Monday, June 2, 2008

Two years of med school? Check. (Almost.)

My 2-year sentence as a medical student will be complete on Wednesday afternoon!! At my school, all dental students have to take the same classes as the med students for the first two years (plus dental classes in the afternoons). And let me tell you, it has been the most painful, difficult thing I've ever done. There were many times when I thought I wasn't going to get through it.

Let me back up: I was really arrogant when I started dental school. I assumed it was going to be kind of easy. I came from a small, elite college and I thought I was pretty smart. Anyway, I got a reality check when the med school curriculum hit me in the face like a ton of bricks (a ton of very, very boring bricks). It was tough to get through it as a dental student, because most of it has nothing to do with dentistry (examples: psoriasis. Brain cancer. Obscure bacteria. Etc.) and it all just has to be memorized. I often wondered what the heck was wrong with me that I signed up to do med and dental school simultaneously and thought it was a good idea. But somehow I will be finished on Wednesday after my last big exam... I have to keep saying it because I just can't believe it's done...

And at the end of July, after taking a ton of dental classes to catch up with the rest of the dental students in the country (most of whom did not have to take med classes) and after taking part I of the national board exam, I will finally get into the clinics and start treating patients. That makes me nervous, but excited. Mostly nervous, actually, since I've only done a little bit of drilling and some root canals on some plastic teeth. It seems like they pretty much just throw you into the clinic and tell you to get going. Which is terrifying but amazing at the same time-- after two years of waiting to do what I came here to do, I'll actually get to do it-- no more messing around. My poor first patients, though. They'll come in all "oh hey, thanks for fixing my teeth for practically no money, wow this is such a great deal" and I'll give them a panicked look and accidentally drill straight through the roof of their mouth. Kidding, I hope.

Seriously though, all the upperclassmen say that you don't get much (read: anything) done your first appointment, even though it's 3 hours long. Either that or a professor does it for you and you go home and cry for a couple of hours. I think it's a measure of how much med school sucked that I'm beyond excited to go do that!

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