Day 193: Decompression

Today’s inane image of the day:

My favorite study tools…

The exam came and went. All I can say on the matter is that I’m very glad that Neuroscience is over.

Yesterday we delved right into our Cardiovascular block with some basic lectures and exposure of the heart in Anatomy Lab. Our cadaver has an extremely hypertrophic heart — it was “a rush” [as Dr. Forbes loves to say] to pull out the lungs in order to expose the muscular organ that maintains our blood flow.

My updates might be sporadic this week due to some serious catching up on life that needs to happen.

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 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 27: Study day

Today’s inane images of the day:

A couple of things to note: 1.) large stack of notecards only represents a small fraction of the lectures I should know by now; 2.) I really like studying in my kitchen, which leads to the issue of stress eating and consumption of foods I would normally have the will to say “no” to; 3.) What’s open on my laptop: lecture and Facebook.

Yesterday’s caffeinated beverages ingested: 1 solo espresso, 1 tall iced coffee, 2 Irish breakfast teas, 1/2 Red Bull

I am so behind. And frightened. And quite depressed that the clouds won’t cease their downpour on this area. It’s as if Mother Nature sensed that we were stressed and decided to make the weather reflect our mood [I’m going with this theory because it’s supposed to be sunny and beautiful on Monday when our exam is over].

Day 20: Making this work

Today’s inane image of the day:

Even while on “vacation” in California, I need to keep up with studying! At least the sun makes every subject so much brighter and more fun to study [plus, it doesn’t hurt to have Mike around to keep me smiling!].

Greetings from the Starbucks in Duarte, California! You didn’t think I’d forget about you during my extended weekend, did you?

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Day 16: Trying to keep my head up

[What I wish was] Today’s inane image of the day:

I’d much rather be happily peaking from behind a palm tree on Hollywood Blvd… 

[What actually is] Today’s inane image of the day:

My hands are tired of writing about the different movements at synovial joints…WHY CAN WE MOVE IN SO MANY DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS?! [Oh yeah, that’s one of the great features of being human…]

I’m definitely having one of those kinds of evenings — oh you know the kind: I’m tired, slightly disheartened and really in need of a motivator. The glam and glitz of starting medical school has worn off and the magnitude of material that needs to be crammed into my head is growing exponentially. I fell behind last week, and now I feel like I am two weeks behind [even though it’s only Tuesday!].

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The much needed pre-M1 vacation

Having done mostly academia and academia-related activities for the past 15 or so years of my life, it seems that a much needed vacation is in order. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am planning to road trip out to California with Mike right before orientation begins. While there isn’t much to say about the first part of the trip [we are aiming for the approach of getting out west as quickly as possible then relaxing once we get there], I am getting super excited about the last part, since we recently booked our lodging in Palm Springs at the Colony Palms Hotel.

I’ll definitely blog about the experience while I’m there [woohoo Wifi and endless hours of free time! Now I just need the iPhone to hop over to Sprint so I can blog while we’re driving through the heart of the Midwest…].

On the note of my pre-M1 summer, one thread topic that tends to appear quite often on the SDN forums is whether or not to study during the pre-M1 summer. While I cannot say I subscribe to any one school of thought on the matter, I can say that I haven’t been studying at all. Instead, my days are filled with work, working out, eating and sleeping — which in a way is actually pretty draining. Honestly, I have never worked a steady full-time job prior to this one and while there are definitely perks [set hours, consistency in scheduling, free-time, a paycheck], I find a constant reminder of why I am pursuing medicine instead of a full-time engineering position.

But more on the whole engineering intern and medicine thing at a later time.

Here’s my take on pre-studying while you’re a pre-M1 looking forward to being a pre-resident then possibly a pre-fellow and finally being able to almost touch the $ as a pre-attending: take a moment to stop looking forward and just look around. Then breathe in, breathe out, and enjoy where you’re at in life.

There are a lot of good reasons to continue looking ahead and working for something, but if your life revolves around “what’s next?!” then you will never be satisfied. That’s the reality of it. While I agree that it can be hard to put a pause on the instinct to plan your whole future [you’re reading the words of someone who has every moment of her day blocked off on Google Calendar and is already planning on getting engaged after medical school, married during residency or right after, and then hopefully popping out 2 or 4 babies before the age of 35 — yes, I have to have it all], I noticed that taking the time to actively enjoy my current place in life has slowly unloaded weight from my shoulders.

[If you didn’t get it yet, I won’t tell you what the best way to spend your pre-M1 summer is because we all need different things. Maybe pre-studying will help you clam your nerves. Maybe it won’t. But, I do believe that the rest of our lives will be heavily intertwined with medicine and this is the last opportunity to experience life without the weight of Netter’s Anatomy Atlas or patients upon our chests.]

In the end, taking time to reflect on the present has been a positive thing. Regardless of my stressing over the future, I don’t know what life has around the corner for me and accept that the perfectly laid plans of mice and women will often go awry.