If you read my first few blogs you may have thought, med school just looks like a whole lot of fun…all these kids ever do is go to the beach, hang out, and wear their fancy new white coats around. Well, let me be the first to tell you that med school is HARD! As you can probably tell based on my lack of presence in the blogging world over the past few weeks, once classes started, everything got a lot more serious and we have all been hard at work trying to stay afloat in the ever-continuous river of new information that is being dumped on us.
This past week we were all faced with our first set of exams. The way test week works at Loma Linda is as follows: our tests were given over the course of 3 days (Tuesday through Thursday), we had 2.5 hours of testing on each of those days, and anything that we had learned over the previous 4 weeks could be tested on any given day because all of the questions are randomized. My strategy for this past quarter has been to briefly preview the material before each day of classes, thoroughly learn all of the information the day it is taught, review each week’s material during the weekend, and then comprehensively review everything before the first day of exams. And, for the most part, I was able to keep up with this schedule thanks to a phenomenal study group that kept me motivated and sane throughout this process. However, just to show you how discombobulated I was the week before exams, have a look at this picture and realize that it is not a normal occurrence for me to wear 2 different colored shoes to school.
Despite my attempts at staying on top of the material, I always felt behind. People tell you that you can’t know everything in medical school. This is usually the biggest adjustment for us first years who came straight from college where we were expected to know every detail. As much as I tried to know absolutely everything, test week still came and there were questions that I just plain didn’t know. That’s where I learned my biggest lesson of med school so far: we’re not in charge! As much as we study, as much as we learn, as smart as we may think we are, God is the ultimate physician, He is the one who is ultimately responsible for us being where we are, and He is the one who will ultimately see us through this process.
I found this Bible verse at the end of test week in the Message Bible, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” Philippians 4:7. I could sit here and pretend to say that I placed Christ at the center of my life instead of worry, but that would be a lie. I was stressed and I was worried and, to a certain extent, a healthy amount of fear of failure is what drives us toward success. Nevertheless, what I can say is that without God’s gifts I would never have the capacity to retain the information that I studied nor use that knowledge to answer questions.
Test week was just one more reassurance of my belief that God has placed me here to study medicine for purpose and that I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t handle the work load. It was hard, it was long, and it was stressful but that’s what it’s supposed to be…nobody ever said medical school would be easy. After surviving our first round of tests, we celebrated by planning a most epic weekend full of beach vespers, hiking in Sapphire falls, baking cookies, roasting s’mores, and spending time with the amazing group of friends that got us through the tough week of tests. Here I go again talking about all the fun stuff that medical school has to offer because, as far as I’m concerned, med school is still the best experience of my life!