During my Step 1 dedicated study period, I remember looking at these visual comparisons of an early version of First Aid and the most recent edition and feeling righteous indignation bubble up inside me. The former was thin and worn and tattered while the latter was thick, hefty, solid. Hundreds of pages longer, the newest edition felt impenetrable and impossible to commit to memory, expanding yearly with new minutiae to scrutinize.
You don’t have to sit in silence and painfully nod along with an attending’s racist, misogynistic lectures because you’re their medical student. You don’t need to pick the skin off your cuticles to stop yourself from replying. You don’t need to learn how to hide your grimaces behind your mask because you know you’ll have to listen to them attack your identity for the next several weeks.
This year, like those before us, we entered our study periods for Step 1 with some trepidation — both about the long hours of studying and the high stakes of the exam. Like those before us, we reassured ourselves that if we put our time in now, we’d be able to move beyond memorizing minutiae to caring for patients in the hospital. And then, unlike those before us, testing centers across the world closed.