My Boards Experience
First off, thanks to everybody who has commented here, emailed me, called me, housed me temporarily or just been there to support me through this process. You brightened my days. And I’m very glad I have time to spend or at least reply to you again.
Second, sorry I kind of trailed off the last few days before the boards and am only now resurfacing. I had pretty much dedicated all my time to studying until I literally passed out at night. I didn’t really make a decision to go to sleep, I would just wake up the next day and be like hmmm, I suppose I got to bed somehow last night somewhere around cardiac embryology. Then there was traveling, test-taking, socializing, cleaning, recuperating, and LOTS of sleeping to be done, which you will see.
So…to make up for the last few days, here is how things went down the last week or so. And I have to say, it was nothing I expected.
Sat 6/9, 3 days to go
I slept terrible. Lacking any sort creative thought, just pure memorization, my brain has taken to wild, technicolor dreams. I wake up at least 3 times to escape the acid trip. Then at 4:30 a garbage truck gets stuck in a driveway on my street and it takes him an hour of backing up (y’know, with the back up beep beep beep) to get dislodged. 2 hours of fitful sleep later my landlord starts jackhammering in the backyard at 7:30am. He warned us that there would be construction Sat morning, but somehow we didn’t think to ask if there would be a dangerous combination of jackhammering cement and the crack of dawn involved. What a great way to start a day of cramming for boards! I pull myself together by noon and head over to Jesse’s for a day of pharm punctuated with flashcards, Qbank, and episodes of My So-Called Life.
6/10 Sun, 2 days to go
I sleep a little better today but instead wake up to a bulldozer or forklift or some other big ass machine slamming into the foundation of the house at 8am. I head over to Jesse’s around 11am but at this point, honestly, my brain has given up. Really, with like 1 study day left, what else can I cram into the noggin? I spend the day half-heartedly reading Goljan’s 100 page Hi-Yield review and doing Qbank with Miami Ink and Intervention episodes playing in the background.
6/11 Mon, 1 day to go
What a schizo day. I wake up with the sudden realization of everything I still haven’t mastered as well as the delusion that I might be able to learn them now. I spend the morning making flashcards to do once I get to Katie’s, and a list of things I must do/read before heading to bed. I had originally planned on leaving for St. Louis by noon but with the obsessing I had to get done, I simply did not have time to leave until 4pm. In the tradition of forgetting 3 things everytime I go somewhere, I forgot such trivial things as my ALLERGY MEDS (shit!), the BIOCHEM FLASHCARDS which I have not even looked at (double shit!), and the wedding gift I got for my dad. Thank you, thank you…such neglect really is a talent.
The whole time I am driving I am worried about needing to study, yet as soon as I get to Katie’s, I just want to hang out. We have some dinner, go for a swim, then head to the grocery store to pick up some lunch stuffs for the test. Oh yaaaaaa…the test! Crap! When we got back I was in a manic frenzy to study. We watched the micro review and I redid the biochem flaschcards (there were only like 14 originally). We went over the review sheets we made until about 1am when we decided sleep is also another good strategy for enhancing test performance. Katie & I decided to make it a true sleepover by staying together in the basement den, her on the couch, me on the “love sack,” a giant bean-bag kind of thing. I went over biochem flashcards and read through the First Aid book one last time before passing out sometime around 2am.
6/12 Tues, TEST DAY
I woke up around 6:30am surprisingly chipper for only 4 hours of sleep. I cleaned up, got dressed and went upstairs to make my lunch. Katie’s mom made us cheesy egg omelets with sausage and toast. And to drive home just how chipper I was, I didn’t even need coffee! My appt wasn’t until 8:30am, but I had never been to the testing site, or even really traveled this highway before, so I left shortly after 7am. Turns out I was fine b/c I got there around 7:30am. I read the First Aid a bit more but mostly sat there concentrating on breathing…relaaaaaaaaaaax. At 8:30 I was called back to be electronically fingerprinted and have my picture taken. I deposited my lunch in the fridge and all my other belongings in a locker. I was given the locker key, exactly 3 dry erase boards, 2 pens, one eraser, and one set of ear plugs. I was then sat down at station 9 and told to keep my ID displayed. They wished me good luck and I was on my way.
OK, so I have NO idea what I’m aloud to talk about with the test. The last thing I need is to actually have passed after my somewhat questionable performance only to then fail b/c I was caught talking about it. I know it happens with the PE test, I do not want to go there. Sorry. If I find out I can devulge more specifics, I certainly will. Here’s what I can tell you: Despite as rigid as it may have sounded, the test workers could not have been more friendly and welcoming, truly a difference from MCAT testing. We didn’t get read the riot act. Remember how stressful or at least annoying it was to have the proctors read all the rules about how you must only use No. 2 pencils (seriously, are there No. 9 neon pink pencils I’ve been missing out on?) and you cannot start until they say start….NOW?! Then you would try to calculate how much time you had left with your watch and the proctor writing 40 more minutes on the board. Ugh. I have to tell you I was wary of the computer test b/c I truly love to scribble and cross out and underline and skip to the next question, but I have been converted. It was so relaxed! There was a clock in the upper corner counting down your time so no need for math. You could mark questions and easily come back to them. And when you were done, you were done. No need to wait quietly while others finished, you could just start your break early. Only want 20 min for lunch, not 40? Then come back and start. I got out over 3 hours early b/c of this. It was sweet.
When I got out, my brain has never been more dead. I could not initiate a thought (ack, I killed my frontal cortex!). I drove home but looking back I really should not have. I was impaired the same as if I was drunk. I got back to Katie’s and collapsed. I did what every American does when they don’t want to use their brain: I watched reality TV. Around 7:30pm I felt coherent enough to drive again so I made my way over to my dad’s. We had chinese food, and winecoolers, and I watched hours more TV before crashing at 2am.
6/13 Wed, the day after
Prepare to be impressed…ready?…I WOKE UP AT 5PM. Thats right. I slept 15 HOURS. And I probably would have slept longer were it not for someone calling the house. Its then when I briefly woke up and checked the clock. I thought the clock in the office was just off, but then I checked the cell phone and yep, 5pm. I about shit myself. I thought, well, maybe I should get a start on the day so I hopped in the shower, then made myself leftover chinese for breakfast/dinner.
It was at this point, having already missed my morning dose that I decided to quit the antidepressants. Before you start in on the warnings, my doctor had already advised me that the good thing about this drug was that it was ideal for short term use and could be picked up then dropped just like that without funky side effects. I am confident that now that the HUGE stress is off my back, that I can handle the next month of only minimal moving stress. But Michelle, are you kidding me? Moving is stressful! Well, not really. We already have the place picked out, Josh is moving there a few weeks before I do to get it mostly set up, so really all I have to do is have a yardsale and throw the rest in my car, all the while chillaxin’ at Katie’s place. Sure being away from Josh for almost a month isn’t fun, but its not depression-inducing. Honestly, he’d have probably been neglected anyway due to me soaking up every free moment with my girls before I move away from them. That’s the sad part. Luckily I still have at least half a bottle of the meds leftover to ease in the transition from here to Denver.
So thats most of what happened. I ended up staying in St. Louis with my dad until Sat to soak up more sleep and tv and good food. Each night I slept 10-12 hours and then each night we went to a different restaurant. My favorite was on Friday when we all met up with Katie at 1111 Mississippi. We drank wine, had mussels so good we considered bathing in the sauce, and then went to a diner across the street for chocolate shakes with a shot of Bailey’s in them. Mmmm.
I am back now and its so wierd and wonderful to be done with boards. Last night I played Munchkin until 3am just b/c I could. Today I am in total denial that school resumes tomorrow, mainly b/c the curriculum is only 3 classes or so, one being Intro to Rotations. I think I can handle. The acknowledgment I made is that hey, maybe I should do some laundry so I have some underwear and some bottoms to wear, b/c I truly have none clean right now. Don’t believe I don’t have one single thing to wear to cover my ass? I am currently wearing Josh’s boxer briefs. There’s an image for ya.
So I said there was something I didn’t expect, and when I said that, I didn’t just mean the lovely computer testing. It was how I felt once the test was over. Before, I was convinced that when I was done, glee would be shooting out of every pore. But, the second the test was over, I realized a new stress would take over: the unknown…did I pass? The problem with this stress vs the previous studying-like crazy stress is that there is nothing more I can do to change the outcome. Before if I was getting stressed that I might not pass, I could go drill the Qbank. Now, if I start thinking maybe I didn’t pass…there’s nothing I can do! Its frustrating not being able to be proactive in this.
Still, I am free. FREE! From now on, if you catch me complaining about somethine, remind me off this, then punch me in the forehead!
OW, not yet!