That awkward moment when you realize your brain is still in scholars bowl mode

I was in scholars bowl from 7th through 12th grade. It was one of the highlights of my year, and I was always sorry to see a season end. I have a wide range of memories from scholars bowl: memories that vary from happy and elated, to frustrating, and to downright irksome. Even though scholars bowl ended 2.5 years ago, it made a reoccurrence in my embryology class the other day.

When you’re in scholars bowl, it’s imperative that you answer questions quickly — and correctly. You learn to walk a fine line between a) thinking an answer is correct and buzzing in early so you get the first chance at answering (but risk answering incorrectly), and b) taking more time to deliberate your answer but risking that someone on the other team will buzz in before you and answer correctly. To answer a question extremely quickly, you learn to buzz in when you “know that you know” what the answer is, even if your brain still hasn’t jumped to the final answer.

Answering questions quickly, or rapidly thinking through ranges of possibilities, is still something that I tend to do a fair amount of the time. This led to my detriment last embryology class. Our teacher was covering a topic that he had foreshadowed in an anatomy class, and when he gave us a new piece of information that linked to the past anatomy lecture I excitedly turned to my neighbor and said, “Oh, that’s why [xyz] was like that in anatomy!”

This professor tends to ask rhetorical questions during lecture, using the questions to introduce an aspect of a topic then answering the question with the appropriate information. Since I have now been taking his classes for 6 months you would think that I would remember this vital piece of information; alas, that was not the case. Our professor proceeded to ‘ask’, “So, what does this mean for the nervous innervation…?” My hand shot up to answer, then just as quickly as it went up I realized it was a rhetorical question and retracted my arm — however, not quickly enough to avoid the professor’s notice. He halfway smiled/laughed, then proceeded to answer his question. [I also succeeding in amusing some of my classmates sitting around me. You’re welcome.]

I think I could have avoided this awkward moment had I not been so excited about realizing the correlation between the content from our anatomy and embryology lectures. On a side note, that is one aspect of medical school that I have really been enjoying — a great majority of the course content integrates throughout classes (which makes sense, as it is all under the broad topic of the human body). You need to know the anatomy to understand the physiology, and the physiology to understand the pathology, and so on and so forth.

So in essence, the moral of the story is that scholars bowl may continue to influence you years later. This could quite possibly cause some embarrassment; but in my opinion, the years of competition were well worth the occasional awkward moment.

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