Well, the rumors are true. Medical school involves a lot of studying.

While seemingly common knowledge, the past two weeks of school have still been a staggering display of what awaits for the next two years (the first and second years of medical school are spent mostly learning in the classroom while the third and fourth years are spent learning in hospitals and clinics).

The first week started off innocently enough with an orientation-style “Introduction to the Study of Medicine” course, but kicked up to full gear with the first full day of Gross Anatomy. Like a tidal wave of information, the lecture spanned more material in one hour than my undergraduate classes would go over in a week. Between the different bones, muscles, insertions, origins, blood supplies, and innervations, it was a struggle trying to even keep up with the professor’s pace. As the lecture finally ended, I looked up around the class to find the same looks of sheer terror and cautious optimism all around me.

More than the formalities and celebrations of the white coat ceremony, the first lecture let us know that the real part of medical school was just beginning.

It’s been two weeks since those first days of shock and awe, and since then most of my classmates and I have started to adjust to our new found lifestyles. Most of the shock seems to stem from the stark difference in workload between undergrad to medical school. As the common saying goes, most of us feel like we’re drinking water from a fire hose. The material comes hard and fast everyday, and there doesn’t seem to be any leeway for falling behind. In just two short weeks, we’ve already learned as much information as I would go through in an entire quarter at college. It’s been an adjustment, to say the least.

Despite the doom and gloom vibe of this post, I’m well aware of how unique an experience this all is. From standardized patient encounters, to the sights and smells of anatomy lab, to the rush of finally understanding something presented in class, it’s a thrill to know that the next step of the journey is well on its way. What’s more, with only 220 students picked from an applicant pool of over 4000, my classmates are pretty stellar people and students in their own right. There is definitely a sense of camaraderie-our facebook group is updated multiple times a day with helpful videos, study guides, and links. Whereas in undergrad, were there were just a few high-achieving students per class, everyone here had what it takes to get into medical school, and everyone is a high-achiever in their own right. I’m amazed to be surrounded by so many driven people, yet equally terrified by how much they seemingly know.

For now though, I’m continuing to get through my stack of pancakes everyday. They’ve become awfully familiar by now, but I think they might just be growing on me.