Who sent me to go and become a doctor?
It’s not too late there’s probably still openings at *insert place of lesser establishment*…
Can we just skip to 2019? *gets question wrong* Never mind I’ll probably ruin my first patient…
My brain hurts, I’m tired, there’s no food in the fridge, I’m broke…
Just a few of the thoughts that have run through my head over the past 4 weeks of my STEP1 study journey. Of course, if you know me, there’s 10x’s more positive thoughts floating around than the negative stuff, but just saying that these times have been trying. I’m 2 weeks out from my test with no intentions of pushing my test back by the grace of God. But when I say I’ve never studied for a test as hard as I have for this, I mean it. Every morning I’m up at 6am, spend quiet time with God, watch the sunrise as I go to school (sounds good right?), then sit in a room for the next 12 hours or so before coming home to keep pushing. I mean I take “breaks” in that time of course, and I still go to the gym to maintain my sanity. But I barely have time to do anything else. And it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I find myself asking “is __ really worth this extra UWorld set I could be getting done?” or “should I work on my blog/go to the gym/call this friend or finish this chapter of reading/go through these anatomy points/review micro?” And with such a cramped amount of time to study, I can’t afford to get behind! So I’ve made many sacrifices in this period for sake of my studies–which will pay off in due time (at least that’s what they tell us). Some days my body just can’t do it and I find myself in the fetal position, other days I’m stronger than ever.
Despite everything, I’m still standing, and here’s a few things I’ve learned over the last 4 weeks:
You can still laugh
During the first week of studying, I was so locked in that I didn’t realize how deprived I was from social interaction until we had some friends over our apartment studying. I don’t even remember what we were talking about, but we were just cracking up and inside I was like woah, I feel like I haven’t done this in a while! So that was a quick simple lesson to not get caught up in all the moroseness of studying.
Your classmates know the real you now
During the year, I had weave, twists, crochet, etc. so I didn’t have to worry about managing my natural hair. But during this period I’ve just been wearing my natural hair because I don’t like having hair all in my face. I’ve done cornrows, french braids, etc. to try and spice things up, but after a few days, especially without any make-up I just go back to looking homeless haha. So the classmates I see these days on campus have gotten to know the real me, because I just don’t have time. And unfortunately my Nigerian hair doesn’t just pull back into a nice ponytail/bun.
You need sleep
When I don’t get enough sleep the night before–at least 7 hours–I surely pay for it the next day. My neck just gives out on me and my eyelids follow suit. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, I rely on sleep to make sure my brain is alert the next day. So I have to think twice before I decide to do any extra work after my bed time (which is very tempting actually–wow, how sad is my life lol). When the sleep man comes for me during the day though, I make a double dose of green tea to keep it pushing.
You’re not stupid (even when you miss a Q that 95% of people got right)
I remind myself of this constantly. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone else also studying. Especially when you’re constantly being tossed into percentiles. But I’ve learned to trust in my knowledge and have confidence in what I know which has brought me very far. There’s a lot of things I don’t know, but there’s a lot I do know too!
You’re not a machine
The human body wasn’t designed to live like this. No way. You can’t expect yourself to be able to sustain this kind of intensity day in and day out. Common medical school is one thing but this is a whole ‘nother level! It’s OK if you get tired, it’s OK if you want to spend hours on the phone instead of study, it’s OK to rearrange your schedule to squeeze in more time for yourself. Now let’s not get carried away of course, this isn’t play time I have to do well on this exam, but I just have to be real with myself and continue listening to my body.
God is faithful
All the time. I write my prayers out and there are days when I’ll say God if I make it through this day still standing on my 2 feet then I know it was only by your grace because I just don’t have the strength. When I am weak he is strong. Ancient of days. When I finish this marathon I will praise Him without end.
Ok that’s all the rambling I got. I’ll keep y’all updated on my journey! Keep me in your prayers!