6.15.2012

Enduring the Pre-Clinical Years

The first two years of med school

#whatshouldwecallmedschool

The first two years of med school are an uphill battle.  Med students are attempting to amass more information than anyone ever should, at a faster rate of speed than they likely thought possible.  They are attending lectures, dealing with the politics of their school, going to small groups, writing papers, taking countless tests and trying to remember why they signed up for this whole med school thing.  

Throughout the last two years, there have been several things that have really helped to make the long journey through pre-clinicals a bit more bearable for my husband.  (We were in no way compensated for recommending any of these - unfortunately!)

  • Amazon Prime Membership:  When my husband started med school, Amazon was offering their Prime service (read: complimentary 2-day shipping) free of charge for students for an entire year, and boy did we ever utilize it.  Not only for getting the necessary books and study tools for school...I loved it for Christmas shopping too!  When that first year of our Prime membership ended, we wandered around the house, trying to figure out how we were to continue surviving without it.  It was rapidly added to my husband's Christmas list, and thankfully he received it as a gift!  Students get a discount on Prime after they've had their free trial, which brings the price down to $49-ish per year.  I don't think we'll ever be without it again, unless we move to Africa. 
  • Noise Canceling Headphones: This is the pair that my husband has, but I don't think they're available anymore.  Despite the lacking reviews, they have performed well for him the past 13 months. A lot of my husband's peers have the Dr. Dre headphones, but we just weren't quite willing to spend that much.  My husband uses these everywhere - at school to keep from getting distracted, in the car while I'm driving so I can listen to music while he studies, and even at home if I'm here when he is studying and I'm breathing being too loud.  Unless you can study without getting distracted by the noises around you, noise canceling headphones = a lifesaver. 
  • Bookstand: How nerdy is this?  ;) My husband actually has TWO of these book holders.  It can hold Robbins or the largest coursepack in a 3" three-ring binder without any buckling, and the stand folds completely flat.  Being able to not look straight down all day long while studying has helped to alleviate a lot of neck pain.  
  • Pens: Oh, the pens.  Pretty much every med wife that I've commiserated with talked to says their husbands are the same way - incredibly picky about their pens!  These TUL pens in black/medium point are my husband's favorite.  But...to each his own!
  • A comfortable pillow: Some of my husband's classmates like to give him a hard time because he tries to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night.  "You're going to DIE when we get to the hospital and don't get to have that much sleep!" Our philosophy: just because he's not going to get to sleep much in the future doesn't mean he shouldn't be well-rested now!  As long as he can get everything done that he needs to and do well on it, there's no point in him staying up until 4am.  When he needs to function on less sleep (like in two weeks when he's elbow deep in ob/gyn), he will.  
Additionally, my husband wanted to add in two tidbits as he read over my shoulder, both of which are pretty self-explanatory.  
  • Get to know someone in the year ahead of you.  
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. 
It's been a long two years in some ways, but completely short in others.  Certain intense weeks might have felt like forever at the time, but looking back at the past two years as a whole - they've flown.  My husband takes his Step One Board tomorrow, and we are both excited to have this test over with.  Here's to the next two years!

10 comments:

  1. Knowing someone a year ahead is a really good tip! So helpful! Especially when it comes to applying for 4th year clerkships and such! Good luck on Step 1.... :) Your husband is so dedicated! I think we lucked out big time on who we married :) And P.S. I died of laughter with the book stand & pens comment. SAME BOAT. HA HA

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  2. Good luck! We still have 3 weeks till boards.

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  3. Amazon Prime has definitely been a livesaver for us, too. Especially when ordering board review books for Andy. And noise canceling headphones were a must, too.

    I would die if Andy were picky about his pens. Literally die. Do you know what pens we get? The extra pens that Andy's dad ordered for his company, ones from hotel night stands (you get lots of those during residency interview hotel stays), and ones from drug reps. Special pens are a Christmas-stocking-only item. And by special, I mean, ones that aren't free. Andy was picky about having dozens of colors of no-bleed highlighters and markers, though.

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  4. Prime is the best! And I wish I'd known about that book holder two years ago! My husband has had chronic "studying is a pain in the neck" pain since med school started!

    GOOD LUCK ON BOARDS! I can't wait until they are over!

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  5. Oh man, the pens! Granted, there was A LOT of writing, so I suppose they are allowed to want that smooth ink flow.

    We loove Prime as well! Wait, are you thinking of moving to Africa?

    2yrs. down, 2 to go... let's do this thing! :)

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  6. I think we need some of those noise-canceling headphones around here too! And they remain picky about the pens into residency, I can report...

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  7. I've totally been a lurker on your blog for a while (I love med wife blogs, as I am one as well!) and I had to finally come out of the shadows to make a suggestion for your Hubby's 3rd year if he's picky about pens. My husband was given this advice from a friend a year ahead of him at the beginning of his 3rd year: always have three pens with you in your white coat. Two that you love (one of those is a backup) and one crappy one to give away to residents/attendings when they ask you for one, because you'll never get it back!

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  8. I've totally been a lurker on your blog for a while (I love med wife blogs, as I am one as well!) and I had to finally come out of the shadows to make a suggestion for your Hubby's 3rd year if he's picky about pens. My husband was given this advice from a friend a year ahead of him at the beginning of his 3rd year: always have three pens with you in your white coat. Two that you love (one of those is a backup) and one crappy one to give away to residents/attendings when they ask you for one, because you'll never get it back!

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  9. What a great list! And I totally agree about them being picky about their pens. C absolutely only likes to use one type of pen!

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  10. You are something else! Love you.

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