Day 130: Deep breath in; deep breath out

Today’s inane images of the day:

Tried a new recipe for my oatmeal muffins and they turned out even better than ever! Woohoo for having time to bake a healthy breakfast item!

I’ve been doing plenty of tea-drinking as of late – this particular blend is one of my personal favorites but is sadly only available during the holiday season.

Whew! I made it through my third semester of medical school [and didn’t have to remediate anything]! Now, I get 23 days away from school to do whatever I want. Except… not really because I’ve started to freak out a bit about the Boards. In fact, I’ve been so anxious about them that I’ve already made a skeleton outline for my dedicated Step 1 study time. We only get ~4-5 weeks of true study time, so I need to make sure to use every moment as efficiently as possible and that means charting out a pretty extensive schedule [otherwise… I’ll just sit around on Facebook or Google Reader or watch TV].

Somehow I’m already 6 days into my break and I feel like I’ve just sat around [which is mostly true]. Sadly this weather has taken a bit of a toll on my mood – when will the sun come out?! I do hope it takes a moment to visit the metro-Detroit area soon…

I’m sure you’re all wondering what other exciting plans I have for this time off? Well… I’ve been going home to spend time with family a bit more and am planning a trip to Florida for next week. Mike and I will be reunited the week after next. Sounds to me like a pretty pleasant break.

In the meantime, take a moment to take a deep breath in and out. Sometimes I think I forget that I actually need oxygen to think clearly. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to breathe. Either way, the simple act really clears my head and calms me down.

Finally, Congratulations to Hannah, Asheema, Sana, Laura and Jennifer for winning the Calendar Giveaway! Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry!

Day 120: GIVEAWAY – 2013 Calendar

Today’s inane images of the day:

Remember how I made these really cool 2013 Square Desk Calendars? Well, as a small token of my appreciation for my blog readers, I thought I’d do my first ever GIVEAWAY! [Can you tell I’m excited? Well, I am]. As you can see above, I had them printed [on heavy, semi-coated paper/cardstock] and they are awesome. I can’t wait to write in the little Accomplishments box on the May card, “Finished USMLE Step 1.”

At this point, I’ll be giving away at least 3 of them and since I don’t have a million readers [if I do, someone please notify me ASAP – that would be huge news to me!], you have a pretty good chance of winning.

To enter the giveaway, follow these 3 simple steps:
1. Comment on this entry with at least one accomplishment you’d like to write onto one of these cards OR tell me why you want a calendar.
2. “Like” my blog page OR design page on Facebook. Don’t have a Facebook? Then subscribe to my blog using the email address that you include in step 3. [If you do all 3, I’ll give you 3 entries.]
3. Include your email address & name in your comment [if you win, you must reply within 24 hours, or I will select another winner].

The deadline to enter is by 5PM on Monday, December 17th. Also, to win, you must have a U.S. address. Each completed entry will be assigned a number and I’ll use a random number generator to determine the winners. If I receive a large number of entries, I’ll give a couple more than 3 away.

Winners will be announced on this blog once they are confirmed [and if you’re a winner and have a blog/website, I will link my readers to your site… woohoo free advertising!].

Good luck!

Day 117: Block 6 – Reproductive

Today’s inane image of the day:

The Reproductive chapter title from First Aid Organ Systems.

Our third block of the semester was Male and Female Reproductive. Here’s how I thought it went:

Course Overview
This was another 5 week course [just like Renal and GI]. We had a handful of TBLs, weekly quizzes, labs and lectures. Our final grade was determined from our performance on quizzes, TBLs, the Anatomy practical and final NBME exam.

What I loved
White space. Although it seemed like we didn’t have much time off, after looking back at our schedule for this block, it is pretty clear that the couple of mornings/afternoons and an entire Friday off made a difference. Either way, having time off to study the material is always welcome.

Bringing back the TBLs. Some of my colleagues may not agree with me on this, but I definitely thought that they did a pretty good job reviving TBLs and overall, they were positive. I still have my qualms about how they are run and there are definitely some issues that still need to be worked out, however, I still [for the most part] support the concept. [We tried a different approach to the TBL during this current block that I cannot wait to share with you once finals are over!]

We also brought back the peer evaluation component of TBL back. Sadly, I did not receive high marks and a few of the comments brought me back to my discussion of TBL feedback. I obviously have some shortcomings to work on.

What could be improved
Final exam. The exam was another NBME-written one, however, I was pretty frustrated by how the questions didn’t seem to reflect the material that was taught in the course. In fact, there was a basic biochemistry question that somehow snuck into our Reproductive exam. Although the class did well as a whole, I thought that more attention could have been focused on selecting appropriate questions. Either way, this is a relatively easy fix for the future.

Anatomy lab timing. I appreciated the additional Anatomy lab time set aside for us to dissect and learn the structures, however, it wasn’t clear when we were free to leave. I usually dig right into dissections, which helps me pass the time and learn the structures. But there comes a point where my brain feels saturated or there aren’t enough faculty members present to point out structures. And since my gloved-hands are usually covered in formaldehyde and other bits of the cadaver, I don’t usually like to bring any of my study materials into the lab. So, at least to me, there felt like a lot of down time that could have been used for studying.

Final Thoughts
Overall, Dr. Venuti, Dr. Starr and Dr. Yeamans put together a great Reproductive course and I applaud them for their hard work and dedication.