Happy March and hello from CNS! At the beginning of each new block, I’m always both excited and nervous. I’ve heard quite a bit from various M2s about how CNS is a challenging block, mostly because the brain and central nervous system are phenomenally complex. One look at the schedule told me that this is going to be a very busy block, and a quick glance over the anatomy labs let me know that I need to start learning neuroanatomy right now. However, something else the M2s mentioned was how rewarding the sequence is after you’ve put the work in. With that, I’m definitely looking forward to the next few weeks, at the end of which lies a well-deserved spring break!
That’s my next month in a nutshell, but I’ll share a bit about the last one, since it’s been about a month since my last post. Last time I wrote, we were back in Endo/Repro (our fond term for Endocrine and Reproduction), which ended up being my favorite block of the year thus far. I loved how all of the different hormones functioned in carefully regulated and intersecting pathways. I also loved how things in different lectures were connected, and the connections definitely helped me learn the material.
During Endo/Repro, we were lucky enough to have a snow day! I wasn’t aware that snow days happened in med school, so I was super excited when I got the email that classes were cancelled. While we still had to watch the previous year’s lectures and have a lecture rescheduled, we also got to play in the snow. We’ve had a relatively light year in terms of snowfall, so it was really great to get an actual snow storm (I’m from Michigan and went to undergrad near Lake Michigan where the snow was always at least knee-deep in winter, so I love snow). This was the first time that two of my friends had experienced a snowstorm, so naturally, we had to show them all the fun ways to play in the snow. We really wanted to build a snowman (Frozen pops into my head every time I say this), but the snow wasn’t packing snow (yes, there is a particular type of snow that is required for building snow people and making snowballs). We settled for snow angels. Sometimes it’s great to just play like we’re kids again. It was a great study break, and we had a very legitimate reason to drink hot chocolate after.
I think that there are very few things that can top a snow day, but a runner up may be that the Endo/Repro exam opened a day early and the anatomy practical for the block was also a day early, which meant that if we took both exams by Thursday night, we could have a 3-day weekend. I ended up doing just that and took off Friday for a long weekend in Chicago. My roommate and I were planning on attending a conference about health care that weekend, so the long weekend made the trip worth it. On Friday night, we went to a comedy show at The Second City. Notable alums of The Second City include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert, so we were super excited for that experience. The show was absolutely hilarious and a nice intro to the Chicago comedy scene.
Saturday was the conference, and it was pretty amazing also. One of my friends from the med school interview trail actually told me about the conference (side note: make friends on the interview trail. Some of them could be your classmates, and you will see others at multiple interviews. Sometimes they even send you information about really cool conferences). So not only did I get to see one of my interview trail buddies, but my roommate and I also got to learn a lot about the challenges of the current health care system and possible ways of ending health disparities by making changes to the system. It was a great conference, and I met a lot of other medical students who were really passionate about bringing change to end health disparities. I left feeling incredibly inspired, and I think I may go to the conference again next year. On Sunday, we met up with another one of my friends who’s currently in med school in Chicago. We had originally planned to go back into the city to do some touristy things, but it started snowing really hard, so we decided to leave the city early, which turned out to be a good decision (there were several accidents and resulting traffic jams).
The next day, we started our immunology block. I definitely had a hard time transitioning from a three-day weekend to a pretty intense block, but we definitely had to jump right in. Immuno was a really interesting block and probably one of my favorites this year, but it was definitely a lot of information in a very short period of time, so it was stressful at times. I was worried for a bit that my immune system wouldn’t hold out until the end of the block (many of my classmates were getting sick… the irony of getting sick during Immuno), but it did, and I’m really glad about that.
And that brings us back to the first week of CNS. For the first time in a while, the temperature was above the teens, and it felt practically balmy outside (even though it was only 28 degrees), so everyone is really excited about the prospect of spring. With that, it’s back to the books for me. As always, thanks for reading!
Angelica is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. When she’s not on the wards, you can find her on a run around Ann Arbor or passionately discussing medicine and public health over tea.