Day 242: Feeling overwhelmed

Today’s inane image of the day:

This salad was a wonderful surprise — adding fruit seems to make everything look and taste so much better!

Similar to the end of the Fall semester, the end of this semester is jam-packed with exams, assessments and assignments. I wish I could say that my many years of experience with this end-of-the-term-phenomenon prepared me to tackle this last month and a half with poise — but the reality of medicine is that you cannot really predict how things will be until they are. Being someone who likes to feel in control of any and all situations… this is a terrifying position to be in.

Alas, I have adapted over the course of the year. Medical school seems to send you into a perpetual state of feeling overwhelmed — it feels like you increase your threshold for stress and studying exponentially as you spend more time in medicine. Even though I’m used to this, school is still challenging. At times, it feels like being dropped off at Mt. Everest and told that you have to make it to the top; although we’re inexperienced amateur, we were selected because a committee decided that we are capable of scaling this challenge called medical education.

Being conditioned to handle stress doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments of doubt. Often, the following questions creep up in my mind: How will I memorize all of this material? How will I have enough time for all of my extracurricular commitments? Will I have the strength to get through this all? And then I reflect upon the trials and tribulations of the last academic year, and I feel accomplished. Our class has made it this far — we will make it through the last month and a half!

In the meantime, the only way to really address feeling overwhelmed is to actually do stuff [nothing compares to the satisfaction and relief of seeing the checkmarks next to a bunch of completed tasks!]. At this point, we have PMH and Capstone assignments due in the coming weeks in addition to keeping up with Respiratory lecture material. Then there’s that whole trying not to gain 20 lbs from eating junk food [Sweet Onion Kettle chips for the win], coffee beverages [if that warm weather would just come back for a visit I could start drinking Frappuccinos again…mmm], consuming inordinate amounts of energy drinks [I’ll be honest — Red Bull is my drink of choice; 5 hour energy = flushing, Monster = too much liquid] and Lunch and Learn food [yeah, uhh cheesy pizza and oily mac and cheese are not conducive to maintaining a healthy weight]. Additionally, I seem to have taken on a number of extracurricular commitments that require some serious time management on my part to maintain [e.g. AMWA elections are around the corner — eek!].

Anyway, look forward to future entries on trying to stay healthy, commuting, stress relief and anything else that pops into my mind!

Day 224: Unseasonal

Today’s inane image of the day:

I went to San Diego for an evening during Spring Break to avoid this scene of gloomy, overcast skies. At least there were palm trees and was a gorgeous body of water outside of our window! 

I have so many ideas for future entries, but have been out and about enjoying the beautiful weather [70s all week and sunny!] and mingling with some awesome admitted students [last week was Second Look Experience] that I haven’t really had a moment to sit down at my computer and write.

Our Cardiovascular final exam is creeping up so it’s time for me to ramp up the studying. There are a number of factors that are different for this exam: 1) it’s our first cumulative final exam; 2) the questions are written by the NBME [they also write the USMLE]; 3) it’s on the computer [since they are NBME questions, they can only be accessed through their online system…very much like the boards!]; 4) it’s on a Friday [historically, our class has used the 3 day weekend before an exam to cram… now, that option is no longer available].

Anyway, back to the pharmacology [did you know that one side effect of ACE inhibitors that some patients may not tolerate is a cough?].

Day 162: Round 5 (with update)

Today’s inane image of the day:

AFFERENT vs EFFERENT — extremely important [albeit basic] Neuroscience terms.

We are quickly approaching our 5th major examination. Sadly, preparation doesn’t get any less stressful.

Expect sparse updates and a lot of images of colorful notes and misleading small, densely packed textbooks.

Any requests for photos?

Update: As I sat here in the library trying to focus on the text before me, I quickly realized that I was envious of the high schoolers at the table next to mine frantically flipping through textbooks to fill in the blanks of a homework assignment. Long gone are the days of assignments with definitive start and end times. True, one could see our studying “end time” as the examination, but let’s be realistic here, this material will inevitably undergo the vicious cycle of being learned, forgotten and re-learned. Medical school is about repetition and the hope that we can train our brains to absorb to the point of supersaturation.

Regardless of this reality, I still love the applicability of the material. In the end, I don’t think there’s anything more fascinating than the human being.

Day 87: …but this rerun has an alternate ending

Today’s inane image of the day:

I absolutely *love* when holiday cups reappear at coffee shops. Especially when they have corny statements on them like “When we’re together snowmen come to life” [what is that supposed to mean, anyway?!]. Oh yeah, and that’s Robbins behind my cup…

I will start by saying that as of this morning, I officially passed my BFCP2 Midterm exam.

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Day 85: This feels a lot like a rerun

Today’s inane image of the day:

The wall of Starbucks that I tend to stare at when I’m sick of staring at my lecture notes. I never realized how calming the act of looking at this wall was until after I snapped this photo.

There’s not much more I need to say aside from I’m disappointed. There’s no one to blame except myself and there’s nowhere to go except forward. I could shower you with really optimistic quotes about learning from one’s mistakes or something like that, but I just don’t have the energy.
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Day 79: More sweets and exam rumination

Today’s inane image of the day:

A surprise gift from a dear friend [come exam-time, I tend to increase my intake of fried carbs… so this was extremely appropriate!]

This week really started off well — although I’m not a huge fan of Halloween [it stopped being fun when we got too old to go trick or treating…], our class found a slew of candy and treats sprinkled throughout the day [I feel my arteries clogging just thinking about how much saturated fat I consumed yesterday]. The weekend was relatively productive and I had a much needed lunch date yesterday [Palm Palace is amazing… did I ever mention that I love garlic?]. All in all, I can’t really complain.

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Day 29: And the verdict is…

Today’s inane image of the day:

Just in case you were wondering, this is the pile of notecards that I ended up with before the exam today… pretty impressive, eh?

I think now is an optimal time to highlight two of my favorite food analogies for what the workload is like in medical school. First and foremost, pancakes [click on the link for a written entry, or try the YouTube video version] and the competitive eater. For anyone currently in or who has completed medical school, you will chuckle and feel a sense of familiarity with the idea. I read the latter entry prior to starting at OUWB and thought I was a step ahead of the game because I knew what was coming — but in reality, you just cannot fully wrap your mind around what it feels like to be in medical school until you experience it for yourself.

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