Study Hard, Then Forget

I am studying hard for my osce at the moment. But as good students do, I was distracted by a conversation with a school friend I hadn’t talked to much recently. The topic turned to studying methods. She has finished her science degree and is currently working on her postgraduate degree.

She talked about how relieved she was that she didn’t have to “study” for tests, etc. anymore. And how I still did. She asked me whether I struggled to study. Or if the work I put in is enough. It struck me as an odd question. But I got what she meant.

You know how I keep saying I’m studying cramming? Well the truth is, I stink at that. I can’t cram info to save my life. There are those people who literally take photographs of their notes in their minds and regurgitate info in that 2 hour period they are expected to do so, then forget it all. One of my fellow med students actually said “Can’t wait till Friday, and then I can forget all this!”. She was referring to the day of the osce and the information she was trying to memorise.

Now this bothers me a bit. Truth be told, she probably won’t forget it. She’s the brightest student of my year and she studies 24/7. So no, she won’t forget it because I’m sure she’ll revisit this info again atleast 10 times. Just. In. Case.

But the statement itself, shows the attitude I suppose? Learn something long enough to forget it? Blech. Of course, the education system is partly the cause of this, as they expect students to learn texts word-for-word and spew it out in that exact form and order even though- lets face it- in practice, it’s not in that exact form or order. And basically you have to learn/do something else entirely. But that’s the basis of knowledge. I take issue with this. I cannot rote learn. It’s one of the reasons I’m not very good at anatomy as opposed to physiology. For me, things need to logically fit together. I can’t accept that X = Y because it just does.

If I lose marks because I didn’t understand a concept, I’d be okay with that. But I seem to lose marks these days purely because I’m not a robot that can download screeds of info into my brain or take photos/scans of pages of notes and reprint them exactly. Sigh.

Because of this, the ‘grades’ I get are, shall we say, average? But my friend and I were talking about how that’s probably the best for people like us. I don’t like stressing. Mostly because I don’t seem to handle stress well. And more because I don’t see the point in being miserable in order to achieve that extra 5-10% in marks. Like I’ve said before, the marks are the real thing that’s going to be forgotten in the very near future. And I value learning. I enjoy learning. I would be sad if I forgot the things I learnt. So I could never really learn something and think to myself I can’t wait till I can forget it after ____. Now this isn’t to say I don’t forget anything. xD I forget a lot of what I study. And often it’s numbers, drug names, genes names, etc. But I remember concepts pretty well I think.

I just hope that what I’m left with is knowledge. And that isn’t just book knowledge. That is the ability to refer to the right books and the right resources (google, in this day and age) when I need it and find that info as quickly and accurately and apply it appropriately to the situation. While keeping a cool head. Cuz stress does bad things to people. I have way too much experience with that. It can turn you inside out. It can make you crave things that you know are bad. It can make you turn on people who care. And to be honest, that just isn’t worth it.

Anyway. The reason I decided to write about this is that my friend did a lot to calm me down while I studied for my osce. To see the bigger picture.

I shall (hopefully) do well tomorrow. Hopefully.

But here’s a quote from Einstein that may apply here:

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school…” – Albert Einstein

True enough.

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