It haunts my dreams.

So I’ve slowly gotten accustomed to either studying every night or trying to study every night. And it’s not that bad, I guess. Never in my high school or college careers would I have ever dreamed that I, of all people, would do it, but it really becomes quite necessary. Unlike many of my friends, I don’t feel like it’s an oppressive burden that stops me from doing anything else, but I see how it could get that way.

The thing I don’t really appreciate, though, is the effect that studying right before bed has. It’s just annoying. Even right now, when exams are weeks away and I’m not particularly concerned about the amount of material I’m learning, I will half-wake up in the middle of the night finding myself going over the branches of the external carotid artery as it ascends the neck. I will wake up in the morning and immediately think, “Drugs did I went over last night — rifampicin, binds bacterial RNA polymerase; tamoxifen, breast cancer drug, antagonist of estrogen hormone receptors for RNAPII.”

Probably most disturbing example: I opened the Glamour magazine Guy bought for me last month to calm me down right before exams, and the first thing I see is an Elizabeth Arden ad with Catherine Zeta-Jones, and my eye zooms to the claims of their Ceramide Face Cream or whatever, and my mind goes, “Ceramide, we learned that. Sphingosine and serine and a fatty acid, backbone of glycolipids.” And then I think for about a minute on whether, based on its biochemical properties, ceramide really could help your face or not. (And I decided it’s quite possible that it does.)

I’m not throwing out all this (arguably useless) M1 knowledge to prove that I’m an awesome student. Okay, perhaps part of me is, but mostly, these are real examples of thoughts I’ve had over the last nine hours. This is particularly disturbing to me when I consider for about eight of those hours I was sleeping.

So I have come to believe, even when you are me, the possibly most calm, least stressed, least currently worried medical student in your group of friends: you may just find yourself dreaming about the twelve cranial nerves.

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