Right before the first anatomy exam of our first year of medical school my classmates and I were all freaking out. Between the sheer quantity of information we were excepted to know, the uncertainty of what to expect from the exam, and the fear that doing poorly would alert the admissions office to their mistake of accepting us... we were anxious to say the least.
Two days before the exam we were sitting in the main lecture hall for a review session which we had been informed was "extremely high yield". About 15 minutes into the 2 hour review a noise began to grow louder outside the doors to the auditorium. Out of no where a large amount of the second year class came storming into the lecture hall, hurling candy, mardi gras beads and plush toys at us. Looking around, none of my classmates appeared to know what was happening as we laughed and ducked. Before leaving, the second years sang to us and explained that this "review session storming" was simply an annual tradition with no explanation. They left us with a noticeably more relaxed attitude and a huge mess to clean up in the auditorium.
I look back on the experience as one of my founder memories from last year. It was the moment I realized that everything really was going to be okay. If the upper classmen could take a break from their studying (as they also had an exam to cram for), and if our professor could allow for this to happen during his review time (and then continue to teach while wearing beads and eating candy), and my classmates could see the humor in oddity of the situation: I too could learn to relax and enjoy the experience.
Today it all came full circle. It was our day to storm the first year review session, which I did with 30 or so of my classmates. Seeing the same look of confused enjoyment on the faces of the first year class, I could sense that they too were getting it: the moment of clarity that medical school will be okay and maybe even a little bit enjoyable at times. The surprise though was realizing that not only did I help give this experience to the first years, I was able to take from it as well. As chaotic as this year gets with course work, step I preparation and extra curriculars, there is ALWAYS time for humor, to be silly, to carry on tradition, and to make someone else's day.
Though there really are never enough hours in the day. So, with that, back to studying for Friday's exam I go.