Friday, September 17, 2010

The View from the Treetops



The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley ~ Robert Burns

Boy, did he ever get that right. I was planning on stealing a few minutes every day for writing, even if it was only a paragraph or two. Turns out, this program is just like medical school. Now, what madness possessed me to think it would be otherwise? I know, it's a review course. Uh-huh -- that and a buck something will buy you a cup of coffee at MacDonald's.

Let me tell you, as I said to one of my roommates, a fourth year student from Chicago preparing for step two of the USMLE, "I feel like I've been rode hard and put up wet." He knew exactly what I meant. And that's one of the things I've always loved about being part of the community of doctors and medical students. You can't be so tired, so overwhelmed, or so overworked that someone can't empathize and generally does. It's wonderful.

Anyway, this program is very much like medical school. You see, I've had the sneaking suspicion the material we cover in our first two years, that accumulates as rapidly as blizzard-quality snow piling high against the side of my barn, needs to be boiled down to the essentials for board preparation. It simply has to be. Some things are important and others are so insignificant even the writers of board questions don't care whether we know them or not.

The process of boiling down is what our professors here have undertaken on our behalf (thank God), teaching us how to look at our education and see what is critical, namely, the big picture. Now, the truth is, I really should have written, the BIG picture, because it's more accurate that way. There is an amazing amount of material to handle in the course of eight hours of lecture and Socratic dialogue each day.

I'm having a great time, rest assured, but it's still a lot of work and some days, like yesterday, I'll drag myself up the stairs to my third-floor apartment wishing the management office had seen fit to put me on the ground floor, instead. I like my treetop patio, and this morning, at 49 degrees, the solitude (excluding the traffic on the main road) is refreshingly delightful. But the intensity of learning and then knowing I've got 40 pages of notes to go over, reminds me that even when breaking things down to their essentials, the view from the treetops can be formidable in its own right.

(Photo by the author, copyright 2010)
Enhanced by Zemanta
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...