February 07, 2008

Step 1 Starts Now

Thus begins my journey into the gaping maw of dread and doom.

It is time to begin studying for the Step 1 US Medical Licensing Examination, ironically abbreviated USMLE (which most second year med students DO NOT smile about.)

We selected out dates to take this exam a few weeks back. Everyone traded notes and talked about which subjects they already covered and what they were going to cover. A lot of this happened in secret, since our curriculum directors wouldn't be happy to hear that we're studying something aside from their material. My medical school is very different in its setup from other schools. I hear that other students are groomed to take Step 1 the moment they enter medical school. We are groomed to learn clinical and problem solving skills, do research and present it effectively to small groups. I strongly believe in the PBL curriculum but even I'll admit that it doesn't leave much time for the board exams.

One of the things that caused me great anguish was that my brother was graduating from college in the middle of board studying time. Right after he graduates, my parents, his girlfriend and her family are all planning on going on a nice family vacation.

What about me?!?!
I've got this HUGE exam that I'm recommended to take on the week of the 27th of May, the day after my parents return from this awesome family vacation. The score from this exam plays a role in determining where I go for residency as it sums up pretty much my knowledge base for the first two years of medical school.

I reluctantly declined the invitation, choosing school over family. One night, when I was cleaning out my car, I glimpsed at the itinerary that my brother's girlfriend, J, has "forgotten" there. They were going to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Bryce National Park... WHAAAT?!?! I've always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon!!!!! DANG IT

I thought about it and I realized that it would be the LAST family vacation I'd be able to take with all of them.Very painfully, I reluctantly withdrew my resignation and decided to accept instead. J squealed with happiness and they both agreed to do whatever it took to support me (and help me pass my Boards.) Don't know how they'd do that from California, but whatever.

I do have one thing in my favor for taking this exam two weeks earlier though. We took a practice exam in October and I somehow managed to pass that one with a 66/190. I was one of three people (that I know of) in the entire class who pulled that off without even formally studying for the exam! I figure that I must have retained some of that brilliance.


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