You take both one Step at a time.
…okay, so I shouldn’t quit my day job to pursue comedy. I’m 5 weeks into studying for Step 1– about half way there– and like running a marathon, I hit a wall. I’ve hit many walls, actually. Practice test scores have plateaued, and content learned 3 weeks ago is slowly being lost to new content. At times it’s demoralizing. When am I going to explain to a patient about a disease that is literally 1 in a million, recite the complement cascade, or draw out the lac operon? Likely never. Yet I do it, daily, because it’s high yield material.
There are days when studying seems futile. That I can’t continue studying. And some of these days, I accept. I stop studying around 2 pm, and take my mind off of school. Other days, I’ve hit my stride, and don’t leave the library until 11 pm. There is no consistency; my pacing is all off.
Hitting the halfway point teaches you many lessons on how to correct and improve. A few lessons that I’ve learned so far:
- Find fellow “runners” who you can commiserate/celebrate with. To do this alone is challenging and also antithetical to the practice of medicine.
- Celebrate small victories. As my coach used to say, “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”
- If something is not working, stop it. If you can’t learn from Pathoma, don’t do it. If you need to make a song or rap about the Kreb cycle, write it.
- Take breaks. From 6-8 pm every day is my gym time. It is my sanctuary. No flashcards, no audio lectures, nothing.
For those who’ve taken Step, or are studying right now, or are currently training for a marathon, what advice would you give?