How to Survive Medical School: Second Year Coursework

I can’t believe I’m saying this but: today is  my first day of third year! I took USMLE 1 a month ago weeks ago. It is such a relief to be beyond that exam. Since then, I’ve done a bit of traveling and I’ve tried to stop panicking about my impending score. In the future, I’ll share with y’all my strategies to study for the exam and to stay sane and motivated throughout my dedicated study period. In this post, I want to continue to chat about how I tackled second year coursework. It’s probably a good idea to first read the post about how I studied throughout the year.

Second Year at TUSOM: Second year begins in May with the inflammation (pathology, immunology, & clinical diagnosis) block. That block is followed by two months of well-deserved summer and then followed by the following blocks: microbiology (microbiology and immunology), hematology/oncology (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), cardiology (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), renal (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), pulmonary (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), gastrointestinal (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), neurology (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), reproduction/endocrine (microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, & clinical diagnosis), and psychiatry (pathology & pharmacology).

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“Always trust a microbiologist because they have the best chance of predicting when the world will end.” ― Teddie O. Rahube

I have a confession. The sort of confession that will render me forever a nerd in your eyes. I am in love with Microbe Invader. Before you judge, give me a chance to explain myself.

microbe invaderThe best way to describe the game is: Pokemon for microbiologists. Your character is a medical student new to the Infectious Disease team. Under the tutelage of Dr. Taylor, your attending, your character makes efforts to diagnose patients and treat their infectious diseases.

battleSharon Pizzabreath (I love the names!) is fighting an E. coli infection. With the assistance of pharmaceuticals, your character is able to treat the diseases  and earn  badges. Honestly, it’s a really cool game and it is sucking up a large chunk of my time–thank goodness it’s summer!


The world of microbiology is quite beautiful, but I may be biased because I find infectious diseases extremely fascinated. Nonetheless, the game is extremely informative–perhaps good preparation for Step 1?–but it’s actually a lot of fun. Perhaps too much fun. Seriously, I need to dial back. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comment box below.