Overall it was actually a very straight forward and easy exam. And that just makes it all the more painful when my nerves get the best of me and I miss the easy points.
Square yourself away and get your act together, brain!
Yesterday, I was a groomsmen in a wedding. Even among the wedding party, we had doctors and doctors to be. Though we may not have always been acquainted, it was a strange thought to have so many of us in the same network of people.
Tangibly, I felt I had joined the ranks of a culture that connects me with other like-minded individuals, more than I had ever thought. A “six degrees of separation” in true form.
I was in their company. Sharing some stories with the doctors-to-be from other schools, there was a great reassurance that our lives ran parallel to each other, that we were all making the same journey, that everything would be okay.
After weeks of studying, it had come down to this day: the surgery oral examination. Historically, it has remained one of the most challenging exams in third year. It covers a wide variety of subspecialties to great depth; of course, who can forget the intimidation factor of a face to face interrogation?
I went into the first station, sheer terror gripping tight my heart with icy fingers, knowing full well what merciless horrors senior students had suffered in this hour in years past. I hoped I was up to the job.
I was not prepared for what I was about to endure.
From the moment I was seated and the timer started, the questions lay siege. An unrelenting torrent that had me choking and drowning in my own words. The surgeons meticulously picked apart my answers and showed me how wrong some of my answers were.
It was a sorry sight indeed; the other stations were no better.
I felt embarrassed, shamed and defeated. I had not only come face to face with the expectations of the surgeon and fell well short, but I had come face to face with my own. Worse than the biting comments of a surgeon was knowing that I had let myself down.
Having said that, the entire exam took me to that space that is often talked about but not always explored: the space of the unknown. The surgeons today forced me inwards and ripped from the depths of my mind the large voids in my knowledge. And though the experience getting there was not a pleasant one, I must move past this and press onward with the hope that I can retrace my steps to this sacred place in my knowledge scape and rebuild.
This blog has always been an outlet for me. It offers me a moment of clarity to gather myself and my thoughts. Though I do my best to check the emotions at the door and keep what I write honest but professional, feelings are not a breed to be tamed.
Thank you very much to those of you who offered words of support in light of my recent post. I am very grateful for your kindness in this difficult time. A lot of issues are coming to a head, from exams and rotations, to career and family planning. It is a strange place to be in this journey.
This, I am sure, will pass.
Thanks again to everyone for your continued support and patience. I look forward to sharing more stories as circumstances allow.
Tom of the Medical State of Mind
I am studying at the moment for specialties wholly unrelated to my current rotation specialty.
Suffice it to say that my stress level is very high.
I will post more regularly again once everything simmers down. For now the only tasks on my agenda are: study, study, study.
Thank you all for your patience,
Tom of the Medical State of Mind.