Third year has been a year of firsts thus far. I have seen and learned a great many things. It has wowed me, excited me, frustrated me, exhausted me, saddened me, and disturbed me in my every day encounters. With half the year behind me now, I would like to talk about my experience.
With two months to organize myself for the coming year, it has given me a lot of time to think about the last year. Three-eighths of the way, I gave a review of the first term of second year. Now, another term complete and having earned half my M.D. title, it feels right to write another summary.
Given that it is the largest organ by surface area, it was amusing to see dermatology condensed into a single week. I suppose once you know the ABCDEs of categorizing skin lesions, you are well equipped to handle any situation. However, sometimes lesions are vague or very similar in appearance to others. Land mine or dud? Tread carefully.
Then came the brain. Over a gruelling two month period, we explored the deepest anatomical corners of the brain, learned tracts from top to bottom, and studied behaviour and psychology. The challenges of this block were two fold. First, some of the concepts were difficult to abstract, especially understanding the relation and integration of various tracts, in itself a complex web of interactions. Secondly, due to the complexity of the brain, some concepts could not be covered without mentioning other points of interest that would be covered further in the block. It was constantly a struggle to keep up with concepts A and B, when concept B was to be further discussed a few weeks later. Only at the end of the block could we finally see the big picture.
After the struggles above, we went down into the reproduction block, a simple and easy to follow curriculum that was a welcome change of pace. This block was noteworthy for its overabundance of graphic pictures and videos and the fair warning to the ladies of our class to be weary of advanced maternal age.
The last block, following the reproductive block nicely was paediatric and adolescent development. The big talking points in this block were milestones and nutrition factoids. The key to understanding this block was to memorize the facts cold. Getting the short end of the stick, the study time for this block suffered in light of its close proximity to our final exams. We held our breath that the few factoids we tried to memorize each day would stay fresh enough in our minds for the exam.
Histology, pathology, and anatomy continued to be integrated into the curriculum wherever it applied. Anatomy in particular took centre stage for the brain, while histology was important for the skin, the brain, and for reproduction.
Family practice and clinical skills courses continued to give us exposure to the routines we would need to know for our careers.
The exams this term were again challenging. I would rank them as equal to those from last term. The questions that caused me the most difficulties were the scenario questions. Reading and digesting the information presented in the scenario took time and slowed me down to a panic. Time was of the essence and I had to work fast. I dreaded every one of these questions.
For my rural rotation, which is actually part of my third year, I have already written my thoughts on that in a prior post. Now I am just trying to get my affairs in order and enjoy the summer while I still can.
Another term has come to an end and I am now one step closer to graduation, albeit an unsteady one. This term has been a bittersweet journey on a cobbled road. There were beautiful times spent and wonderful things witnessed, but it has had its harsher times; there were moments on this stretch where the forest grew so thick and dark I could have lost my way. But I managed. I have managed to get through this term, but this is just the first stretch of terrain. Another term awaits.