Exercise. It’s something that is super easy to neglect in your first two years of medical school. While I am all about trying to live a balanced lifestyle, getting exercise in is one of the easier things to push to the side when the pressure of exams and Step I is breathing down your neck. It’s really easy to neglect certain areas of health that in actuality would really benefit our ability to study. To some this may sound like common sense. Now I’m not trying to sound pompous here, but if you have experienced the type of study and lifestyle a typical med student endures, you know how easy it is to forget the “little things.”
While attending review sessions for boards, as pictured above, is very helpful, it’s only a part of my learning puzzle. For me, the more neurons I can get firing in my brain while I study, the better I’ll remember things. If I limit myself to simply reading, not only do I get very tired very quickly, I remember next to nothing. Picturing a disease process, hearing what it sounds like, even associating a scent helps me recall much more information, faster. While that may have already been obvious to others, it is something I was happy to discover.
On top of that, I have discovered that I memorize things the fastest when I walk while I study. One of my professors back in undergrad (Dr. Steen maybe?) tried to share this with our general biology course my freshmen year. So why did I wait until half way through my 2nd year of medical school to try it? I have no idea! “Things I wish I had known before starting medical school…”
Just for fun, I started a pedometer on my iPhone during our last exam week, just to see how far I was actually going. Starting Sunday and running through Friday morning, I walked over 20 miles! For me, it’s much better than sitting at a desk and letting my rear fall asleep while I try to fight the same inclination.
As Step 1 gets closer and closer, I’m bound to be walking all over creation. Maybe I should see if I could do the entire Pacific Coast Trail before I take my big exam! Haha. But in all seriousness, if you are someone like me who hates sitting down for long periods of time, I would strongly suggest trying the study-walk! It has done wonders for my productivity and has allowed me to retain information faster then my previous memorization techniques. If anything, I at least try to stand up and scribble all over a white board; just get those muscles moving!
With 6 weeks and 2 days left until I take Step I, the days blur together like never before. As I focus on wrapping up classes for the year, I am growing more and more excited for what is coming. After passing my last set of exams last Friday, I feel like there is finally a light at the end of the very long MS1/MS2 tunnel. 3 mock boards, 3 comprehensive finals, the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Exam, and one tiny little test called USMLE Step I separate me from finally getting a taste of what it’s like to actually take care of patients. There’s still a lot of work to do, but us 2014’ers are almost there!
Just for fun, I got on eBay for a few minutes the other day and tried to win a rather expensive jersey modeled after that of Cincinnati Reds 1st basemen Joey Votto… I ended up winning it for a mere $20! Things are looking up… 🙂
43 days until USMLE Step I!