Have you ever wanted something so bad and prayed for it so hard that day and night, that it is what’s keeping you awake at night? That is what I was going through for almost 10 months while I was reviewing for the board exams.
“10 months?! I thought review only lasted 4 months or less?”, you ask? Well, let me explain.
For 4 months I stayed in the in-house dormitory of my review center. Afternoons were reserved for our 3 times a week review/ lectures, while we had the rest of the day/ week studying on our own at our own pace. I wouldn’t call my self a good student, I wasn’t particularly studious. I can honestly say I rarely read as much as the people in my dorm. I attended all the lectures, listened intently and wrote down notes when needed. I read a few reviewers for subjects I wasn’t good at, particularly Biochemistry, Physiology and Pharmacy, while I read the mother books for the major subjects. Shockingly, I was particularly fond of reading Solis for Legal Medicine, albeit, I only read it once. But yes, I did read the books when I had the time. But no matter, how much I read the books, browsed through the review questions and mock board exams somehow I wasn’t confident enough. No one ever is.
The pressure of the boards, the constant studying, and my personal problems were just too much for me so at the last few weeks leading to the exam, I decided to postpone taking the September exams and wait for the March exams.
I took a break from all the studying and waited for the next batch of review. I thought I would be more studious, but I was wrong. I did still attend lectures and read the books, but I didn’t stay late at night as others did just to get all my reading done. While people compared how much they’ve read or how many books they have finished, I just finished reading a few number of books, concentrating on the basics and must knows and watched Kaplan videos when I was bored. Listening to the same review material did get boring, tbh.
I couldn’t delay the exams any longer so I registered. Exam day arrived, at last. I went into the testing site with a “I hope it goes well”, “At least I tried my best” attitude. And as I answered through one subject to the next, I noticed how little of the questions were taken from our review materials. Some questions were basic stuff, a few were repeated from previous exam, while some questions just got my friends and I scratching our heads wondering where they took the questions from and which materials did they use? On the last day, people were taking longer in answering, and at the last exam a few had eyebrows scrunched up, eyes just staring at the paper waiting for it to spit out the answers while a few, as what I heard, had tears welling up in their eyes. After the 3 crazy days of exams, we were confused, angry, exhausted and was just too tired to do anything else but sleep. My friends and I had dinner and a movie to keep our minds off of the results, but the day did come.
The day when they post the list of all the successful examinees was a day that our phones was logged to the internet and the website was refreshed countless of times. And when you see your name there you just breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to go through that again. Ever. Hahaha.
Do I regret delaying it? Part of me says, Yes. But a part of me says, I did what was right at that moment. Or maybe, I did it because I was afraid of the outcome and afraid of where to go from there…
But one thing is sure, I am thankful for the people who helped me get my license. The doctors who took time out of their busy schedules to teach us and the my parents who helped me through out everything. I think just getting the license is just the beginning of something much bigger and harder than medical school and internship…