Today is Monday, June 18. I sat for the USMLE Step 1 four days ago. Since then, my life has been such a whirlwind and so much has happened. In fact, way too much has happened for a simple instagram caption, so here is a little blog post instead 🙂
First off, I would like to thank each and every person that commented on my last instagram, messaged me good luck, and thought of me as I took Step 1. The night before the test, I was scrolling through all the messages and comments and it was truly motivating and encouraging. I feel so fortunate to have a little army standing behind me, rooting for my success.
Whenever I have a big test, like the MCAT or Step 1, I like to treat the day before test day almost as a vacation and there are a couple of reasons behind this. One reason is that at that point of studying, I am seriously so drained. I want to use the last few days to get as much sleep as I can and to be as relaxed as possible so I don’t crash during the 8 hour test. My mom treated me to a mani/pedi and massage to help relax the day before, which was a move I would recommend to anyone.
Treating the last day (or couple days) as a vacation helps my mindset switch to a more grateful, positive, and relaxed one. I always schedule my test in a different city so I can get a hotel for the night. I usually order takeout from a restaurant and treat myself to my favorite, and most likely unhealthy, item on the menu.
So on Wednesday I made the drive to my test city. I scheduled my test not too far from my hometown so that my fiancé was able to meet me for dinner at Outback (YAY!). Thank goodness I didn’t schedule my exam too far away because I totally brought the wrong paper I needed for test day (thank you Taylor for making me realizing that!!!) and my fiancé had to drive up and drop it off after he had already left after dinner. Thank goodness he is my biggest lifesaver.
This leads to a point that I didn’t realize I would value as greatly as I did. During my 4 weeks of dedicated study, I relied so heavily on my support system. My fiancé, mom and dad, fiancé’s family, and friends helped me tremendously throughout the whole process. Living at home was single-handedly the best study move I made. My dad did my laundry, my mom made lunches for me, and my fiancé was there for walks, coffee shops, study sessions, and venting/crying/self-doubt sessions to always bring me back up.
Almost every morning I’d wake up, talk to my dad for a little bit before starting my studying for the day. I’d see my fiancé almost every day because he would visit me, even when inconvenient for him. It was nice to be able to talk to people for a little each day because studying can be so isolating. I’ll share more on my day-to-day study schedule in a future post 🙂
ANYWAYS, back to the night before Step 1. My feelings came in waves, relaxed and calm to nervous and shaky. I realized I was trying to do a late night review of basically every single subject which just in not feasible. So I shut my First Aid for the last time around 9:30 pm, watched a little of The Office, and went to bed!
I actually slept great and woke up ready to go. The test was a 8 hour stretch of adrenaline and the weirdest feelings. I was so nervous and had no appetite but forced myself to eat and drink every little break. It was draining and exhausting but I felt prepared and reassured that I did all that I could.
The best advice I got the night before was from a close friend who said something along the lines of, “show up to the exam, answer 280 questions as best you can, and leave”. Something so simple really spoke to me, and I did just that. I tried as hard as I can and am hoping I get lucky on my many, many guesses. It’s sort of crazy to think about how someone can have a lucky day and get all their guesses right or just have an off day, and get unlucky with their guesses. Obviously, I am hopeful for the former 🙂
Post-step 1 life has already been amazing. I went to my bestie’s wedding, drove to Cincinatti to meet up with my fiancés family, and took engagement pictures at Lake Erie. I have a lot of emails to be read and a lot of catching up to do, but I am so excited for this next year.
Thank you all again for all the support in truly one of the most testing of times!!! Stay tuned for life as a third year medical student!