tales from the ghetteaux.

The second year of med school is ghetteaux, but I'm doing my best to be ghetteauxfabulous. If you read my last blog post, you already know this. But if you didn't, that's basically how school is going for all of you that want to know.


Academically speaking, I'm learning the same amount of information I was responsible for last year in 2 months less time because of this thing called STEP 1. It's a huge exam on everything from the first and second years of med school that I have to pass before i can start my clinical rotations in 3rd year. Because of the importance of this exam, we get this period of time to study that's referred to as "dedicated". Dedicated starts in March, so the July - May academic calendar I had for class last year has now been condensed to July-March this year. In short, it just means I have a new module and exam to study for every 6 business days. All of my modules this year (except one) are what I call "all or nothing", 4 weeks long with 1 exam at the end of the module that constitutes my whole grade. Skressful. Last year was all about learning what's normal in the body and how things are "supposed" to work, and this year is about learning what goes wrong, how that looks in a patient, how to treat it, and how those treatments work. We learn a lot about a lot (except teeth), and it still amazes me how my brain adjusts to and retains this much. Shoutout to Big G and His complicated ways. School started two months ago and I'm in the third module. Our classes are classified by organ system/types of illness (aside: rn we're in neuro/psych which is what I wanna do), we go hard for 3 weeks of material for 4 days a week, have a week to study, take the test, have one weekend with no academic obligations, and then we do it all over again. It's a lot and it feels overwhelming, but I'd be lying if I didn't say a small part of me deep, deep, DEEP down didn't enjoy it a little because it means I'm closer and closer to working with actual patients. The days are long and taxing, but I signed up for this and I tell everyone that these next few chapters of my life are about delayed gratification. It just is what it is.

Outside of the academic stuff, I've been fluctuating a lot in my personal life. I mentioned some of this in my last post, so i'm not gonna repeat it all. In short, life doesn't stop because of school and school doesn't stop because of life. Outside of mental health, which I have discussed at length throughout the history of this website, I found out I have endometriosis at the beginning of the school year. It can be incredibly painful some days, to the point where I can barely sit up or get out of bed, much less be a "good" medical student. It doesn't really have a cure outside of a hysterectomy, so my and my doctor's focus is managing/treating the pain and other symptoms. Outside of my standard annual visit, I've been to the doctor 6 times this calendar year and 4 of those have been since school started in July. Let me tell ya, learning how to be a doctor while also having to be a patient is not a fun experience. I've had to try to stop myself from trying to interpret my own ultrasounds like they're just a for practice problem for school and not immediately read my appointment notes and all that jazz. Especially since we haven't really learned a whole lot of this yet. That isn't coming until Februaryish. I've just had to do the best I can and listen to my body more. Some days, I pop an ibuprofen and try to thug it out. Other days, I just have to accept that I'm not leaving my bed, my couch, or my house.


This health experience has been a lot, but the biggest lesson I'm learning is to be kinder to myself. I do have days where the frustration gets the best of me and times where it takes a toll on my mental health, so I've been doing my best to lean into self-compassion. I have to give myself a lot of pep talks, lean on the people around me, and just understand that even though this is tough, this is my journey. Resilience is nice, but allowing myself to truly rest is important too. This week alone has been a lot. I've been in a low place with my mental health for a while, I had to go back to the doctor to discuss treatment plans/options because the one I had been on wasn't getting the job done, and last night while I was at school working with friends, I found out someone who played a large role in my early years passed away. They teach us a lot in med school, but they don't teach us how to grieve properly and ignore the urge to be a "good student". This post is happening rn because I came to get an emergency pedicure in the name of self-care before I head up to school to work some more. I'm doing my best to stay strong and not get further behind, but one of my friends have already read me about that this morning,


This is a two birds with one stone moment -- I'm doing a little processing of where I am while knocking out a post I've been meaning to write for a while. All in all, M2 is a lot so far, but I can slowly feel myself getting better with finding my groove and taking care of myself. Part of that has come from my friends and support system and part of it has come from these pep talks I have with myself in the mirror like Issa. Either way, I may be in the ghetteaux, but The Bougie Med Student is gonna be ghetteauxfabulous regardless.

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Like I said before I started my social media break. I just gotta stay committed to refocusing, rebuilding, and not rushing it.


See y'all next time.


- brena b, md. 🩺


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