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My Temporary Insanity

JeffJeff Wonoprabowo -- Right now I am writing this a few days before midterm exams. By the time this post goes live on The Differential, I expect I'll be in the middle of exam week. Exam weeks are never fun -- at least not for me.

Usually I'm pretty sleep-deprived during exam week. I stay up as late as I can trying to get that last bit of info to stick, wake up as close to the exam time as I can, take the exam, eat lunch, short nap, and repeat for the next day. It's not the healthiest way to spend a week. But then again, medical school isn't exactly the healthiest way to spend four years.

Occasionally, when the clock reads something like 2:30 AM, I find myself doing the strangest things. Well maybe I should say I find myself doing normal things at the strangest time of day. In the middle of cramming, I might get up, go to the bathroom, spray some shaving cream on my face, and start shaving. Another time, I started cleaning the toilet bowl in the early morning hours. I think I may have started vacuuming once.

Who does these things in the middle of the night? It's like I am suddenly struck by compulsions to do things I should probably save for later.

I would like to think that I only do these things because I am desperately trying to find a reason to take a break. I just hope these stress-induced episodes are not indications that I might be predisposed to some psychological problem.

Maybe I just need to do a better job of studying in the weeks before exams. That way, on the night before an exam, I can go to sleep by 10:00 pm because I am so confident in the studying I have already done.

So the prescription for my temporary insanity? Efficient, daily studying... Who knew studying could be therapeutic?

November 11, 2008 in Jeff Wonoprabowo | Permalink


Hey Jeff!
I am just in my final exams here in germany and i can totally relate to what you feel! I do crazy stuff all the time, my appartment has never been cleaner, I am doing sports as an excuse to leave "the study room" or convince myself that i need to go grocery shopping every day- even if i just end up buying soap.
But i guess- and really hope- that it's not me going crazy- it might be just a reaction to stress and also the unplanned emptiness after exams... until now everything has been going according to plan- but suddenly we are left to ourselves, have to write applications (some more than 120 throughout the country) and have no certainty about where we will be in the following month or how it will work out...
it's all pretty scary- but also funny if you consider having saved peoples lives and now be afraid of having to make it on your own...
to put the whole matter in a nutshell: you'll make it through and don't blame yourself for silly stuff, but rather enjoy your little crazy moments. Studying that 10 minutes won't make any difference in your exam- the stuff i didn't know on my written exam was the immunhistology of the pleuramesothelioma- and to be honest -even if i would have had two years more to study- i would have never learned that...

Posted by: Kira | Nov 14, 2008 3:09:38 AM

hahah! I do the same thing and say the same thing after every exam week--NEXT time I will study ahead of time. I've come to the conclusion that that is just impossible to do in medschool!!

Posted by: Kara | Nov 18, 2008 4:33:27 PM

Haha..Kara is right..there is never a next time when you've been able to cover every bit of the portion and can sleep restfully before an exam..it never happens that way! My compulsive urge before an exam is to read a short story..i dont know why but unread novels or magazines that i've ignored for months come to my attention just then and i hungrily go through them as if im gonna be tested on who's dating whom or why the detective was clever in catching the murderer! It is as if my neurons are sick of medical stuff and want some light reading to get a break...lol

Posted by: Sonali Inamdar | Nov 27, 2008 1:01:30 PM

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