I did it! I COMPLETED MY FIRST YEAR OF MEDICAL SCHOOL. It all feels a little surreal still. It seems like yesterday I was sitting there in one of the classrooms for orientation. Next thing I know I’m sitting in that same classroom taking one of my last finals as a 1st year naturopathic medical student. In my opinion, spring quarter was the hardest out of the entire first year in regards to some of the science classes (e.g. physiology and biochemistry). The renal system is very, very busy. Our kidneys do so much for us – from water retention to blood pressure regulation, and many more. There are so many tiny details and pathways to remember that I thought my brain was going to exploding while studying for finals exams. Here’s a rundown of the finals I had during Weeks 10 and 11:
- Physical Medicine (Electrotherapy) – there were 2 finals for this – 1 final lab practical and 1 final lecture exam. For the lab practical, there were 6 stations in the phys med room and we had to answer 1 question (short answer) per station. For the lecture final, there were about 40 multiple choice questions about the different types of electrotherapy modalities (e.g. therapeutic ultrasound, TENS, diathermy…).
- Fundamentals of Counseling – technically, there was no final exam for this class, but there was a final quiz and a final paper due during week 10. For the final paper, there were 3 main questions we had to address:
- Discuss 2-3 specific clinical skills that you have gained/enhanced during the course.
- Identify how and when you intend to use these skills in your future practice.
- In the last paragraph, discuss two of your main areas of growth/weaknesses in the counseling process, and what makes each one challenging for you.
- Naturopathic Theory and Practice III – again, there wasn’t really a final exam for this class. During week 10 we had to present our group community projects to our class during lab times. My group decided to organize a clothes donation to a homeless shelter in San Diego (specifically San Diego Rescue Mission). It was a great turn out! Not only did we get our fellow 1st year classmates involved, but we sent out an announcement to the entire school and we received many donated gently used clothes.
- Integrated Renal and Reproductive Systems – the final for IRR was brutal. It consisted of 90 questions with a little more than half of the questions pertaining to renal and reproductive physiology. Biochemistry was the second most, and the rest were anatomy/embryology/histology.
- Integrated Nervous System – there were also 2 finals for INS – 1 final lab practical and 1 final lecture exam. The lab practical was basically on the anatomy of the brain and spinal cord, where different structures were marked and a few higher order questions were asked. The final lecture exam was on the vasculature, dural sinuses, auditory pathways, vestibular pathways, spinocerebellar pathways, motor pathways, cranial nerves (eye muscles, innervation, and lesions), cerebellar pathways and basal ganglia, and functional areas/cortical columns and connections of the cerebral cortex.
- Gross Anatomy Lab – the gross final was about 40 questions long. Half of the questions were on material from before the midterm (skull, vertebrae, cranial nerves, cervical and thoracic spinal ganglia, spinal cord, back and neck muscles, facial muscles/arteries/nerves, eye muscles/arteries/nerves), and the rest were on material from after the midterm (kidneys, ureters, bladder, arteries/veins/nerves in the posterior abdominal wall, and male/female reproductive organs). Normally, final gross anatomy practicals are on 20% of the material learned from before the midterm and 80% of the material learned after the midterm.
This summer I’ll be taking summer courses because I need the financial aid (6.0 credit hours are considered full-time during the summer quarter). Usually, the summer after your first year is the only time you get a full break out of the entire 4 years in school. After this summer, every summer will have mandated courses to take. This summer I’m just taking a Whole Foods Production class (once a week on Mondays) and I will be starting clinic observation II. I’m super excited for COII this summer because I will be on the IV shift! So the rest of the time I plan on enjoying my first summer in San Diego – hitting up the beaches more, hiking more, exploring more, and just letting my brain take a mental break before the hectic second year begins!