Year two is behind me!

Hello fellow OPMers

Year two of my medical training is now OVER, as of 5:00 PM yesterday, june 18th, 2009.

I have not yet received the results for the last round of exams, and although it is true that it ain’t over till the old lady sings, I do have a positive feeling about how things went, and do expect to receive a successful grade for all my exams.

It is an absolute thrill to know that the two pre-clinical years, widely known to be particularly demanding, are behind me. From this point on as I look ahead, clinical rotations are my main area of focus. The timeline being a bit different at my school (Quebec, Canada) compared to most US schools, rotations don’t become a subject of planning or discussion until the summer preceding the start of rotations – ie, now. In my case, rotations will be starting in January 2010, and will last 17 months.

The later part of this second year was particularly difficult for me. In an earlier post, I had mentioned hematology as being specially challenging. In all honesty, the material was not that difficult, nor was it that bad from a ‘quantity of information’ standpoint; I have to conclude that the subject matter simply went ‘against my grain’. I did obtain a successful grade, and am glad for that, but it meant a lot, a real lot of hard work. The quantity of reading, repetition, reviewing etc … did take a toll on me, and in late February a sense of exhaustion gradually set in. This feeling of fatigue basically remained with me for the remainder of the school year. This means that the 3 blocks following hematology, i.e. infectious diseases, endocrinology and gynecology/obstetrics were particularly grueling for me. Migraines, tears, fatigue and self-doubt became daily companions. As the onslaught of reading assignments kept increasing, I had to remind myself that I am in a marathon, fatigue is to be expected, and I have to refrain from viewing my situation as a race or sprint. I started playing a very delicate balancing act between study time, and rest time; I had to listen to my body as it gave me ‘too tired signals’ and balance this against my progress as I often received ‘insufficent mastery signals’. Our class unfortunately lost several members towards the later part of the year, depression often cited as the reason. A number of my classmates reported having to go onto anti-depressive medication.

I feel I am rambling on here. Let me end this post by reconfirming that which has been written on numerous occasions. Medical school is demanding, and will suck all your energy. Not giving up was an important part of my pulling through second year. Finishing 2nd year is an absolute thrill!


Ron, ½MD

Hi Ron, Congratulations on finishing your second year…it definitely sounds like a tough one, but you did it! So what do you do between now and January 2010? Do you have boards that you have to study for?

Not to worry – supposedly over 1/2 of the class ahead of us (people that just graduated) were on beta blockers or SSRIs at some point…If you let it get to you (like I did) it can be an emotionally and physically draining experience…