Today marks the start of two weeks of midterms exams in the school of pharmacy. Compared to previous quarters of school, we actually have a 'light' schedule consisting of only 5 exams. However, this quarter also marks the beginning of the Therapeutics courses, in which we actually learn pharmacy. A lot of what we have learned up until this point has been the basic sciences behind pharmacy: pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, physiology, etc etc. In therapeutics, we start recommeding drugs, make dosing changes based on kidney and liver function, identify drug-drug interactions and adverse reactions that are from drug therapy. It's pretty cool. It's also really really hard, but it's the reason you come to pharmacy school.
Anyway, therapeutics exams consist of a written portion and an oral portion. For the oral part of the exam, we show up and are given a case, we have 30 minutes to try and figure out what's going on, and then we have 15 minutes to present it to a faculty member along with proper patient counseling, which may or may not be related to the case (example, inhaler use, how to self-inject insulin, etc). Needless to say, this has gotten my classmates in a tizzy. People are literally freaking out over the oral exam and therapeutics in general. I admit, it's a lot of information and there's a little fear of the unknown (like oh god, please let them ask me something I know or don't let me forget all of the drug dosages I just crammed). But I think this happens before all exams. It could go badly, or it could get well, depending on what they ask, right? Riiiight.
Now, my class isn't unique in freaking out. All second year pharmacy students at my school tend to freak out a little this time of year. However, in previous years a girl did pass out during the oral exam and had to be taken to the hospital (she hyperventilated), and it generally consumes everyone. It's impossible to have a normal conversation with people right now. You say "hey, what's up?" which I think is a totally benign converation starter. Invariably, I get the response "OMG therapeutics is killing me!" "I am so stressed out/far behind" " I am really nervous for the oral exam" blah blah blah. It's actually driving me crazy. Not the class or preparation for the oral exam, but my classmates, my colleagues, my peers, are literally driving me UP THE WALL!!!
How does a Ninja deal with the stress you might add? Well I have been downloading a lot of music lately, I have been most diligent about keeping up with my celebrity gossip, last night I watched two movies, and I am writing a blog post 1.5 hours before my first midterm (NOT therapeutics). For me, exams are like a game. You prepare, you train, and then your professor throws you either a wicked curveball or a big fat change-up. You either totally whiff it or you hit it out of the park. It's not a reflection of who you are, but it's usually a reflection of your training. And sometimes you just have an off day. So I don't typically let exams freak me out. I mean come on, what do you think you do as a pharmacist all day? You make drug recommendations, verbally, to a medical team. So really, the oral exam is perfect preparation for our future careers. We should be THANKING them for this opportunity, not freaking out!
I could on about this all day, but I will stop here. It's time to stretch and warm up for Pharmaceutical Chemistry!