Monday, October 25, 2004

one day down, one to go

I walked out of One Penn Plaza (my most hated of Plazas, by the way, tainted after two previous Boards sessions there during my formative years) at 1:30 this afternoon, having finished the first day of testing for Step 3. I chose to employ the Au Strategem for the USMLE, and that is to take the test as quickly as humanly possible. Seriously, just crank it. It's just too painful to linger over that many multiple choice questions, scrutinizing and pondering each one, thinking, "Well, are they asking this? Or are they asking this? Hmm, so many ways to interpret this question." Life's too short, sister. Don't know the answer? You're not gonna know it, no matter how long you sit and stare at that screen. Just click click click, and move on.

The good thing about taking the test quickly is you end up with a lot of time for breaks. So, also in keeping with the Au Strategem, I took a leisurely lunch break in repose with a cup of soup and a trashy magazine. For Step 2, I believe I had pasta and read "Jane Magazine." (This is before I started to boycott "Jane," because despite my former loyalties for "Sassy," I could not continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that Jane was suckola.) Today, it was "In Touch Magazine," who wants us all to know that MARY-KATE IS IN TROUBLE AGAIN!!!! Because of the anorexia, you know. Part of me is thinking, "Oh media vultures, you should just leave that poor girl alone." And yet another part of me is thinking, "Wait, what page was that article on?" Such a dilemma.

There were some technical hitches with my test-taking experience today that I'd like to mention. The first was my own neurosis. The test was scheduled to begin at 8:30am, but the testing center requested that you get in by 8:00am. Which, to me, says "Get in by 7:30am." Factor in an early exodus from the apartment, because Joe was giving me a ride on his way in to work, and I landed on the shores of One Penn Plaza at 7:00am. An hour and a half before the test was scheduled to begin. And therefore making me officially insane. Yar, whar's me Paxil? The testing center didn't even open it's doors until 7:30am. Luckily, there was a Duane Reade down the block, and I skulked around in there for a while, killing time and buying gum and water and all manner of test site contraband. Also, once the doors actually did open, they let me start my test early, even before 8:00am. So that worked out OK.

The second hitch was with the lockers. See, they give you these lockers at the testing site in which to stuff all of your crap for the day. The thing is that I'd never taken the Boards during cold weather before. I took Steps 1 and 2 in June of 2001 and 2002 respectively. It was 80 degrees out, so I didn't really have much of anything to put in my locker those times around. Today, though, I had my bag (stuffed with my camera and the aforementioned contraband) and my big winter jacket. The locker is roughly the size of a bowling ball. And no amount of jacket folding or bag-rearranging was going to make it all fit. (You think I would have learned this from premed physics by now, no-two-objects-can-exist-at-the-same-point-in-space and all that.) So I actually had to go back to the front desk and ask for a key to a bigger locker. Mister Front Desk Guy was very smiley and accomodating to my problems, but a little bit in a weird way, like a Stepford Wife. He's a Prometric Wife.

So anyway, that's done. The crappy thing is that, unlike Steps 1 and 2 of the Boards, I actually have to go back tomorrow and finish the job. Such tedium. I guess I'll need to find another magazine.

New on the photo project: Zabar's, Sunday morning. (And, for the uninitiated, what is Zabar's?)

Currently reading: "The Rule of Four." Also working through the election issue of "The New Yorker," but I'm getting all stressed out thinking about the election and what it could mean, especially with Rehnquist laid up in the hospital now.

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