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As we come to the end of our second week of M2 year, I find it hard to believe it’s only been two weeks. The amount of material I have shoved in my brain recently is astounding. And it’s only just begun.

Our first day back, we had a 7am orientation (technically, there was breakfast for us from 7-8 with a required orientation at 8am, and many people took advantage of that technicality for a bit more sleep). This was followed by hour after hour of lecture, finally ending at 5pm. What a day.

Thus began our three-week Cardiology sequence. The material itself is very interesting, especially as we can clearly see the clinical applications. I am definitely reminded of our M1 Infectious Diseases unit, which was sometimes overwhelming in terms of material, but was definitely my favorite sequence last year.

Earlier this week, we had a rather special lecture, given by Dr. Kim Eagle, the director of the Cardiovascular Center at UMHS. Dr. Eagle had also given several other lectures during the last two weeks, but this one was my favorite. The subject: “The Heart of a Champion” – specifically, storied Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler’s battle with heart disease.

In Ann Arbor, Bo is a legend. His “The Team, the Team, the Team” speech is even played during every home basketball game during the highlight reel. We love Bo. Why? Because he was a fighter; he went full out ALL the time; and he never gave up. During our lecture, we learned that he was a fighter off the field as well. His first heart attack occurred right before Michigan played in the 1969 Rose Bowl. Thankfully, each time his condition worsened, recent treatment breakthroughs allowed him to carry on.

Bo and his wife started the Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Research Fund, in hopes that other advances can be made.

Our first quiz last week allowed us to resume right where we finished in May. However, this week introduces somewhat of a novelty – a quiz-free weekend. During occasional sequences, we will have the odd weekend without a quiz. The material is, of course, double-counted during the exam (instead of 2 questions per lecture on the quiz and 2 questions per lecture on the exam, all 4 questions from the lecture will be on the exam), but we are all rather happy with the trade-off.

Why, you might ask, do M2s have this luxury? Some say that it is to allow us to begin our prep for boards (frankly, a scary thought). I surmise, however, an extension of Spiderman’s adage, “With great power comes great responsibility.” As third- and fourth-year medical students, we are expected to read about our patients and learn the necessary material outside of a classroom setting. During our rotations, the main component of objective grading is the NBME shelf exam at the very end.

Quizzes every week during the M1 year force us to keep current with the material; there is no other option. M3 year is the other extreme, with minimal quizzes throughout the rotation until the shelf at the end. So, M2 year is the happy medium, making sure we can stay motivated despite a more distant deadline.

For whatever reason, I’m rather happy to not have to worry about a quiz this week. I’m slightly ahead in the material, but now I can just enjoy the long weekend 🙂

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.