Review or Reveille: My Secret to Staying Awake

Don’t laugh. I have a habit of getting really sleepy during review.

I’m not sure what that’s about, but I’ve been that way since undergrad.

Give me information that I previously tested on and ask me to review it, and for some reason my brain goes into twilight mode and I can hardly keep my eyes open.

In undergrad, it was manageable. After all, most of undergrad courses are fairly stand-alone. Even the bits of, for instance, General Chemistry that you need to retain and build on are manageable.

In med school that’s all turned catywonkus and it just doesn’t apply. EVERYTHING you learn has to be retained long-term. Well, at least through that all-important Step 1 exam – my be-all, end-all goal at this point.

Until recently, I’ve been stumped by how the heck to efficiently and effectively keep up with reviewing, regularly, without literally falling asleep. I was beginning to get frustrated. Then that frustration began turning into a fatalistic “ugh maybe I can’t do this” mentality (oh how fast I go there!) and I knew I had to come up with a solution.

Even though I’m in my 50s, my mother is one of my biggest fans and heads up my cheering section through this process. I never mentioned to her how I was struggling to stay awake during review sessions. But she messaged me the other day saying she had found me a gift.

A treadmill.

But not just any treadmill. This one has a handy-dandy shelf on it just perfect for my laptop.

Now, I walk while I review. Every day. Talk about the ideal “killing two birds with one stone” solution!

I’m no longer playing reveille during review sessions. I’m staying healthy. And coincidentally I’m retaining review information way better for going through it while I’m moving!

Challenge solved. Whew! I’ve even begun ‘attending’ live lectures while walking, going through flashcards and lecture notes – its amazing how much better this is!

Now back to the books – its time to review heart sounds. While walking.

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