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I Love the Smell of Freedom in the Morning

Kendracampbell572x722Kendra Campbell -- When I walked out of the room into the hallway and announced that I was finished, the lady looked at me like I was crazy. She was responsible for administering the exams. “I thought you were taking the USLME Step 1,” she said. “I was,” I replied. Apparently, she’d never seen anyone finish the 8-hour exam in less than 4 hours. And I’m sure she didn’t suspect that the girl with pink hair would be the one to set the new speed record.

That’s right, today I took the first test in the series of U.S. medical licensing exams, the so-called Step 1. I only have two more Steps to go, and I’ll be eligible for licensure in the States.

Today was an interesting day. I woke up early this morning, drank my coffee and forced myself to eat some breakfast. At around 8:00 a.m. my partner dropped me off at the testing center to take the exam. When I walked into the testing area, the lady informed me that I had to remove my headscarf, per policy. I reluctantly removed the scarf, revealing a pile of pink, greasy, hadn’t-been-washed-in-days-because-of-my-study-marathon, matted hair. Luckily, that turned out to be the worst part of the exam.

Less than four hours later, I strolled out of the testing area, took the elevator to the ground floor, and waltzed outside to breathe in the warm, city air. Ahhh, I do love the smell of freedom in the morning, it smells like victory.

I’ve been studying for this exam for over a month. My entire life had been reduced to memorizing a monumental pile of seemingly random facts. I had been living, eating, and breathing this exam for so long. And now it’s finally over!

It definitely wasn’t the easiest exam I’ve ever taken, but I don’t think it was unbearably difficult. Some of the questions I knew right away, and others I had to take a wild guess on. However, I don’t want to comment on how I think I did because I don’t have any wood to knock on nearby, and I’d rather not jinx myself.

The good news is that I have the next two weeks off, and then I start my first clinical rotation. I plan on enjoying every minute of the next two weeks. I don’t plan on reading a single medical textbook, and I’m certainly not going to be memorizing pharmacokinetic equations.

Instead, I’m going to enjoy the sweet smell of freedom, and savor every last drop of it, since I know it won’t last forever.

May 30, 2008 in Kendra Campbell | Permalink


Way to go! Savor that sweet taste of freedom. You are right that it will not last for long ; )

Posted by: thomas | May 30, 2008 3:18:38 PM

How did you manage to finish so fast?

Posted by: | May 31, 2008 12:05:50 PM

Wow congratulations! I hope you also make a record score to go with it :)

Posted by: Wendy | Jun 3, 2008 7:02:13 PM

I had a similar experience. I was done in less than 4 1/2 hours, including breaks. The test administrator looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "You are definitely the first one out today!" My husband thinks I might have jinxed myself by getting done so quickly. Congratulations on finishing Step 1!

Posted by: Erin Werner | Jun 3, 2008 7:14:19 PM

I finished pretty freaking fast. I think it was either 2:45 or 3:15. Either way I was done in time for lunch. I kinda freaked when it settled on me how fast i'd taken it. But I've always been a fast test taker.

I ended up doing just fine on it though so no worries.

Good luck in third year.

Posted by: Indiancowboy | Jun 3, 2008 9:16:30 PM

Wow... thats is super fast! I wd keep thinking I d have botched something up if I ever finish this fast...haha:) anyways... Congratulations on getting over with step 1...

Posted by: Anuja | Jun 3, 2008 9:41:13 PM

freedom yes, that's a good things. I hope a pray that you continue to be steadfast. you have encourage me in so many ways. May the love of God keep you in perfect peace!!!!!!!!! Mrs. Kendra Watkins

Posted by: Kendra Watkins | Jun 3, 2008 11:05:38 PM

Congratulation ... I hope you keep going like this in your next steps ... GOOD LUCK

Posted by: Ali Qannass | Jun 4, 2008 11:24:59 AM

Congratulations Kendra! Enjoy these two weeks as a reward for your hard work ^^

Posted by: Daro | Jun 5, 2008 8:39:41 AM

I am amazed and very proud of a fellow medical student that studied overseas, take the step 1 with confidence. Thanks for setting an example for other medical students abroad. Success in you endevours in the US.

Posted by: Samuel | Jun 5, 2008 10:53:41 PM

Being bound to work restricts freedom. Don’t you sometimes feel like running away from the hassles of work? Does marriage also restrict freedom? I think many married people feel that their freedom has been restricted.
Is it not possible to not to be bound to anyone or anything and live life on day to day basis and do whatever, whenever and wherever you feel like doing (here I am not talking about insane things). Do you feel sometimes trapped by modern forms of slavery like mortgage etc?

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