Saturday, April 6, 2013
The MSU CHM Class of 2017
The 2017 Class of MSU CHM is almost a cohesive, defined group at this point. Most of them have received that awesome phone call, and their Facebook page is up and running. My class also had a solid presence on Facebook from way before day 1 of this year, and it has been a great source of collaboration, mutual encouragement, and camaraderie.
When I mentioned this to a friend the other day (and the fact that I snooped on their group a bit), the conversation went like this:
Friend - "Are they all just bubbly with excitement and naiveté?"
Me - "Yeah, actually. It's pretty cool - definitely takes me back a bit."
Friend - "Back to before you knew how insane med school really is?"
Me - "Sort of... But more like, back to before everyone talked about how insane med school really is and nothing else."
It was refreshing to see unbridled excitement, not hindered by any sense of loathing/foreboding of the next exam. That's a sentiment that can very quickly and easily get squashed out of the med student population, because school is more stressful and demanding than even the most prepared student anticipates. That's why newly-accepted students want to pre-study over their last summer. They know it's going to be hard, so they think they should prepare. What they don't know is that the biggest effect their preparation will have on their med school career will be to waste some of the last true free time they'll have before it starts. So to the future students - do not pre-study to prepare for M1. Just enjoy your time and don't even look at a book.
Anyway, you see how easy it is to get caught up in talking about the 'difficulty of med school?' I tried to talk about how I don't want to talk about it and ended up talking about it. Very few people at this point in the year are talking about how cool it is that we get to be in med school, on the path to becoming doctors. We don't talk about the interesting clinical presentations that result from the mycoses that we're studying in Micro - we just talk about how annoying it is to have to rote-memorize a million foreign names and symptoms.
So I like hearing about the new students, because it does take me back - and it inspires me to be more optimistic. To bring back some of the magic, the snap-and-fire of optimism and forward-thinking to the average, everyday med student conversations. Because our blessings/good fortune of being in med school are no less true and real now than they were when we had just recently received our acceptances - they're just harder to see beneath the dross of fact regurgitation and exam performance.The positives and the promise of med school are still there. We just have remember them and act accordingly.
Now, being exposed to the MSU CHM Class of 2017 for the first time also had another, unanticipated effect on me. It involved seeing that number - 2017 - and thinking, "Huh. 2017 = 1 + 2016. This means that... Holy CRAP I'm almost a second-year med student." Yeah, we still have about four weeks left (three weeks now? AH!) in this semester, followed by a six-week summer semester, but let's face it - summer semester might as well be next year, since I've never had one before. This year is largely over and PBL (Problem Based Learning) and the more advanced clinical skills are just around the corner. We're going to start to actually learn the stuff we need to know to pass Step 1, to diagnose - to BE DOCTORS. Crazy how fast this is all moving...
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