SEPTEMBER 8, 2008
So the first week of MS2 is now officially down the tubes. I responded to the school year starting up again by putting off studying for as long as physically possible, but just as a crack addict needs his... crack, a medical student needs his studying, and the multicolor highlighters are now out in force. The first day of the year went pretty much exactly like I expected. After the fun of seeing everyone wore off (read: 30 minutes), the day felt just like any other day of medical school.
So, (I can see you pre-meds and MS1s rabidly foaming at the mouth) how is MS2 compared to MS1?
One of my more famous (or Follies infamous) posts was my ruminations on competitive eating. Yeah, MS1 is a lot like putting down a ton of hot dogs. After a while, you ask yourself why you ever liked hot dogs because, after all, its made of all the discarded parts of a cow. Who would ever want to eat that? But you eat and eat and eat, because there's nothing to do but eat. And summer break begins with you seriously overweight with a glossly flaccid stomach. But after a while you forget why you hated hot dogs, and are at a BBQ, and slowly creep towards that hot dog bun. Because part of you misses the hot dogs, as sick as the thought of eating one makes you.
Well, thankfully, MS2 is nothing like eating hot dogs. You're done with the days of all the leftover cow parts. Instead, MS2 is like a nice, juicy, delicious steak. The lecturers don't talk down to you (as much), the majority of the information thrown at your brain is rooted in some form of the actual clinical practice of medicine (aka the succulent hip, not the leftovers), and hell, you're a competitive hot dog eater, putting down a steak should be fun compared to hot dogs. After all, eating steak is an enjoyable experience.
Enjoyable at first, that is, until you realize the steak is 72oz. And steak sits in the stomach a lot heavier than hot dogs. And steak is all that is on the menu for the next 8 months. You're a competitive eater, so you know how to eat, but this is different. More tasty, but more challenging.
So yeah, MS2 is a lot more enjoyable than MS1. Instead of being forced to memorize a bunch of information a PhD would rarely find useful, the information is much more tailored and relevant to the practice of medicine. Instead of stumbling around in the dark looking for the fastest way to cram as many drug names, half-lives, metabolic pathways, and enzyme topographical maps into your brain, you're talking about how said drugs are actually being used to treat disease, how errant pathways manifest themselves symptomatically, and what current literature says about treatment strategies. But there's no getting around the fact that this is still medical school. And you're a MS2 now, the information comes faster. I already feel behind. We already have an exam in a week. My favorite neighborhood baristas already know that I am back at it. I already haven't talked to many of my friends since class started. It's still a crapload of information, and its still not going to be fun some of the time. But you can take heart in the fact that it is better information.
Ironically, as I stuffed myself with steak yesterday, cracking my syllabus for the first time this year to get my eat on, one of the first topics I had to study was... coronary artery disease. I think I feel heartburn coming on.
As an added note, Med11 (appropriately named the Pill Hill Pirates... arrrrrrgh) took the title in the first inaugural PA/MD kickball tournament yesterday, in an epic 14-13 title game which came down to a gut wrenching bottom of the 9th defensive slugfest. You have never seen a competitive kickball game until you throw a bunch of anal type A personalities together and tell them to go at it. Trust me.