I know this is extremely strange but I felt like I needed to record this. I am in my last throws of studying for my board exam. Tomorrow (April 6, 2017), I will be taking my last major test of my medical career — my pediatric hematology/oncology board exam. This is it!!! The last thing!!!
You may have heard on TV commercials — endorsed by a board certified dermatologist/pediatricians/etc. In the United States once you graduate from your training program you are board-eligible. You then take your “board exam” in whatever field you are in whenever it is offered next. I think it’s a general rule that there is something like a 5 or 10 year grace period in which you can take and hopefully pass the boards before there will be some type of injunction against your ability to become board certified without re-doing your training in some type of way. Fortunately, I have not really been in a situation where I’ve had to look into the details of this so that fact may not be totally accurate. Regardless, you still hold your medical degree but being board certified (or board eligible within the reasonable limit of time) really is necessary to have a job in the United States.
In pediatric hematology/oncology, the test is only offered once every other year. There are only a handful of people that are taking this test so there is no reason for them to offer it more often. I am fortunate in that I just finished my training this past summer technically and am able to sit for the test this year — some people need to wait a year and a half. As you get farther from training, the more specialized you get (at least in the academic system that most people are part of in this field) so the closer you are to training, the more likely you are to have exposure to these things.
Anyway! That’s not why I started this post — I just had a moment where I was listening to my music, doing practice questions with a pen stuck in my hair and a highlighter next to me, an iced coffee in my hand — and I thought… I am going to miss this. This studying/learning. I know I have this feeling because this is what I’ve been trained to do and I am ‘good’ at it (this is what happens when you have years of practice! not because I’m inherently good at this) — I have studied for tests for literally decades. I am not what schools have labeled as a ‘good test taker’ unfortunately so I have had to find my own ways to learn enough to pass the tests thrown at me. But, I’ve figured it out. Tonight I’ll cram some more in but also get a good night’s sleep and leave it up to God and the training that has got me to where I am — I’ll eat a delicious breakfast with some music blasting (after setting multiple alarms all over the house to make sure I wake up on time — but I’ll most likely wake up before the alarms go off) and hope for the best.
Crazy to think this is it (well, if I pass this time …. and except for the re-certification exams I’ll have to take the rest of my life……).
For now, I’ll take another sip of my coffee and enjoy this. Cultivating gratitude — thankful for how far I’ve come and where I am today. Thankful the journey thus far. Think some good thoughts for me for tomorrow!
A throwback picture…. Finish line ahead.
(and an extra for good measure)