Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I need some order in my life.

While studying this past week, I felt like I was scrambling up a gravel slope, slipping two steps back with every step forward. I had an insane amount of material to go over for my three examinations. It was impossible for me to get through all of it since I had taken some time off (mental health days) to have some fun. My preparation strategy was to first get through the "big lectures," those in a series with multiple parts, and, if I had time, I quickly reviewed the small topic lectures. I also hit First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 HARD.

I didn't like feeling so behind on my studying. The stress was too much. At times, it was paralyzing. I would just look at my long "To Do" list and my stomach would turn. Life became so disorganized. My eating habits were horrible (I haven't had so much McDonald's in years) my sleep schedule was all messed up, and I took to studying in bed, which I'd rarely, if ever, done before. But, that's how bad it was. The stress and panic had lead me to believe that staying in bed would somehow save me valuable time. I slept very little, and when I would wake up, surrounded by my laptop and books and notes, I would just continue working. Insane.

Although I didn't get through all of the material, I still think I came out with a descent grade on these exams (knock-on-wood). It's not that they were easy, but I knew enough of the major diseases and concepts to work my way through the exam. I should get my grades by the end of the week. No matter what, it was worth the good times in NYC.

For this next unit, however, I think I'm going to take the advice of the education counselors and stick to a schedule. Every day, I'll either be in class or studying from 8AM to 5PM, I'll take an hour break for dinner, then continue studying until 10PM, and finally break for the rest of the night. After 10PM, I'll either exercise or prepare meals or catch up on my favorite TV shows. Or-- I almost forgot -- I'll post a new reflection.

We'll see how well I can stick to this schedule. I'm hoping it will lessen some of the stress and cramming that comes along with studying in the days leading up to exams. I'm also hoping that it will allow for guilt-free mental health days when I need them.


stinky said...

I'm intrigued as to how your schedule will work. I've sucked at keeping mine. I hope you fare better than me.

DC Med Student said...

I'm not the greatest at keeping a schedule either. I haven't stuck to this one well, but I try. What I'm really trying to do is spend at least 6 hours with the material everyday.

Result of crazy studying/cramming: one S, two H's. Sometimes it works. :o)