I have completed one full week of medical school and the only thing I can say with confidence is that I don’t even know enough to tell you what I don’t understand. Professors and upperclassmen constantly ask if I have any questions, and the answer is no. I don’t have any questions. But its not because I understand everything, its because you just threw a ton of information at me and I still haven’t had time to process what you said, let alone determine what I have questions about.
Do I understand that embryology lecture? Maybe. I’ll let you know if my notes make sense when I reread them tomorrow.
What about Biochem? He just explained that titration question I missed and it made sense while he was working it out. But could I do it on my own? And don’t even get me started on histology. So many tissue types. So, so many. The scary thing is that, with a few exceptions, we are still covering topics that I learned in undergrad. Imagine whats going to happen when I’m spending 40 hours a week trying to learn things I’ve never even heard of before! The professors are so nice–completely accessible. They practically beg us to come to them with questions and problems. And I know that I will have so many questions–just as soon as I figure out what is going on! I’m not lost, per say. I’m just feeling things out. How detailed should my understanding be? How do I know what is important, and what is a tangent. Right now everything is new. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. In lab the other day, we were learning to palpate for abnormalities, and our instructor looked at me and said, “Why don’t you start?” and pointed me towards my partner. And because I am clearly very intelligent, I said, “Do you want me to touch him?” My professor laughed at me. Of course I was supposed to touch my partner. That’s what palpate means (I swear I know vocabulary). But what I actually meant to ask was How am I supposed to palpate? It was our first lab. I didn’t know where to start. I mean, where do I put my hands and then what do I do with them?
I will say this: Group studying is essential. I was never really good at in undergrad, but one week into medical school and I don’t know what I would do without it. Just sitting around and talking things over with a friend is indispensable. Yesterday over lunch, Stephanie and I had a discussion about cytology (cell structure) and she asked a question I hadn’t considered. Working the answer out together solidified my understanding better than any studying or reading could. And I love all this learning. Really! Its awesome to be challenged everyday in new and exciting ways. The best part is that I’m immersed in subjects that I genuinely enjoy. Yesterday we had our first ultrasound lab and I completely geeked out! It is SO COOL to look at muscles and organs on the ultrasound machine and be able to pick out what everything is. I am truly thrilled to be here; I just don’t know what I’m doing yet!