I had dinner downtown yesterday with a group that included a first-year and an interviewee. The firstie was telling the interviewee about how much free time you have in med school. “You’re only in class from, like 10 to 12 every day.” And we second-years just looked at each other and smiled in nostalgia for the good old days.
Don’t get me wrong, I love second year much more than first. Everything is a lot more clinical — I spent yesterday reading about vasculitides and arthritides (two of my new favorite words; they are just so … Greek) and various tick-borne diseases. There’s a lot less random memorization, and the logic behind, say, choosing a particular antibiotic finally makes sense. Pathogenesis and disease mechanisms are fascinating, and I have enormous respect for some bugs. (HIV, for instance, which does that sneaky little switch from the infectious-but-latent R5 strain to the X4 strain that actually causes AIDS. Five measly amino acids in the viral envelope, that’s all it takes. It’s a terrible illness, but how can you not admire the cleverness?)
So yeah. Second year rocks. It’s just that it is the mental equivalent of running a marathon, except you’re never, ever done. Next year will be the same but more. It’s a long haul, this medicine thing.