I had this post open all week, but couldn’t seem to muster the clarity of mind to write down any words that properly conveyed the exhausting experience of studying for and taking that test. So I didn’t. And since I’ve been done for a full week now, enjoying every moment of the freedom, I’m much less motivated to re-live the experience. We also started M3 orientation today, so my mind is already elsewhere… forced to move forward on this journey to the start of my clinical years. But I have to jot down a couple of post-Step 1 memories that I’m sure I’ll vividly recall someday when I re-read this:
- I got lost in the building after walking out of the test. It was a simple entrance and exit, but somehow I got lost. My mind was spinning and I called John and couldn’t even formulate a sentence properly.
- I cried 3 times in the first thirty minutes after being done. First, after just hearing John’s voice. Then, when I saw two geese (they were just average geese standing in a patch of grass…but they just looked so beautiful to my glazed-over eyes). And finally, when I scrolled through my phone looking at photos of Ben. (The tears came in fits and burst. I would sob for about two minutes and then be totally done. It was like I had no energy left even to cry beyond the necessary minimum).
- Picking up Ben from daycare was the sweetest thing in the world. He was drawing with chalk when I arrived and he flitted around from one patch of scribbles to the next showing me every detail of his artwork. His fluency and vocabulary and tone made him seem like he had aged a whole year in just six weeks. It was such an overwhelming feeling to know that during that difficult time he was growing and thriving among people who so loved and so cherished him (grandparents, teachers at daycare, and Dad of course), even when I couldn’t spend nearly as much time with him as usual.
- For 6 weeks John did all daycare drop-offs and pickups, so when I loaded Ben up in my car that day (post-test), his first words were, “Mom, I’ve never ridden in your car before.” (He likes to say he has never done something when it’s been quite awhile since he last did it). It melted me. The whole way home we talked about how Mom’s car works and all the different buttons and parts, as if he has never seen it before. It reminded me of how I suddenly was alive again, seeing things in the world that I (similarly) felt deprived of for six week, almost as if I had never even lived before.
This is a bit random, but I will always associate this picture with Step studying now. My parents sent it a few weeks before my test, while they were digging through some old photos for a party for my great Aunt. It’s me at age 3, almost exactly as old as Ben is. Our faces are strikingly similar. It made me laugh. Soon I’ll find a good side-by-side of Ben to post along with it.
This picture also reminds me of how I was at age 3: strong and tough and fiercely independent (or so I’m told). Very similar to Ben.
This quote I randomly read the same day my parents sent me that picture helped me get through some of the tougher moments of study period. “It’s interesting how we often can’t see the ways in which we are being strong — like, you can’t be aware of what you’re doing that’s tough and brave at the time that you’re doing it because if you knew that it was brave, then you’d be scared.” —Lena Dunham
Ok, enough rambling about Step 1. Onward to M3 year! And 7.5 weeks and counting til Baby #2 joins us on this crazy, fun adventure. 🙂