Hello, internet. I'm coming to you from y distance above the x horizontal. And for those of you who hated algebra as much as me, I'm in a plane. ... there are so few good algebra puns these days. I'm en route home from st Maarten, I know what you're thinking - you left there four months ago! I'm so confused! Don't worry, all is well, I went back for a visit and to help a friend move home. I'm already cold in anticipation of returning to the blustery Chicago winter.
Let me catch you up a little on my progress to the MD. Since we last spoke I've completed some pretty important exams (and passed!) and have been assigned to clinical rotations. So what were those exams? Where am I going? Will there be seasons? Will there be grubhub?! Stay with me and see!
The first exam of exam season (despite what Macy's may tell you, the ACTUAL most joyous season of the year) was "comp". Comp is a four hour long journey into "were the last two years of my life a waste?" Formally, it's a practice exam we take for our upcoming licensure exams. In order to take said licensure exams you must pass comp. Thus, comp looms like Sasquatch; many have heard stories, few survive an encounter, many years of therapy ensue. I'm mostly kidding. The actual exam was not that bad, though I was fortunate to pass on the first go. The worst part of comp is the build up; everyone asking how you're studying, how many questions have you done, are you nervous?!! And then the survivors from semesters past, recalling the difficulty, the impossibility, the seemingly inevitable failure. It all amounts to a decent level of shared panic. Perhaps its own form of mass hysteria. Never before have there been so many people with a chronic twitch in such close proximity. We all marched (read, crawled) to the testing center one July day and we all sat through a grueling exam and we almost all walked out. It was hard, there were several questions where I wondered if they were using English (jury's still out) but I tackled the beast and I passed, and then, once over, I proceeded to lay on the beach and not do one ounce of thinking until I moved home. It was a time of pure stupidity, in a word, it was magical.
Ironically, comp is absolutely nothing like step. The medical licensing exams are broken up into three steps: 1, 2 clinical knowledge and 2 skills, and 3. I took step 1 this past October. If comp is Sasquatch, step 1 was... a den of angry cobras, lions, tigers, suburban moms who just found out there WAS gluten in their muffin, plus Sasquatch. It was rough. It's more than double the length of comp, it requires an attention span few have, it will most likely make you feel stupid.
I spent the few months leading up to step in my childhood room trying to push any extra knowledge I could into my brain, answering about 2,300 practice questions, and stress eating. It was a rough few months. However, I have never been more elated to be on the other side of an exam. Whew. I fully recognize the exam is designed to be hard and no one wants a doctor who skated through but good golly miss Molly. If there were several questions on comp I was confused about the language on, there were an equal amount on step plus the additional things I'm half convinced were made up to psych me out. In reality, it's a very fair exam for people who will be responsible for guiding others through life and death decisions. And I am still very happy to be done with it.
And now! Now I get to go to clinicals! My first rotation is three months of surgery in the Washington D.C area and I am incredibly excited and also super nervous. I'm not sure what to expect but according to Greys anatomy it's going to be incredibly suspenseful and my colleagues will be strikingly attractive. I head to the east coast right after Christmas where I'm fortunate to be living with my roommate from the first two years and I'm really excited to see where the next year takes me! And more excited to tell you all about it.