It’s been ages…

February 25, 2011

I’m slacking off on posting, I know.  Bad girl.

School’s just been so draining this week.  Usually I’ll have at least one interesting class that I can fall back on, but I’m gonna go ahead and be blunt and say that they all have sucked majorly this week.

Physio–I’m just lost there.  It’s not really news to anyone.  Respiratory’s just not that interesting to me.  We finished up, behind a lecture and no one really noticed or was surprised.  We’ve started endocrine which is straight review from histo.  It’s more productive to sorta listen to what’s going on and work on my biochem notes at the same time.

Biochem–what a disappointment this block has been.  It’s all about metabolism, and apparently not  very high yield.  It’s painfully dull and we’re all in the dark as to exactly what hormones and enzymes and rate-limiting steps, etc. that we’re supposed to know.  And each day is a different pathway or process.  Massive information.  Everyone’s behind.  I’ve worked non-stop on biochem ONLY for 2 days and I literally got caught up 10 minutes before lecture today, but now I have to go and do today’s lecture.

Genetics–all of what we’ve done so far has been review for me for genetics, until now.  We’re doing LOD scores and calculations I haven’t done yet, and by the time physio and especially biochem are over, I just don’t have the energy to be excited and to learn.  Today especially felt like genetics just wouldn’t end.  All the profs keep telling us we’ll get out early, and then we end up going right up until the class is supposed to be over.  Everyone’s already in a bad mood because of all of the boring, confusing material, but then to dangle a twinkie in front of us to tempt us that we’re getting out early, only to yank it out from under our noses and make us stay the whole time…unhappy kids.

Having a problem with my left eye that’s taking up a lot of my extracurricular time.  Feel like I’ve told this story dozens of times, but decided after the last block, that Monday night at Pizza Beach that I was having trouble seeing out of my left eye, only to go home and find out that it was worse.  Think I have a posterior vitreous detachment, but can’t seem to get to the one and only ophthalmologist on Nevis to find out for sure.  Parents are bugging me to come home and have it fixed, but I can’t–I have a quiz Monday and block the following Monday, plus I checked and the plane ticket alone is $1500.  Yea, no thanks.  Plus, the literature online says that most doctors are split on the treatment; half of them say to let it heal naturally (which could take up to 6 months) while the other half say go ahead and have laser surgery–it takes all of 15 minutes and acts like “superglue” to fix the tear and you don’t have to worry about severe retinal involvement.  Unfortunately my doctor at home is of the later opinion, so my parents are really pressuring me.  I think I’ve done my part to show them my perspective that it’s expensive and really not time I have to spare, but they’re still really concerned.  I’m trying my damndest not to be concerned and worry and to focus on school, but it’s not easy with them calling all the time trying to convince me to come home.  I’m afraid if I do, I won’t want to come back and I’ve worked too hard.

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Epi is boring

February 20, 2011

::written yesterday during Epi::

I’m sitting here watching Mastermind writing a blog entry—it’s so deep and thoughtful.  It’s not to say that my musings don’t have their moments of philosophy, but overall I wouldn’t exactly call my blog fine reading.

We’re sitting in class, on a Saturday, most of us given up on paying attention to the visiting professor lecturing on Statistics related to epidemiology.  He had 3 lectures today.  He was supposed to start at 9:00 and finish at 12:00.  Our first break wasn’t until 10:40.  That should tell you how the pace of today has been going.  He tells us he’s trying to finish by 12:30 but most of us have lost hope.

I came in with the intention of catching up on biochem notes (I’m 3 or so lectures behind) but my mind’s just not in an academic mood.  Alas I’ve done the same thing I did on the last Saturday epi session: yahoo pool.

We started out in the Med 2 classroom but the air was malfunctioning (78 degrees—we’d have all been asleep had we stayed!) so we moved to the Med 5 classroom.  Nice and frigid.  The interesting consequence is that since we waited to move after most of the class had arrived, there was a free-for-all to get seats in the new classroom—the people who show up early to get their usual seats (aka Me) were screwed.  It’s intriguing to see the screens of the laptops of all these people who are sitting in front of me though, to see what they’re up to, especially when the internet is up all day.

This weekend should be interesting, trying to catch up.

Biochem gal made a few of the boys in the class stay after so she could tell them they needed to change their attitudes in class, oh and that we were the worst class she had ever taught.

I thought she was overreacting and taking it out on us.  What she actually told the whole class was that she was very suspicious of our bi-modal curve–she was suspicious of the first peak because she thought we were cheating, and the lower peak just pissed her off (not that choice of words, of course) because those people clearly weren’t studying.

What had happened was…

She has this silly rule that when you go into the testing center, she lets people talk  (though it’s highly frowned upon) but you’re not allowed to write anything on your scratch paper, according to her, which is crap because how else are you going to remember formulas and vital facts.  So in her world, you sit down and can’t write anything for the 5 or 10 minutes that it takes everyone else to file in and sit down, so you lose all the important stuff.  Yeah, right.  So when people had been writing on their papers and she noticed, she got pissed and told them to go turn their papers in and get new ones–that, according to her, they had been talking to each other and sharing stuff that could have been written down–like they weren’t doing that 30 seconds earlier before they walked in?!

Then, she casually reminded us that since we had biochem and genetics back-to-back that we could have a quick break in between exams to freshen up.  She left to go do something and left our assoc biochem gal in charge, and apparently people finished biochem and got up to go outside and take a break.  Original biochem gal came back, saw people were outside, unsupervised and flipped her lid.  She makes an announcement in the middle of the test screaming at all of us (I literally covered my ears because I was in the middle of a really difficult problem and couldn’t concentrate at all).  The whole thing was just really unprofessional and outrageous.  She accused these people of going outside and talking to people (how?) who hadn’t finished their first test yet…give me a break.

Then she continues her tirade that according to her, people were leaning back and stuff.  Given that I’m fat and sit back in my seat because I can’t squeeze into the cubicle, it all makes sense now why she kept pacing back and forth behind my seat.  So, according to her, she’s telling the administration that cheating is a problem in our class, that they need to watch out for us, blah blah blah.  I think nothing will come of it, but then yesterday on our Epi test, A-E were removed, there were only answer choices with circles beside them.  This is their attempt at getting us not to cheat?  Again, give me a break.

Isn’t it supposed to be innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around?

We had our big dinner at Miss June’s tonight and wow, what a disappointment.  We got there, paid our remaining money, turned in our tickets, and went down for drinks.  Far from a full bar, there were two giant gatorade containers full of mixed drinks (watery) and then a fifth of vodka, rum, and some other liquor with Coke, Ting, and Sprite as mixers.  I tried one of the two mixed drinks, Watermelon Margarita, which was good, but sorta watery.  People trickled in, I met up with my friends, and we went to go reserve a table.  We were PROMPTLY yelled at by one of the attendants who told us that the area we were in was “off limits” and that we could either stay in the main house or down under the canopy, but we couldn’t stay there.  Feeling dejected and a little offended, we went back inside and sat on couches, awkwardly low, trying to talk to each other.  Trays of crackers and an un-named dip (which we were told tasted salmony) as well as carrot/celery sticks with the same dip came out.  Apparently this was the first course.  Finally at like 8:30 they told us we could take our seats.   We went to our seats and slowly, small, half-full styrofoam bowls of ginger pumpkin soup were served with butter and scallion as garnish.  It was a bit heavy on the ginger, but tasty.  A small, dense roll was served on the side with butter (parsleyed) available on the tables for accompaniment.  Then servers came around to the tables asking if we wanted red wine (a cabernet souvignon) or white wine (souvignon blanc).  We were then allowed, table by table, to go visit the buffet.  There were no signs, only servers moving in and out to tell us what the dishes were–so I knew what 2 of the things I was eating were–1 of them was quite obviously, rice.

We got back to the table and our initial excitement at the smorgasbord faded quickly.  As we tried each dish, they just seemed to get odder and blander.  A few of our selections were bland mac and cheese that had no salt, chick peas with shrimp, rice and peas (beans), dark-meat chicken in a potato stew, turkey with cranberry sauce, braised goat/lamb/mutton?, salad, coleslaw, broccoli and cheese casserole, warm salty honeydew melon, watery spinach, corn and pepper pudding, a sweet mash (we never figured out what it was), greenbeans with bananas, ground beef casserole with indian spices, and fried fish with what looked like thousand island dressing.  Overall it was just bleh–hospital food.

We were offered more trips back to the buffet but no one at our table could think of anything they liked well enough to go back and get seconds on.  My buddy, the mastermind, who was sitting beside me went back to the bar to get us some non-alcoholic bevs (because we decided the wine sucked) came back and said there was a huge fight going on inside.  Apparently a group of kids from the school, in one of the other semesters, were having a heated argument with Miss June.  Given that all 50+ diners paid $60 USD each, they felt ripped off.  Rightfully so for a watered-down, under-seasoned, mostly vegetarian buffet.  (I am willing to pay $22 USD for the breakfast buffet at the Marriot and I love everything there, but I think that’s steep.  This was for vegetables–I HATE vegetables.) Somehow, Miss June supposedly claimed that they were told that most of us were vegetarians.  Riiiiiiight.  And that they spent 3/4 of most of what we paid them on food.  Riiiiiight.  Everyone was pretty disappointed.  So, consequently I would assume, we did not get to experience the usual hospitality of Miss June’s guest entertainment.  We all were expecting a joyous black lady to come out and tell us great island stores.  Um, no.  What we did get, however, was towards the end of the meal, a sad, shriveled white lady, who another friend of mine later described as looking “gypsyish” with, admittedly odd hair, walked out through the crowd, not cracking a smile, straight towards what had become the head table, at which the event organizers were sitting.    She had some kind of a discussion which I can only assume was apologetic, then walked back inside.

We were passed out small white plastic plates with 2×2 pieces of pineapple upside-down rum cake that had a sugar glaze (which tasted like straight un-melted sugar).  Disappointing.  It was like bad airline food.  We sat and talked with friends who had been at other tables, then left.  We didn’t even stick around to wait and see where the other 5th course was supposed to be.  Ugh.  And now it’s 12:20, and I have class at 9:00 am.

The best part of the night was meeting a new friend and getting to spend some quality time with friends in Med 1, who I feel like I hardly get to see any more.  It was awesome to catch up and hear their opinions on how Med 1 was going–it was like deja vu.  We decided as much as the food at Miss June’s sucked, we’d all get together and go to the Hermitage for some good gourmet food in a week or so.

“Worst class ever”?

February 15, 2011

Apparently biochem gal thinks we’re the worst class ever.  I will elaborate later, must study for epi exam Thurs.

Update

February 13, 2011

The music stopped, at 4 am. ::shakes head::

Kaplan was incredible.  Only 10 of us showed up, but we sat there and watched all of the CVS lectures in order, back to back, with only an occasional 10-15 minute break.  It just goes to show you, it’s all in explanation.  [Obviously] it was the same material covered in class in the lectures and ppt, but it was organized and explained so much more effectively.  I understood everything the prof said and just drank it in.  I’ve got to find a good time to do Kaplan videos, though.  I tried to do them earlier in the block and just got overwhelmed when I came to material that we hadn’t covered yet.  They’re an excellent review, but gosh, I don’t really like waiting until the weekend before block to learn the material.  Will hypothesize.

Going over to study Genetics and Biochem with a friend in the morning.  Had a revelation when talking to him last night.  Silly me, I know there are a variety of classes required to get into med school, but I need to pay more attention to the biology ones.  I had no idea that you only needed 1-2 basic biology courses to get in–I guess it explains why we have English majors, etc.  He was asking me about biochem and genetics and mentioned that he was really nervous–I was like…why?  So far the classes have been straight review for me; they’ve covered basic, fundamental concepts and techniques in genetics and cell biology.  DUH!

Come to find out, Genetics and cell biology are NOT pre-requisites for MUA!  This poor guy was a non-bio major who had never taken these classes in undergrad–he was learning all this stuff for the first time, meanwhile we were dealing with all that crap in physiology too!  Poor thing.  I apologized, I was so sorry.  I’d unintentionally made him feel like an idiot for not knowing this stuff right off the bat and he’d never seen it before!  I’m going to review with him tomorrow–I can translate the slides into a way that’s easy to understand for him and it’ll be a great way to prepare for the tests for me.  Note to self: quit taking for granted/assuming that everyone else has already had a watered-down version of these classes, too!

I still haven’t gotten to the practice questions for physio.  Ugh.  I came home, had dinner, meant to go for a walk but it looked like it was going to rain, so I went to bed.  I woke up and watched the remaining Fischer Kaplan videos.  My plan for tomorrow (today) is to meet up for biochem and genetics at ~8, study until early afternoon, then spend the rest of the day doing physio practice.  I just want to pass.  Kaplan’s good, but there’s a lot of damage to undo.

Block Weekend

February 12, 2011

3 huge exams Monday.  After several emails from the Med 2 class, the afore-mentioned (see Death post) physio prof has been sacked.  In an attempt to make sure all of Med 2 doesn’t fail the physio exam, we’re optionally showing up to school at 9:00 Saturday (today) to watch 5-6 hours of Kaplan videos.  You know I’ll be there.  Feeling pretty good about biochem and genetics but really, really worried about physio.  It’s gonna be a long weekend, and my neighbor’s been blasting his bassline since 9:00.  ::sigh::

Happy Birthday!

February 9, 2011

Today is my birthday, I celebrated 24 happy years of life at 4:54 pm this afternoon–I was on a nice walk between Brick Kiln and Potworks.

Tonight 12 of us went out to dinner at Indian Summer and ate family style.  So much fun.  Should study, but instead will sleep.  My reward for attending all of my classes today despite my heart’s desire to stay home, sleep, and watch TV.

Love my friends and my family.  They all make life worth living.

Epic Weekend

February 6, 2011

Was it productive?  Absolutely not, but it was sooooo fun!

Yesterday 28 of us went out on a privately-chartered catamaran to celebrate Mastermind’s birthday and it was extraordinary!  I left the house at 8:30 and went to pickup Khaing and then Eddie.  We met Lisa walking down the hill and brought her too, so that Areef would have one less stop.  We met at Sunshine’s down by the 4 Seasons and waited around on the beach.  It started raining :(.  Not sure how it happened but Himaunshu’s car ended up stuck in the sand, so we worked together to get it out.  Finally the boat came and pulled up on the shore so that we could climb aboard.  It was beautiful!

We sailed over to a lovely dive spot by St. Kitts with a sunken ship and everything to go snorkeling for an hour.  It was about 15 feet deep but there were all kinds of fish and sting rays and starfish.  It was Areef’s first time snorkeling but he swam all the way over to the sunken ship wreckage which was really far away!  We had a blast jumping off the boat and swimming.  We came back aboard for lunch–rice and beans, coleslaw, pasta salad, hot dogs with a bbq sauce, chicken with a bbq sauce, rolls, and banana bread.  After lunch we road over to Reggae Beach where we stayed for 3 hours.  Some people rented jet skis while others swam out to a picnic table on a floating barge to play drinking games.  There was even horseback riding!  The water was warm and gorgeous–you could see all the way down.  After the beach, we got back on the boat and took our time sailing back to Nevis.  We landed back at Sunshines and then some when to Oualie Beach while others went to Young’s for dinner.

I got home and collapsed, I was so tired.  I think I slept 14 hours.  I ended up getting sunburnt on my neck, forearms, and calves but overall not too bad.  I’m really sore today from all the swimming, but it was soooo much fun.  I’ve missed swimming.  The pool at the Marriott is nice, but not that deep.  It was nice to be in deep water snorkeling and then at the beach.

Today I caught up on my water.  I usually drink 3 liters per day but I was quite behind–1 L for Thursday, 2 L for Friday, and then I had 6 to drink for yesterday and today.  I’m on my 7th liter right now, but I still have 2 to go.  The Superbowl’s on but the only channel I get it on is ESPN 2 and they don’t show the superbowl commercials–my favorite part.  Physiology quiz’s tomorrow so I’ve got to go study!

Catching up

February 4, 2011

Not much to tell.  Have spent the past few days  pretty ho-hum: school, home, nap, work, nap, school again.  Have completely given up on current physio prof–sit in class working on notes, not paying attention at all.  Daily he’ll have to stop in the middle of some explanation and say “sorry” and then re-explain it the correct way–so sick of learning wrong material that it’s not worth my time taking notes.  I read the powerpoints, read Guyton, then read Costanzo and just cut him out of the picture.

Biochem’s moving along at a breakneck pace.  We were taught the electron transport chain in under an hour yesterday, but somehow the way assoc. biochem gal conducts her lecture with active participation required, I learned it!  She’s awesome.  I’ve never met a more down to Earth biochemist–usually they’re these stuffy scientific people who sit in labs learning all these crazy pathways and discovering molecules and stuff, but she’s so elementary in her approach–she takes a slide set and condenses it down to the most basic essentials then finds the easiest way to remember them and drills them into your head, 2 hours at a time.  I don’t think I could put together coherent sentences when I went to lunch after class, but I damn sure knew the steps of the electron transport chain.  She’s a good one.

Despite the success of biochem, Epi is still my new favorite class.  Basically, 2 afternoons a week, I get 2 hours of study hall.  It’s unsupervised study hall, so I have to turn up my iPod really loud to be able to concentrate (as I found out today, reading is out of the question–requires too much concentration) BUT I get so many lectures worth of notes done!  EBM guy starts a Kaplan video then goes next door to teach the Med 3’s, so we can pretty much do what we want.  Given that he’s told us that 90% of our tested material will come from the Saba prof’s lectures, it’s not really to your advantage to pay attention to the videos (they look like they’re from the early 2000’s and pretty dull), especially when everyone else around you is talking and having a good time.

Must get to work on notes, ta ta.