Yep.  That's right.  My husband stumbled upon some Kaplan Step 2 materials and started quizzing me.  And surprisingly, I got all but one of the questions right.  And it was way more exciting than studying for my quals.  I wanted more questions, but he refused to quiz me anymore because it was distracting me from my real task of studying for my quals.  It's sad when I would rather study for something else to avoid studying what I really need to study.  But it also reminds me that my love for medicine far outweighs my love for research.  Sorry, I don't like to think.  I just like to memorize.  I've been fighting this truth for a long time now, but it's true.  I don't really like research because it requires me to…think outside of what I've been given, which I'm just not really that good at.  I'm much better at accepting facts that are given to me without question.  That's why I'll definitely fail my quals if most of the questions consist of, "So how would you test such and such?"  Because, really, I have no clue and I've had no training on such things. 

Sad that it's come to this.  Back when I was an eager and un-jaded undergrad, I loved to present my research.  In fact, for a research conference for one of my fellowships, we had the option of doing poster or oral presentations and I was the only one out of 15 or so students to choose oral.  That's how confident I was and how much I believed in what I was doing.  Not only that, but I was actually good at it.  Even at answering the random questions that I got peppered with.  So good that the person in charge of the fellowship praised me for being able to "think on my feet." 

I just hang my head in shame when I think of those days compared to now where I'm totally dreading this qualifying exam because somehow I've lost that ability to "think on my feet."  What happened in between?  Med school.  And some grad school.  Did med school make me dull?  Or did the years I spent lazing around the lab being my major professor's secretary/slave with no intellectual stimulation whatsoever do it?  Probably a little of both, or more like 15% med school and 85% major professor.  Med school required a whole different mentality of simply accepting and memorizing facts.  Grad school taught me otherwise and started to undo my med school mentality, but my major professor undid and then some all of that by not nurturing my intellectual development.  His refusal to let me speak my own thoughts without fear of major humiliation/tantrums led me to just become a drone who does not speak up or question his ideas (unless they're just WAY too wacky and even then I find it hard to say anything for fear of the repercussions).  I became a blind follower because of him.  I lost the ability to think because of him.  Not only that, but he has not given me a single day off so far to study for my quals AND insists on bothering me time and time again about the stupidest things while I'm trying to study at the lab.  It's as if he's trying to make me fail.

But it'll take a lot more than that to make me fail.  I'm not one to let other people screw me over.  That's why despite all that I have going against me and despite the fact that I really hate this, I'm quite proud that today has been my most productive day in a month.  A little late to start being hardcore again, but at least I've managed to pull myself out of that funk.  So instead of wondering if I'm too late, I'm going to look forward and hang on to the hope that I will pull this off now that I've started making progress again.

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