A good family friend, now in his fourth year of med school, was studying for Step 1 some years ago. I was incredulous at what he said his study schedule was: essentially study hardcore for 5 hours, take an hour break for lunch and some TV, and then back to the books for another 5 until dinner. I thought he was exaggerating, counting “study time” when he was actually online.
Now, I’m incredulous at the memory of my own naivete. To recap the weekend: on Friday I took a 3 hour exam on GI and spent the afternoon (from 12:30 PM to 1 AM, with a half-hour dinner break) studying either in the library or in the lab. Saturday, I went hardcore from 10 AM to 1:30 AM. Today, I took a practice practical at 11 AM and went to the study lounge in my dorm directly after. Study breaks limited to trips to the vending machine, water fountain, and bathroom. And all this for one measly exam.
The strange thing is, I don’t feel tired at all. In college, this sort of schedule would have left me exhausted and murderous. Now, I don’t really mind it so much. Yeah, it sucks, but I don’t feel as mentally blank as I would have even a year ago. Maybe I’m building up some of that magical stamina that is supposed to get residents through their 80-hour weeks. (Or third-years through their unregulated work hour weeks.)
Life is going to be weird after anatomy. I expect it will be rather like after I gave my undergrad thesis to the bindery. It’s consumed my life since the end of August. I really don’t know what I’m going to do with myself.