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Hi everyone! I promised myself that I was not going to fall into the habit of having to start each blog entry with something akin to “Sorry it’s been so long since my last post!” and yet after a month and a half of bloglessness, I feel obligated to once again convey such sentiments. These past two months have been quite busy, though—for a nice change—it seems to be extracurricular activities rather than merely school work that have been driving the craziness of my days.

First and foremost, the Galen’s Smoker was this past weekend. As already discussed in a couple of my fellow bloggers’ posts, this is an annual medical student production that lampoons the faculty with “clever, high-brow humor,” or so it has been said.  Even with my less-than-lead role (I had nine words, to be exact, which is just the right sized part for me!), I spent over forty hours in the theater during the week leading up to the play, the week during which the show really came together. That time commitment is nothing compared that of the Czars (four 4th year med students in charge of the entire production), the band, crew, singers, and many others who absolutely amaze me by their ability to do all this during medical school classes and rotations. This year’s play, Spleen Girls, was a great success and an absolutely wonderful, hilarious activity to be a part of.

In addition to the Smoker, there seems to be a lot of tying up of loose ends as I prepare for the six week study period for USMLE Step 1 that is rapidly approaching. From finishing up my summer research project, to transitioning positions I hold in various organizations to the M1s who will take over these roles, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness that this chapter of medical school is coming to a close. One activity in particular that I have found incredibly rewarding is my weekly shadowing of a pediatric cardiologist. I was paired up with this physician through a mentoring program offered by the medical school, and have since met with him for a few hours once a week.

During these meetings, I have gotten to sit in on electrophysiology studies and arrhythmia ablations, heart catherizations, and echocardiograms. More than just getting to see these various procedures, I have gotten to watch my mentor interact with patients in both the out-patient and intensive care unit settings, and to see the knowledge that I have learned in the classroom truly put to use with actual patients. I have also learned little tricks he uses to put both younger and adolescent patients more at ease, and have recognized and admired his willingness to spend as much time with each patient to ensure that all of his or her questions (and often those of the patient’s worried parents) are answered. I think that shadowing experiences for preclinical students are incredibly valuable, as they allow us to learn and ask questions and begin to learn how to work with patients in a low-stress, grade-free environment. Therefore, although I am particularly sad to see this weekly activity come to a close, I feel that it has provided a nice groundwork for what is to come in just a few short months, as well as provided me with a wonderful role model whom I will aspire to keep at the forefront of my mind with each patient encounter.

Since we are down to five days of classes (!), this will probably be my last blog as an M2, but I will definitely check back in during the Step 1 study period. With the many, many hours of science studying that are to come, I think a nice writing break will serve me well. Until then, and in honor our bid in the NCAA tournament announced today, Go Blue!