Post-Board Exam Thoughts: God, the Protagonist

After all is said and done, in the end, it was still all about God. The clinical part of the board exams (internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, OB-Gyn) was difficult. It was neither manageable nor very enjoyable. We really had to wring out the last bit of rusty memory we had of lessons learned from medical school and some from our experience in the clinics as clerks and interns. As I took the tests and encountered question after difficult question that seemed so strange and unfamiliar, all I could do was to constantly ask God for wisdom. Should I change my answer in number 39, God? Lord, what on earth does this term mean? This question’s so badly phrased I can’t understand it, Father! Through it all, I felt His hands guiding me. It’s too early to say whether I did well enough to pass. By faith though, I know it. To Him I give back all the praise and glory.

As I think back through the 3 months I spent preparing for the test on 12 very important subjects, I realize now that I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved having to go to Starbucks and read a refresher on Surgery. I loved hi-liting my anatomy and biochem books. I recall with fondness how I ditched Pediatrics for Harry Potter 5. Hehe. Call me a geek but I really enjoyed the experience. But (and it’s a big but) I only mean to experience it once in my entire life. It won’t be fun the second time around.
As for reviewing, the last 2 weeks have been the most enjoyable for me. I was bunked in with a few friends from medical school at our apartment in Manila. The presence of friends really helped in diffusing the immense pressure that any big test can bring. We answered the sample examinations together and shared memory aids and mnemonics. While I learned a lot from our study sessions, it wasn’t what I found most important. I realized that stressors like the board exams can make you see some of the best and worst things about other people and about yourself and you find it completely acceptable, even endearing. I don’t think there will ever be a time again in my life that I’ll experience friendship the way I experienced it these past 2 weeks … the waking up early and cooking breakfast or the morning coffee, eating together, getting irked at coffee spills on the counter (hehe), very trivial things that don’t really matter in the big picture but are important anyway.

Above is probably the last photo my friends and I will have as “would-be” doctors (L-R: Jeff, Angel, Byron, Ivy, Not in photo: Anna P. and Chinky L.). In a few days, we’ll know our fates when the results of the board exams come out. No one really knows what will come next. The only sure thing is that there will be a definite parting of ways. Most of us are looking to go abroad. I’m going to start preparations for the USMLE, which may lead me to live in America for several years. Angel and Jeff are going to work and are looking at Australia as a possible new home. Byron and Ivy are taking the USMLE too, but at a different schedule from mine. Anna’s headed to a residency training in Ophthalmology (or maybe MLE too?). Maybe we’ll get to spend time as a group again but the time when we were all students and of one goal (to pass exams and get through med school in one piece) has passed. In the coming weeks, future goals will be laid out and plans made. I’ll definitely miss medical school then. But the nice thing about it is that we’ll get to see each other’s futures unfold and we’ll each be part of the others’ lives.

Last thought. My medical school friends and I have started talking about moonlighting and getting jobs for some time before heading to the pressure-cooker training positions as residents. Then I realized that to go through medicine and medical school really is like having extended adolescence (it’s a medical fact). The issues we’re currently facing (i.e., get a job or bum around for awhile? which job to take?) were issues that my high school and college contemporaries have faced 4 or 5 years ago. Here we are, (almost) newly minted physicians in our mid-twenties thinking about getting our first real job. It’s funny, really.

Plans for the immediate future:
1. Tonight, start reading Harry Potter 7.
2. Tomorrow, get back to the gym.
3. Spend a whole afternoon sometime this week at the new Fully Booked branch at The Fort just browsing their precious books and probably buy myself a moleskin for my birthday.

I’ve gone that far into thinking ahead about my future. There’s plenty of time for thinking later: I’m officially a bum.

Now, excuse me while I finally crack open Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s gathering dust on my shelf.


~ by karlmd on August 12, 2007.

One Response to “Post-Board Exam Thoughts: God, the Protagonist”

  1. you WILL pass! ^_^ a lot in our batch are taking the MLE no? haay, true, after the boards, that’s only when the real life begins for us. scary yet exciting. ^_^

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