Hi readers! I am Christine, a medical student in the Class of 2013 and one of LLUSM’s new bloggers. Medical school has certainly been quite a journey. As I have gone through my 3rd year rotations this past year, I had many stories that I constantly shared with my parents and friends. One of my friends told me that I should journal my experiences, so I could look back and reflect on them; I took her advice. When I saw that LLUSM was looking for student bloggers for this upcoming year, I jumped at the opportunity to share my experiences. I am excited to be in my 4th year, and I am excited to be one of the bloggers for LLUSM!
It is amazing how fast time flies. Recently, I watched some of the Olympic trials on tv. I remember watching the 2008 Olympics 4 years ago. During that time, I had just taken my MCAT, was starting my last year of college, and was in the process of applying to medical school. Flash forward to present day, I will soon take my Step 2 CK exam, start my last year of medical school, and apply to residency programs. What a difference 4 years makes!
What I believe makes the 4th year of medical school so exciting is the choices. Some of the things I get to choose include: rotations, tests, and residency plans. Of course, there are some boundaries, but I have more freedom of choice than during the first 3 years of medical school.
The first 3 years of medical school consisted mainly of required courses and rotations that everybody had to take. Now, in 4th year, there are only a few specific rotations required:
- Preventive and Community Medicine (4 weeks)
- Internal Medicine or Pediatrics or Surgery (4 weeks)
- Medical or Pediatric or Surgical Intensive Care Unit (4 weeks)
- Emergency Medicine (2 weeks)
- Basic Science Elective (2 weeks)
As you can see, there are still choices even in our required rotations. The rest of the year, I can take 18-28 weeks of whatever electives I want. These are the rotations I have chosen to take during my 4th year:
- Peds Diabetic Camp and Endocrinology
- Whole Person Care
- Preventive and Community Medicine
- Internal Medicine
- Emergency Medicine
- EKG Cardiology
- Medical ICU
- Infectious Disease
- Geriatric Medicine
Not only do I get to choose WHAT to take, I can choose WHEN and WHERE. Most of my rotations are in Loma Linda, but some are in different cities. I will be blogging about my experiences as I go through the year, so be on the lookout!
I also mentioned tests in things 4th years get to choose. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but they are literally “steps” closer for us to become licensed physicians. As a 4th year, I have to take United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS). Although I am required to take these exams, I get the freedom to chose WHEN to take them. I suppose I can also choose WHERE to take the exam, but most students take it in Redlands.
Many of my classmates have already taken their Step 2 CK exam, but mine is coming up in a few days. So unfortunately, I don’t have too many exciting stories to share at the moment. I have been spending the beginning of my 4th year studying in Alumni Hall and the library. Alumni Hall is the place where 1st year medical students have Cell Biology Lab and the place where 2nd year medical school call their second home. Alumni Hall was where I spent my time studying for Step 1. I figure that since it worked well for Step 1, I am hoping for some more magic for Step 2. I hope that saying about the first step of a thousand mile journey being the hardest also rings true for USMLE Steps. Wish me luck!
Finally, 4th year of medical school is super exciting because we get to choose our residency, sort of. I won’t go into detail about the Match right now, but we do get to choose WHAT specialty we want to spend our lives doing and WHERE we want to apply. I have chosen to pursue Neurology, or maybe it chose me. I’m still not sure. Either way, neurology is amazing!
Well, I better get back to studying. For the next couple weeks, I will be on my neurology rotation. During that time, I will also take my Step 2 CK exam and a patient stimulation test called the MACY. It will be a busy 2 weeks, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll let you know how everything goes in my next post. I am glad that you chose to read my post today, and I hope you will choose to read my future posts!