Apr 1, 2008

Oh now come on

Ah, baby's first path exam and can I just get a "hooooo my god" from the audience? Thank you very much.

Fourth term at SGU, as most of you may know, has a reputation for being a killer nasty horrible amount of work that leaves you ten years old at the end of the few months you have to learn about everything they ever talk about on House. Tonight, I went over for split pea soup and brownies (not mixed together) when they said the word "sarcoidosis". Keep it to yourself, Hugh Laurie. I don't want to hear it today.

Path was... hmmm...

The funny thing is that I feel infinitely worse about my scores that I did last night when I was way more stressed about taking this exam but had worked hard enough that I was sure I was going to nail it, but just didn't like the final countdown.

Now I'm like "Well... uh... damn" BUT I feel SO much better simply because it's over. I don't even care what I got on it. Okay, that's not true, I care a little. And I need to muster up some more care for micro on Friday, because I'm like two weeks behind due to studying for the monstrosity they gave us today.

Test was first component of slides. I did my new exam-stress little "first 10 minute feeling of fainting no matter what the difficulty of the material actually is" thing that I've developed in place of stress-induced insomnia. Basically, it works like this: I start the exam and get through between 3-5 questions. Regardless of whether the question is "You are studying to be what profession?" or "There are 200 possible mutations of the BRCA genes. Name them.", I feel really light headed and get to put my head down attempting to be covert in a manner that doesn't suggest fainting OR cheating. Then, I get to suddenly break out in an intense sweat that causes me to smell like feet, while smearing forehead material on my desk. Then, again, regardless of the difficulty of the exam, I'm fine, and the only thing I've done is make all my colleagues think I'm out of my mind, and overwhelm whoever's sitting next to me with the sudden strength of my transudate.

So it's actually working out okay for me. Have I mentioned that medical school takes whatever small idiosyncrasies you have and magnifies them to the nth power? So if you have little periods of depression, you're gonna develop major depressive disorder. If you're moody, you're going full blown bipolar. If you have a cold, you're going to develop lupus; just the way it works.

So that was for the slides. The weird thing is, I knew every single one of the slides. I had seen them before and could identify them in seconds. The other thing, was in a couple of cases, I knew what the slide was going to be before it even came up. So despite not feeling well, identification was the easy part since it consisted of glancing up at the screen for two seconds and going "uh huh. Liquefactive necrosis".

Problem being that for the most part, these were not the sorts of questions given, so I ended up writing exactly what the slide was, so I could go back later and figure out which interleukins were secreted from which cells causing which pyrogenic reactions that lay in the house that jack built from second term when I was hypothetically learning this stuff, which was the ACTUAL question. Not "what is this?", but "this is ________. Now... DRAW IT'S MOLECULAR STRUCTURE! MWA HA!"

After the slides, and this is the fun part, they give you long ass clinical vignettes where you figure out the causative agent behind the patient's symptoms, identify the mechanisms and morphology, and diagnose the patient, only to have them give it to you in the last sentence of the question and then ask you a weird esoteric detail of activated macrophages. Again.

Now, it took me repetition of typhoid fever versus typhus and mucormycosis versus aspergillus about five hundred times before I got them straight and could draw out most of their characteristics. Could you just ASK me that? I can diagnose a patient from 50 yards. After that, if I need to know what interleukins are being secreted, I can do what any doctor does and type the diagnosis into google and pick the treatment option that shows up the most hits so long as "FATAL" and "CLASS ACTION" do not come up as additional key words. Internet doctoring.

The most fun part of an exam is when an exam goes from puzzlingly difficult to ridiculously difficult, which is the point where it stops being stressful and starts being funny. At least for me. This was around question 90 when things dissolved into an oncogenic molecular pathology alphabet soup where I was looking at some questions going "Okay, it's possible and quite likely that I'm stupid, but the nature of this question makes me think that there's about 10% of the people here that actually know this and they've probably taken this class before." And the weird part is, the stress kind of went away. It's a beautiful moment where you stop thinking about 'maybe an "A"!' and you're all in it together to just pass. It's where you walk out of the exam and everyone is just grimly laughing, and planning to arrange into the same path groups when you inevitably have to call a do-over.

This is also where I really like my class. See, I love the 'grade' as much as the next person, but I'm not huge on the ubercompetitive bust others to head off the potential destruction of my "edge", unless I'm playing a House drinking game (Vasculitis!), and for the most part, while even being a solo studier, my class is one that largely seems to support each other, help each other, and so forth, with each other, even when stressed, and that is SO cool. We've got people posting tutorials, helping with path questions, giving tips, helping out, and I cannot imagine medical school without that environment because everyone is perched delicately enough on the edge.

So now, having taken that ego hit with path, it's time to figure out what those creepy crawlies that make your skin (and nether regions) itch are. By Friday. Or else.


Anonymous said...

I hope you rocked your path and will do the same for micro.

I'm a first termer and I read your posts religously.

I have followed your advise, you have been a latern in a dark cave.

Any other tips for finals in biochem?

Anonymous said...

Hi there!
My name is Samal!

I know this is really random but I found your blogspot address on www.valuemd.com. I will be applying to SGU shortly, hoping to start in January.

I have some questions about the school and wondered if you would be willing to answer a few.

If not that's cool. I would also be creeped out if some random person wrote on my blogspot.

Anyway, my address is jakobsens@jbu.edu

Ishie said...

Hi guys! Thanks for reading, and I'm flattered!

I will be more than happy (and am known for verbosity if you can't tell) to answer any questions that I am qualified to answer just as soon as the microbio exam tomorrow and subsequent alcohol poisoning resolves!