“Be a source of joy, and let the critics and haters complain about the world.” ― Paulo Coelho

It’s December 9th. It’s been almost five months since my last entry. In the time that has elapsed: I traveled (to Dallas, Atlanta, and Cancún), I read many novels, and I returned to school. I’ve thought about posting; in fact, I started a few posts and never got around to editing or publishing. I’ve received emails, some panicked, about my hiatus. The panicked emails sound something like: “are you not posting as regularly because second year is significantly harder than first year?” Good question.

Two of my classmates (shout-out to Ken & Liz) asked me, a few months back, why I had (essentially) abandoned my blog. My response: “Can we just agree that second year is crazy? I haven’t had the energy to write about medical school. I’m just trying to get through it.” Take note that I had just spent 2.5 hours chatting outside of the library, so my response was very melodramatic and I obviously have time to blog.

Back to the question posed by an anxious reader; is second year significantly harder than first year?  I think I can boil the differences down to this: the material is more dense yet far more interesting; the work takes longer but is far more rewarding. I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed the past six blocks of MS2 year: inflammation / immunology, microbiology, hematology & oncology, cardiology (okay…maybe I didn’t enjoy this one so much), renal, and pulmonology — in another post, I’ll discuss how I studied for each of the blocks.

I haven’t taken an official poll or anything of the sort, but I’d say that the stress level of TUSOM’s MS2 class is at all all time high. Is that because there is more material? Perhaps. I wouldn’t rule that out. I think the over-looming, dark, gray cloud of USMLE 1 is taking its toll — I just scheduled my test date 🙈. It’s understandable. Finding the balance between studying course material and “high-yield” material for USMLE 1 is difficult and in some cases frustrating.  It’s really easy to get caught up in the “medical school is terrible and everything sucks and do we really need to know any of this?” mentality. It’s really easy to study all (okay, that’s impossible but you know what I mean) the time and never make time to recharge. It’s really easy to compromise your well being for a few extra points on an exam. It’s really easy to forget how important it is to be happy.  Take a break. Remind yourself of what you love about medicine. Take comfort in the fact that when you get questions wrong in pre-clinical year, it doesn’t negatively impact the health of a patient. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks about that?  Go engage in puppy therapy — speaking of that, I met the cutest puppy in the French Quarter this past weekend.

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So to the anxious reader: yes, second year is significantly harder than first year. No, that is not why I’ve neglected to post. I’ve just been lazy in that regard.

To fellow readers who are in medical school: we got this! We can make it through.

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