>August 21 2002

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Ok, I know I’ve been AWOL for quite awhile now. I have been really enjoying my summer and have pretty much avoided any academic pursuits. Which is not to say it had been an uneventful summer … I drove the whole family out to Alamogordo, New Mexico, was stranded in the desert in July with a failed alternator and a Suburban full of kids, spent time on the beautiful beaches of Destin, Florida, gave a talk on the Human Genome Project to some actuaries in New Orleans and read about ten books, none of which had anything to do with medicine. It has been fun, but I’m afraid it all came to a screeching halt today – my first day as an M2.

Classes began at 8:00 AM this morning. This is an hour earlier than we started last year, and though my excitement had me awake early this morning, I am sure that it will quickly become tough to get my brain in gear this early in the morning. I have been resuming my workouts at the gym, this summer, and I am hoping to get up early enough to get that in before class. I made it today and felt fresh and eager to get started on my M2 experience. First up out of the gate was Medical Genetics. My enthusiasm was quickly dampened as I sat through a monotone lecture on what was mainly introductory material; what genetics is, why we need to study it, etc. etc. Seven hours and six lectures later I felt like I had the life drained out of me. I am definitely out of “classroom shape.”
The rest of the day consisted of Microbiology at 9:00, two hours of Pathology from 10:00 until noon, and two more hours of Micro from 1:00 until three. Tomorrow we are introduced to three more classes, Pharmacology, Biostatistics, and Intro to Clinical Medicine.

Besides the actual medical stuff, I think I learned a lot last year about what it takes to be successful in medical school. I am going to attempt to study much smarter this year if not harder. For one thing, I am scrutinizing my book purchases much more carefully. After buying everything on the professor’s lists last year, I learned that age-old truth of medical school – what you need to know is in the notes. There are so many assigned readings that it is impossible to actually digest them all. You just have to accept the fact that you cannot read everything and concentrate on the items that will yield the most fruit when it comes to exams. And invariably those are the handouts and class notes. Today I only bought the books that are universally hailed as must-haves by the upper-classmen and I will sit in the classes for another week before deciding about any others.

Another thing I am going to do this year is to be a note-taker-for-hire in our note service. The going rate is $40 for one lecture. I already have taken a job for tomorrow morning’s Biostat class. Since it is the first lecture of the year it will just be introductory material and should be easy money. I am hoping that doing a few sets of notes a week will keep me focused on my studies as well as bringing in a little extra cash.

One of the best things about returning to school was seeing all of my classmates. I missed them more than I had realized over the summer. Going through a year of medical school together definitely instills a sense of kinship. I am sure that I will be close to many of my classmates for the rest of my life, and there are not many other experiences in which an already 35 year-old guy can form such friendships.

Now that we are back in class, I’m committed to keeping you posted pretty regularly. Hope everyone has a great year!

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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