Apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been getting into a tricky new routine: medical boards prep (USMLE Step 1). I’ve been trying to use Ari’s daycare hours as distinct time-markers for studying but, today being my eighth day of studying, I have yet to complete my scheduled topics of review/reading/study questions in that time period…or any time, for that matter. And my poor girl has been the first to arrive and the last to leave daycare for several days, then she returns utterly exhausted, falling asleep in her highchair as she smashes a slice of avocado onto her tongue and the left side of her face. We haven’t quite hit our stride.
One physician who spoke to us at orientation to med school, God, almost three years ago, said that it took him until just recently in his career to not feel like a total fraud. It was a relief to hear that, but it didn’t make me any less convinced that, no really, I am a fraud; I’m not really supposed to be here. The funny thing is, I also considered that maybe 80, 90% of my classmates felt similarly. Med school is hard and, in large part, it’s the intense fear of failure that keeps even the smartest, most outwardly confident among us going. At least that’s my impression.
I don’t believe it even has that much to do with us not feeling like we’ll be capable physicians, when the time comes. It’s more the constant struggle of learning test nuances so that you pick the right answer when two (or three) of the answers truly seem like “the next best step” (because, come on, in an emergency, wouldn’t they all be happening simultaneously?). It’s the anxiety of guessing exactly how much detail this attending you’re only just meeting will want in your patient presentations, the first impression likely being the only one he’ll remember. Oh, unless you cry during rounds after vomiting in a patient’s bathroom while trying to conceal a pregnancy–he’ll remember that too.
I’m being circumstantial. To the point: I feel like I owe it to myself to do well on this exam. And I’m willing to try unconventional solutions in order to go into the boards feeling, knowing that I’m gonna kick the shit out of it. Right now I’m experimenting with body language. It’s fascinating. I know it’s different than an interview setting, but I find myself placing my hands on my neck frequently as I churn through the question bank. Wouldn’t it be a fun experiment to treat the test almost like an interview, presenting myself as confident, creative, and capable?
And an Aurelia update: the summer solstice is her new favorite holiday. Cool, dewy grass and crisp, sweet watermelon–does it get any better?