MS2: New Spaces and New Faces

I didn’t really know that I could ever get sick of hearing a word. Well, other than “selfie” and “twerk” and all that nonsense. But yeah, there’s a list of words that I am already sick of hearing now that second year has commenced:

  • USMLE
  • Step/Step 1
  • Boards
  • High Yield
  • BRS
  • UWorld
  • Qbank

The first week is now complete. Summer feels like a lifetime ago already. Everyone seems to constantly be talking about Boards, how to prep for them by being prepared for classes, which resources to use, etc…. and our exams are ages away, in May/June of 2015. It’s going to be a long year before that monster. Our ICM teacher, Dr. K (I love his humor!), has been telling us that we’ve got a “little quiz” to take next summer…. I’m not sure if he’s saying that because in the long run, it’s just a little hurdle, or if he’s trying to make it sound like it’s nothing to be intimidated by… but either way, I’m already sick of hearing about it. So, on to happier things this week has held:

Toward the end of last year, our school was under construction in order to address concerns by the LCME. Starting last Monday, we had access to a brand-new facility, new unit labs, new technology, new everything. It doesn’t even feel like the same school. I’m not quite used to it yet. Being brand-new, it’s still got some quirks that need to be worked out–some of the outlets don’t have power yet, they hadn’t even put out all of the trash cans yet. It’s evolving, and it’s definitely a welcomed improvement over the old facilities.

Classes are in full-swing already. There is no such thing as “easing into it” in med school. My first visit with my LSP was Tuesday afternoon. I’ll admit, I’ve forgotten some of the physical exam steps since the last time we did a full CSE exam, but luckily we weren’t graded on that (that comes later). Instead, this was an H&P visit where we were to practice our communication skills with a previous patient that we have a relationship with. Usually, we have a lecture on the visit before we go in, so that we’re familiar with the assignment and what is expected of us. Not so, this time; we were encouraged to watch the Tegrity’d PPT to prep for the visit, and since my scheduled time was on the first day, I didn’t get to view the video session until a couple hours before my time slot. I’m so glad I took the time to watch it, because at the very end, there was a note that my patient, based on the CC (chief complaint), would need some sexual history questions. (Son of a….! We haven’t been taught how to do that yet!) There is nothing better than trial by fire, I suppose. The visit went really well, Graham (my SP’s real name) told me I did a great job with the “sensitive subject matter”… so just maybe I can do this MS2 thing after all.

I’ll spill my secret: I kinda love Pathology. Kinda love it a lot. The immuno part of Micro/Immuno is pretty interesting, and pharm…. I don’t know what to make of pharm yet. I’ve heard it gets better once we get into learning the actual drugs instead of focusing on the basics of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Overall, though, this is the stuff I love learning, so that aspect of school has been great so far. It’s the end of the first week and I am not yet completely and utterly overwhelmed or frustrated. I’m so glad that we’ve transitioned to block exams this year, instead of having random exams at random times, inevitably falling behind on one class or more to prep for each individual exam. I think it’ll be a nice change of pace.

There are so many new faces on campus. I’ve met both of my MS1 mentees, and I gave them my leftover scalpels for Gross Lab, which they start next week. I miss seeing the MS2s (now MS3s!) on campus, but I know that someday soon the MS1 faces will become familiar.

In addition to classes, I’m also getting a fairly good jump start on my Global Health Distinction track projects. This week alone I’ve met with my mentor to discuss projects (he travels regularly to Vietnam, Moldova, Ecuador, and Ghana, but this week’s trip to Ghana has been canceled due to the concern over the Ebola epidemic). If we plan things right, I may be able to do some of my own research projects in some of those countries over the next three years, which I find to be very exciting! I’d love to see how the NICUs work in those countries to see how we can improve healthcare based on their own individual needs and concerns. If I should happen to stay at UofL for residency, there is an option to participate in several global health pathways, so there is the potential to continue this future projects well past my medical school career. To prep for that, though, I’ve started doing the modules we’re required to finish for our distinction track, and I’ve completed two this week (one that was required, on Malaria, and one that I took because it interested me, in the Essentials of Newborn Care). I’ve already generated a few ideas about a scholarly project and need to start on a lit search to see where it takes me. I’d like to incorporate some Bioethics and Medical Humanities into these projects if I can, so now I’m eager to learn about Global Health Ethics. It is quite possibly that I have too many interests, and not nearly enough time to pursue them all, especially now that I’m a new mom.

In speaking of which… David used his second week of paternity leave to stay home with Ladybug while I got settled into school for the first week, so I didn’t really feel guilty leaving for school without her this week. I’m sure that will change on Monday when she goes to her first day of daycare. It’s been so nice to be able to go to campus and not have to worry about how she is; David would send me pictures throughout the day. I’ve been trying to keep school as a job, and keep set hours; I’ve picked out “my” spot in the library (in the newly renovated part! It’s awesome because there are windows and I love it!) and that’s where I focus on my BRS books and Pathoma, among other things. Coming home to a happy baby has been wonderful this week. I hope it stays that way!

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