Friday, August 26, 2011

Thoughts on the first test

Our first test was August 19 (a week ago today). Outwardly, I sometimes became pretty nervous: during a private review my tank (my lab group assigned to a cadaver) had with one of the anatomy professors (the most respected one), I thought I was going to fail. He quizzed us mercilessly: some questions I couldn't answer, others I was too squeaky and scared to answer, and still others made me worried I hadn't studied any of the right stuff to the necessary depth.

He asked some verbal questions, but would also just hand one of us a pin and say "find the [insert structure here on the cadaver in front of us]." He asked me to find the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. I looked in the right spot, and everything seemed so shredded and uniform--I pinned my best guess and straightened up. He gave a cool and casual look at my attempt, then met my eyes with a look that drilled fear into my soul. "Wrong," he said simply. I felt like jelly. I bent over the pin again and (motivated by sheer terror) found the nerve the second time--thank goodness.

I tried to put my fear behind me. But it seems like everyone thought this test was impossible. The M2's said things like, “don't worry, the first test--everybody messes up. It gets better.” “Don't cry.” "There's a learning curve.” “You just have to figure out how to study.” “The last in the class is still called ‘doctor.’” I thought I must be doing something wrong, since I felt pretty normal about what I'd learned. I would get to the test and the questions would be impossible, involving tricks and slips that I could only dream of.

Remember Freud's parapraxes? I did nothing else in the week leading up to the test.
  1. T-7: lost my ID to the anatomy building (bad news for a room that's governed by state law as to who can go in; luckily a lady found it and I got it back the following monday)
  2. T-2: hit a car in one campus parking lot
  3. T-1: set fire to my toaster oven. Fire. I'd never been in a fire before. The apartment was full of smoke, everything (including me) smelled like smoke, the oven (never mind the breakfast) was blackened....
  4. T-1: hit another car in the other campus parking lot
  5. The day before our grades were scheduled to come out: locked my keys in my car, called a locksmith at 10:00pm.
Yet, I passed the exam. My studying strategies are apparently (largely) successful.

Bottom line  
(future medical students, especially TACers): 

St. Pio says it like this: “Worry is useless.” And read Matthew 6:25-34! Do your best: truly make an effort, and this will be good.

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