Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Smells Like First Years

I've been helping tutor first year students in Gross Anatomy for a couple of weeks. It's funny how quickly time moves here. Just a year ago, I was in their shoes, losing my mind over the upcoming Gross test and Biochemistry. Now, I barely remember those classes as more "doctor-y" stuff has taken over: better classes, preceptorships, the BOARDS. Gross? No biggie. But last year, these things scared the hell out of me, and so I'm trying to remember that feeling. It's like when I give tours to interviewing students who are desperately trying to get into medical school, and I am so out of touch with their stress. Getting in here? Easy! Getting out of here will be the hard part. I am not so upbeat about the BOARDS, you see. I registered for the test the other day, and I thought I would hyperventilate. The TEST to end all tests, determining my fate, etc. Dammit, I'm probably going into primary care; I'm not going into Derm in New York or at Johns Hopkins. My board score will not matter too much, especially if I keep my grades where they've been at. But because medical students are inherently Type A and neurosis-prone, I worry. This test is not for 7 months, but I'm already freaking out.

I've added a new stress to my life: planning for a wedding. I've been engaged for 1.5 years now, and we're just now getting to where we can set a date. We're looking at June 2006, right after I take the BOARDS. Some weekend soon, I'm going to go have a girly day at David's Bridal and try on wedding dress after wedding dress, hoping against hope to find one that doesn't make me look like a short, wide snowman. I may find one with an accent of color, just so I don't wash totally out (white is sooo not my color, I'm way too pale). I think we should have brunch first, then go be girly (girlie?).

That reminds me of a funny funny story my sister told me earlier. She and I are both wicked, wicked spelling and grammar fiends. Put a page of type in front of either of us, and our eyes immediately jump to the one misspelled word on the page. Their/they're/there errors make me wish to claw my eyes out, as do its/it's errors and improper apostrophe usage. So the story: she got an email from a fellow employee which gave some complicated directions, then said "Sorry for the incontinence." Oops. Someone who relied upon spellcheck accidentally told the entire City of Lubbock (who read their email, which means the small percent of city employees who are actually literate) that he was sorry for the accidental release of urine or feces. This, chilluns, is why they teach us spelling and vocabulary in elementary school.

Well, I thought it was funny, anyway.

So what is it with medical students who can't read? Seriously, there are some kiddoes in my PBL groups where we have to read out loud who sound like they're being tortured at the stake. Some people will skip words, or read the wrong word instead of the correct one, and not realize it until later in the sentence when it makes no sense. Some consistently leave off the ends of words or syllables in the middle of words, like "cellular" into "cellar". These are all minor offenses, I admit, but they are repeated so often that they just grate into my poor little OCD soul. Pronunciation is a huge issue, too. Medical terms are complicated. Try saying "dysdiadochokinesia" twenty times fast, or "metoproterenol". I love these words, however. For the most part, these words come from Latin or Greek and are pronounced phonetically. I can't believe I just admitted that aloud (or in writing, anyway), because now I am officially a SuperGeek. Yes, I like to say medical words because they sound cool. Is there a 12-step program for this?

One more observation for this post: Never underestimate the power of medical students to make you feel badly about yourself in some capacity. We all have such huge egos that we are never, ever satisfied with what we've done. Case in point: I make good grades, and I know a lot of fellow students who HATE me for that. They also hate that I leave tests early (I'm a fast reader), and like to point this out to me. In turn, I feel like a horrible person every time I hear some other student talk about this or that huge charity event they sponsored, or the medical mission trip they took over the summer. One of my friends was in the Peace Corps for a whole year. It makes me feel like an ungrateful middle-class Caucasian. Actually, I do quite a bit of volunteer work, but not nearly as much as I'd like to. Other medical students are well-traveled, taking random summer trips to China, Thailand, South America, Europe, etc. I feel so incredibly uncultured and poor. I went to Germany and Austria once on a band trip, doesn't that count? A 4th year said the other day "I try to leave the country once a year". Damn, isn't that expensive? And a hassle? (Yes, I realize that's a sentence fragment; let's get past that, shall we?) So, I'm a nerdy, untraveled, uncultured, ungrateful, uncharitable white girl. *sigh* I just regret too much. Every road I've never taken, I regret. Any opportunity I could have had and missed out on, I miss. Especially, now, the opportunity to do anything with my life other than medical school. (Actually, not, but I had to lighten the mood somehow.)

Now, I will go cook dinner, and go see Nine Inch Nails(!!!!!!!!!!) this evening in concert. Jealous? You should be!

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