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After finishing our first three sequences of M2 year, my classmates and I were treated to two full weeks of CFM (Clinical Foundations of Medicine). It’s amazing to realize how far we’ve come, as everyone had to perform a full history and physical exam (H&P) in one hour during each of the two weeks.

Conversely, in my Medical Spanish class where all the other students are M1s, we read through a passage outlining the cardiac physical exam, and I was the only one who understood why certain maneuvers were performed.

After our one hour of attempting the H&P (and “attempt” is definitely the proper word – most of us were scrambling to finish), we next had to write up the patient encounter and present it to our attending (CFM instructor). Despite the fact that I felt like I was bumbling through most of the physical, the experience was incredibly helpful, and I improved from the first week to the second. My main issue is remembering which physical exam maneuver to perform next and how to do so in the most efficient manner. As with everything, I suppose the best thing to improve is to practice.

During these two weeks, we also participated in two electives, designed to broaden our medical horizons. For example, I attended “Video Production for Physicians” and “Leadership Communication.” Other options included exposure to medical writing, optimal work-life balance, and the role of osteomyelitis in the Battle of Gettysburg (for the budding orthopedic surgeon).

As my usual study methods involve streaming and minimal lecture attendance, I don’t see my classmates quite as often and certainly not en masse. Consequently, the sudden barrage of germs caused my immune system to go haywire with a lovely cold. Or, URI (upper respiratory infection) as I am apparently supposed to say now.

Nevertheless, these past two weeks were a welcome respite from stuffing interminable amounts of information into my brain. I got to enjoy the fall colors, the perfect temperature (right around 60°F), and even got a caramel apple from Kilwin’s!

CFM has now come to a close, and we started our next sequence yesterday – Psychiatry. Seems like a fitting topic for Halloween, no?

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.