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M1 year is officially over!! I’m not ready to consider myself an M2 just yet, but I’m willing to respond to ‘M1.5.’ It’s a step in the right direction, at least.

Our two CFM (Clinical Foundations of Medicine) weeks really revealed how far we’ve come. Practicing for our full history and physical exam started out… kind of rough. There were parts of the physical exam that I know I hadn’t touched essentially since we first learned them, in some cases several months prior. Many details had been entirely forgotten. The idea of coordinating everything together and trying to prevent the patient from having to change position every 5 seconds were things I’d never even considered. Having dedicated time to practice made all the difference in the world, and more quickly than I’d anticipated! Several classmates were kind enough to spend a great deal of time with me figuring things out and, in some cases, practicing the same thing over and over and over. (There were some pretty epic Youtube scavenger hunts trying to figure out the fine details of musculoskeletal maneuvers. The names of the tests more often than not reveal NOTHING.) I by no means achieved perfection in two weeks, but I made serious progress.

We also had a rather unique event during the first of the two weeks where we shared art projects (yes, art projects) created in response to the Family-Centered Experience (FCE; yet another acronym). The FCE program assigns pairs of medical students to families who have been impacted by some sort of illness. We meet up with our families several times throughout the year and learn from the experiences that they share with us. It’s a window into the patient’s view of illness when so much of our learning is focused on the healthcare provider’s view. The projects that my classmates and I created spanned a wide variety of mediums. There were live performances that included dances, original music, and poetry reading. Students created drawings, paintings, and 3D objects out of any number of different materials. My group’s project was pottery (hence my “playing with broken pottery” comment some months ago) that we decorated and then very carefully (and with much trepidation) broke. We reassembled the pieces and garnished the seams with gold paint. Without going into excessive detail, the basic idea is that illness can change people in dramatic ways, but these changes don’t have to be all negative. For example, the experience of illness can impact one in such a way that they actually emerge with a newfound appreciation for life, or newfound resilience.

One of our pieces, for your viewing pleasure

Our final sequence, Human Growth and Development, was over in a flash and many of us now find ourselves immersed in research through the Summer Biomedical Research Program (SBRP; last acronym, promise). I had an awesome first week in my new lab and am sooooo(!) appreciative of my mentor. It’s like she read my personality in an instant: she’s super open to me asking for clarification pertaining to the same procedure ad infinitum and doesn’t make me feel at all awkward for doing so, but she also makes sure to leave me to my own devices to try things for myself. I’m the baby bird who needs to be gently nudged (read: hurled headfirst) out of the nest or I will never ever give this flying thing a shot. It’s scary, geez! I’ve already done a couple of basic experiments practically all on my own and I haven’t totally wrecked anything yet! Wahoo! I’m really psyched for what the rest of the summer holds.