Finals (part deux) & Christmas carols

Finals are here and people are acting stressed. It’s hard to explain to someone how the abject fear of failing a course can keep one focused and studying for over 12 hours a day. The worst part is that it is boring! I could try and sell the time before finals as a wonderful period where all the learning over the semester is consolidated and that finals aren’t really that worrisome. I could do that, but then I would be lying. There are interesting aspects of the material, with out a doubt, but memorizing minutia is asinine. It becomes a balance between what do I need to know to be a good doctor someday and what minute detail do I need to know for the exam.

Then we must also consider the stress of the holiday season. I guarantee that the majority of us will not be thinking of Christmas gifts until our exams are over. Hell, I kind of doubt if some of my classmates will think of their personal hygiene until the exams have passed (that’s how dedicated some are). They make me look like a slacker. I really like my bed and at least 6 hours of beauty sleep. Maybe that will change someday, but not today. To recap – there are currently several hundred stressed type A personalities walking the school with poor hygiene and suffering from lack of sleep. Makes one want to stay away …

There is one good story coming from this stressful time. Each of the 2nd year students has an assigned first year “buddy”. This is to build a bit of a support network for those new to the school and to ease them in, i.e. give them some sense of what to expect. This past Tuesday (Dec 5) the second year class converged on the freshman class while they were in the middle of their immunology lecture and surprised them with small gifts and the larger gift of song. All 200 of us stood at the front of the lecture hall and to the tune of twelve days of Christmas belted out the med version of the traditional Christmas Carole. We must have sounded pretty good because we got a standing ovation from the first year class and even the professor looked like he was enjoying himself.

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