Hocus Pocus, You BETTER Focus!
Lord, help me. You guys... school is something else. No Fall.. the whole season, the whole semester.... is something else. You come off an eventful or restful summer, and you're just thrown into commitments, classes, exams, meetings, and "mandatory" aka UNNECESSARY "events" (literally the least eventful hours of life). At first it's not so bad... you haven't seen your classmates in a while. They looked refreshed, you feel refreshed, you're all making plans and asking each other the only thing you can which is:
"how was your summer?!"
It's great. It's not all fun & games, but it's like at least semi. Until that first block really gets going.
Year 2 of medical school has been the biggest conundrum of life for me thus far. On one hand, I've been doing this for a year and my brain seems to be functioning more efficiently when it comes to swallowing the ocean of information presented to us each week. On the other hand, despite this more well adjusted brain activity, I still feel just as overwhelmed by said ocean and the test scores seems to be inversely related to my efforts. Cool, cool, cool. Good times. Gotta love that. Also on an imaginary third hand, there's the all consuming, life altering USMLE-Step One exam looming in the distance giving LITERALLY everyone and their mom stress levels that are palpable ON SIGHT. Yea think about that for a second, cause I said what I said... & I meant it, lol.
Forgetting Step One for just a second because that's all I'm allowed... I'll mention the courses of the year so far. First block was Immunology & (wait for it) Multisystem Disorders. Immunology is great, it's an important thing, a big part of why many of us live most days at an "okay" health status. BUT imagine for a second, getting a PhD in immunology in two weeks. I kid you not when that first exam rolled around, you could not tell me I hadn't been in school for two months. Then we had to become cancer experts. Don't ask me about cancer though. That block, felt like 2 years, not even joking. And it was a block that went well, but it was rough. And just in case you were wondering... No, this block was not devoid of life distractions. And thank goodness, because feeling like 2 years of your life have passed with no breaks would be more of a sentence.
But on to the distractions!
I had a dear friend from high school get MARRIED (in one place) and the very next weekend was my college best friend's ENGAGEMENT party (in another city). Y'all being excited for people you love is hella distracting. I don't care if you love the class/content you're studying, and you know it's especially true if you don't. That excitement plus the anticipation of leaving Lubbock?! I honestly don't know how I made it through... cause my discipline was TESTED and I'd be the first to admit, it lost many a battle... usually to packing obnoxiously ahead of schedule. It's one of my favorite things to do when I have concrete travel plans.
Next & now, is Integrated Neurosciences. This one is tough for several reasons. I actually do love the content of this block. It's challenging, but interesting and incredibly relevant to me & people dear to me. It's also just...like... a lot. And you know it's going to be, but again somehow it's always a little jarring just how much it is you're expected to know. We started out with behavioral sciences, which if I'm being honest, just turned into 4 weeks of self diagnosing for most of us. Pretty sure medical students are ridden with personality disorders and we're apparently "supposed" to suffer from anxiety/ depression.
*(that last part is sarcasm because I could literally stop here and vent for LIT-A-RAL days about why/how that's so easily & widely accepted by the medical community. Like mental illness is a natural consequence of choosing to go to medical school. So dumb... K I'm done, we'll talk about that another day.)
Any who, so behavioral sciences... super fun. It honestly was weird to be studying it at a time when I felt my energy was at an all time low. The last week of this unit was full of misfortunes and emotional downs, very few ups really. And not even just my own, but for close friends which is draining if you're the absorbing & sympathetic cryer type. That me.
But pause. Caaaauuuse interrupting this block and my emotional state was one of the best distractions ever, i.e. The Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF). So for the past four years?? I believe. My college best friends and I make an annual trip to Todd Mission for TRF, to eat, drink, and be merry.... aaaand take a lot of pictures cause we extra af. It's so fun. We dress up, drive out, and walk around in an alternate universe for hours. If you've never been, but you like the idea of starring in your own period piece, then you NEED to go! If you just like dressing normal, people watching, and good food, then even you still should go. It was the quality time I desperately needed with some of my most treasured friendships (minus one, cause she had to work #newjobwhodis).
Moving on, I came back to the next unit of Neuro, neuroanatomy. Ummm, actually testing on it as you're reading this most likely... it's been cool. I was definitely still dealing with the remnants of feeling anxious and drained due to compounding concerns of finances, a potentially strained relationship, and my body just being all out of whack. I was so distracted by those thoughts & happenings, it was making it difficult to study for a bit, but I honestly received so much grace & favor with this unit. Studying for this unit was like being back in gross anatomy, with sketching and coloring structures... and I had that therapeutic feeling from doing art while learning what I needed to learn. Studying for this unit became the distraction from all the outside worries, and I'm so thankful for it. I do have to confess though, that studying wasn't the only distraction. Last week I got to celebrate my friend's birthday which was the first time I was able to be completely free of my own busy thoughts/anxieties... and that weekend was the big Tech v UT football game which was more than a good time. If you were there you know why haha. #lostinthesauce I was, lol.
This semester so far has been a roller coaster. Oh, and just to bring it back, Step registration just opened this week, y'all. That's like getting to the top of the biggest hill in this ride, and having to pay a $630 toll... I can't. I mean I have to. But like, for now, I just can't. If you're in medical school (or applying) and reading this expecting a Step prep schedule or tutorial, it ain't here. I'm going to talk more about Step at some point but I'm not sure when or of what nature that may be. You should stay tuned just the same though because it's sure to be real and imperfect, lol. But it is on the brain.
Between life, the current block, Step prep, and the many pleasant distractions of Fall, it really is a crucial time. As difficult as it may be, a bish gotta focus out here. You know why? Because this is the the time. It's the time to grind, to choose me, choose my health, my dreams/passions. This is the practice that makes for later's "perfect". Balance is not inherent, it takes practice. Becoming the badass professional, performing well, doing things that matter, serving others, and making real differences doesn't and won't come easy. YES, it's the season of love (distraction) & opportunity, so get your peace and restoration where/when you need it, but make sure you're seizing your opportunities & handling your business, too.
The Third Voice
*Dedicated to all the Queens on the come up.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Everyone!
**There will be no post on 11/23 (Black Friday) as I will be enjoying some much needed time with family! Enjoy your holiday!