you have to review the lectures and your notes. Next, try to explain the concepts to someone else (small groups good for this), or teach yourself out loud (I use a white board at home -- I know, I'm crazy). Finally, repeat the process. It's difficult to do with the volume of material during medical school, but if you are efficient with your time, the rewards are well worth it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


"What are you doing??"

Those were the words that brought me out of my zombie-like state one morning before a neuranatomy examination. I had not slept the night before. Instead, I had made one final desperate attempt to try to understand each of the different neural pathways and make sense of the countless CNS cross-sections that were presented over the previous two weeks. For some reason I found this section incredibly difficult and spent many late nights wrestling with the material.

Staying up all night did not help me understand the material any better (surprise, surprise), however, it almost got me killed. That morning, I walked to school in a zombie-like state. It was as if I was on auto-pilot. My leg muscles did not need any input from my brain, having memorized this course on the daily walks to school throughout the year. It wasn't until I heard someone shout, "What are you doing??" that I snapped out of it. I was in the middle of a high-traffic street with cars heading toward me in both directions. Thankfully, I was able to dodge a van and make it to the other side of the street unharmed.

Getting regular sleep is vital to success in medical school. It helps you maintain a strong immune system; it helps with memorization; it helps you maintain a good mood. Although I will not be able to sleep 8 hours every night as I did while I was on
vacation (the workload in medical school is just too great), I am going to make sure that I get a decent amount of sleep every night -- especially the night before an exam.