25% Doctor Already

Today officially marks the end of first year medical school at Stony Brook. I look back and can’t help but feel amazed at how far I’ve come.

I finished my Pathology exam early this morning. School technically ended last Monday, but 2 full days were dedicated to studying before 3 mega-exams, all for one class. That’s the reality of medical school: you have one course block that leeches your energy and sanity. This year, I started off first semester with Molecular Foundations (Biochemistry & Genetics) and Gross Anatomy. Subsequently, I had blocks of Neuroscience, Physiology, and Pathology. Seemingly simple right? You would think so. It’s true that there’s only one class at a time, every freaking day. Neuroscience was pretty crazy, nearly every day brains for 5 hours. It became more entertaining to equate cross sections of brain to animals, like a sad puppy. Who knew that one organ system (the brain and nervous system) could be squished into one week, but also be the most complicated part of the human body.

Don’t get me started on Physiology. As much as I loved learning about how the body works like a biological machine, every week was hectic. One organ system a week and a stressful OSCE session/mini-exam every Monday. When the second-years warned us that we were going to have no lives during Physiology, they meant we had no lives. Small group conferences landed on Fridays and weekends were dedicated to studying up the week’s organ system to prepare for Monday’s OSCE case and subsequent ‘quiz.’ Glad that was over with.

However, once Pathology hit, I was burnt like a brisket. I was so lazy for a good 2 weeks, until it hit me that I had an Immunology midterm worth 15% of my grade coming up. Even after that, I cruised through the semester, going to classes and doing my own thing. No stress, no sense of reality, and no angel on my shoulder poking me to ‘study study STUDY.’ As a matter of fact, I don’t think I worked THAT hard, because I managed to work out, eat well, sleep soundly, and hang out with friends. That is, until perhaps the week before an exam where I jam crammed my noggin into the wee hours. Not good memories >.<

However, it has been an easy-breezy two months. I never left vacation mode after finishing Physiology and coming back from Spring Break. Now, everything’s over. I attended classes, I studied in the library, and I caught up on all my lectures on cancer and anything that can grossly go wrong in the human body. And yet, I feel like I had too easy of a time through these last months. The important thing right now, is that first year is OVER. I am a quarter of a doctor now, and only half way done with dry books and mechanisms. The fun jungle-gym time through rotations have not even begun.

My summer has officially kick-started. Technically, it started weeks ago when I started sporting my summer dresses and hitting the tennis courts and running Circle Road. Today after the shelf exam, I bumped into some friends. We were all standing at the library lobby and chatting up a circus. The crowd got bigger and louder as students shuffled out of the computer lab. High fives and high hands, we were letting the freedom sink in. I don’t think anyone realized how excited they were getting with this grand finale, because the librarian/student at the desk climbed on a chair and shouted on top of her lungs at us. She said, “Hey Hey, HEY. Please BE QUIET! THIS IS STILL A LIBRARY. IF YOU WANT TO TALK, TAKE IT OUTSIDE OF THE LIBRARY…” My friends and I shuttled out. Later we heard that students still did not quiet down, and she started banging on the bell that’s supposed to be used to get the attention of the librarians. Instead, ironically, it was used to shut up the jovial medical students. Let’s be serious, who else would be studying in the summer? We were the only people seriously studying our souls out for the last round of Pathology exams. Now that we were done, who else would be as studious as us, except for the second years studying for their Judgement Day. Whatever, med students pissed off the library again and it was epically funny.

I am ready for my oncology rotation in India. I am ready for this HEATING summer! BUT, some things get in the way of my happiness… Bugs. Idiotic bugs. I woke up this morning to a major itch on my forehead. I was sleeping like a lion cub, rolled up under my blankets. I scratched my forehead, thinking it was just some allergic reaction or random itch. Then I heard a familiar buzz. A damn mosquito. I whacked it away, but by then it was too late. The buzzing bugger already made a feast out of my forehead. I looked in the mirror and found a pattern of red, itchy bumps. If you connected my 6 bites together, it’s like a trapezoid. The most prominent 4 bites form an irregular square. It’s mad itchy and I really want to scratch it. However, it’s uncomfortable to scratch, because my forehead is not very fleshy; I just feel underlying bone and I’m rubbing on a smooth surface. Since the morning, the bug bites have just puffed and ballooned, red and butt ugly =/ Why mosquito must you be gluttonous with my face?! It took bites out of my forehead, only to die later when my mom killed a bug with lots of blood. My blood! The damn mosquito died at the expense of my face! I’m rubbing my swollen forehead now like a genie bottle and wishing it would just go away. Painful, hot, and itchy… what else can I do?

While I recover from my massive reaction on the forehead, I will enjoy the beginnings of my free summer and plan to have a good time in India =)

I can go to India’s Regional Cancer Center and say this with gusto:

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