Taking Step 1 During 3rd Year

January 15, 2013
Valerie Libby

By Valerie Libby and Rusty Libby

Medical School BlogMy name is Rusty Libby, Valerie’s brother, and I am a 3rd year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine. Both Valerie and I were visiting our parent’s home in Atlanta, GA for the holidays and she asked me to write this blog. I first want to say that being the brother of such an awesome sister is a lot of fun and that even though I have been smarter than her throughout childhood I still have much to learn from her care and compassion for others. Nevertheless, I thought it would be relevant to briefly talk about where I am at in my quest of becoming a doctor to make more palpable for those first and second years that think life is only going to get worse and even more unmanageable.

At BCM we completed the first 2 years of pre-clinicals in 18 months and started clinics 6 months early. Just like everywhere else, pre-clinicals is a necessary evil and the devil was in the details. I approached studying like trivia and spent the majority of my days and nights learning and re-learning material. It usually took me 3-5 passes before mastering material. On the other hand, at BCM I have been surrounded by “geniuses.” It feels like most of my friends know all the material before lecture. But I have found ways to cope by studying ridiculous amounts of time; I re-groomed my study habits as I entered medical school after culinary school and not transitioning from being a major in neuroscience.

During my third year, I have learned one rule that never fails. Learn everything you can about at least one patient you are following at any given time. I have learned a lot of interesting facts through preparing informative mini presentations after presenting patients on rounds. This was especially helpful on rotations where attendings seemed eccentric and judgmental because they saw “effort” on my behalf on a daily basis.

As I said earlier, I am a 3rd year medical student, but little do most know that BCM students take the Step 1 exam AFTER a majority of our shelf exams (I have already taken shelf exams in medicine, surgery, neuro, OB/GYN, psychiatry). Starting next week, I start studying for the Step 1 monster. I am hoping that my schools average of 240 will rub off on me, but I also realize that a score this high will require a great deal of commitment and planning. Luckily, I have my sister and Kaplan to help me with this new challenge.

Other news in my life which has grounded me every day for the past week is that I just got engaged to my girlfriend, Lauren. She is the most unbelievable girl that I have ever met and there is no doubt in my mind that medical school and everything else simply does not come close to my love for her and the excitement I get from sharing our relationship with my family this week.

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Valerie Libby

Valerie Libby Class of 2013 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. I studied Psychology and Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin and spent a semester studying in Argentina. After college, I coached tennis in Spain and France and then moved to Washington, DC where I did my Masters in Public Health specializing in Global Public Health. I lived in Kenya for 6 months completing my thesis on community-based education of medical, dental, nursing, and public health students. In my 1st and 2nd years I organized and taught a class in medical school to fellow students called Public Health and Medicine. I received an MD with Distinction in Medical Education.

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