Recovery

June 30, 2011

Whew.  This block was rough.  Neuro was soul-crushing and then micro didn’t go so hot either.  I’m finishing my second night off–I’ve watched Top Chef Masters and played Bloons Tower Defense 4–oh and made sure to get my 8 hours+ of sleep per night.  It’s nice but it can’t last, and I’m sure I’ll pay for it this weekend.  It was needed though.

I think I just ran out of time–I should have started reviewing much earlier but I was insistent on finishing my neuro notes, which I ended up not being able to finish anyway.  I absolutely refuse to write out neuro notes this block–this is two blocks its bitten me, so not again.

I have to say, I was really sad Tuesday about my disappointing performance on the block exams, but today I feel more frustrated than anything.  Our profs ask questions in class about previous material and I almost always know the answer.  I’m able to recall things from earlier blocks and I was even able to make a connection between neuro and med psyc today, yet if you look at my grades, it doesn’t look like I’ve learned a thing.  The people who make higher grades than me sit there, often not paying attention or with vacant looks on their faces and make little effort to engage with the professors at all.  Again, it’s just frustrating.

Meanwhile, I’ve had drama on facebook to keep me busy today.  I’m going through with the mentor program again because it’s fun and I like to help the incoming students because coming down here to school is such a huge life change.  The way we communicate with most of the new students is via facebook–there’s almost always a new facebook group for each incoming semester, and slowly new students will add into the group and start asking questions and getting to know each other.  Unfortunately it was a new, incoming student who initially created the group and had final say on who could be in the group and who couldn’t.  For some strange reason, one of the administration staff members on the island here, requested to be added to this group.  It’s so inappropriate, there aren’t even words!  This is a social networking website–you don’t mix business with this.  Anyway, the student who had created the group added the staff member, who proceeded to read through all of the posts on the wall and systematically go through and refute and edit any comments we had made that she did not approve of, or considered incorrect.  I was flabbergasted.

The point of the group is for students who are already on the island and who have made mistakes to guide new incoming students on what works and what doesn’t.  The valuemd forums, for example, used to be a great resource, but there is no editing to keep them current, so WE ARE THE ONLY SOURCE OF CURRENT INFORMATION.  For example, while the administration staff member tells everyone in the admission packet that they must have a round trip plane ticket to get through immigration, this just is not true.  The school isn’t organized and forward-thinking enough to post the final exam schedule for the next semester, so you don’t know which day your Med class’s exams will finish until that semester has actually started.  There’s a general calendar posted that says final exams are from the 7th to the 9th, and yes, all final exams for the entire school may be over on the 9th but what if your class finishes on the 7th?  Then you’re stuck sitting here waiting until the 10th for your flight because someone told you that you HAD to buy a round trip ticket and you made a conservative shot in the dark that you’d be done late on the 9th.  I had mentioned on the forum for them to wait until they got down here and could see when their exams would be over to book their return flight as a round trip with the date they were planning on coming back the following semester, and this woman goes right on top of my post and says no that for immigration you MUST have a return ticket for the initial trip down to the island.  THERE ARE NEVER ANY PROBLEMS WITH HAVING A RETURN TICKET!  You show immigration your acceptance letter, they stamp your passport and you move on.

And I’ll be darned if she didn’t do it again!  One of the students was asking about flights.  I recommended that they fly in through St. Kitts after the awful experience I had with them losing my bags (and everyone else’s) on the way to Nevis and riding in that tiny, crappy, LATE flight from St. Marten.  Then the staff member goes right on top of my post and says fly American Airlines from Puerto Rico directly to Nevis.  NO!  I just said not to do that!  They were asking me, not you.  Quit giving them BAD ADVICE!  Argh.

I got fed up and had enough, so I politely posted that I had created a different group, specifically for questions and answers that was run by CURRENT STUDENTS ONLY.  I made this a closed group, so no eavesdropping by the admins.  Ugh, unfortunately I didn’t think to do this until after I had deleted my comments on the wall of the original group, so now the responses are disjointed and there are people asking what I had said originally.  We’ll work it out, somehow.  ::sigh::

Thank goodness this week is almost over, I can’t wait for the weekend when I can finally clean my house and start getting things back in order again.  I miss structure.

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Disappointment

June 27, 2011

Well, Neuro guy wasn’t lying.  It was a “tricky” test that many people probably should have stayed the full time for.   That’s putting it lightly.  The low score I’ve heard so far was a 41, with most people failing.  I’ve heard of a 70, a 72, and some evil kid who made an 88.  Those are the high ones.  Out of a class of 80+.  Ouch.

So Neuro ended up being waaaay more material than I could do in just one weekend day–in fact I counted and studied 23 hours for neuro.  My grade doesn’t reflect it.  Neuro guy won’t talk to anyone, yet he found excuses to traverse the atrium where we were waiting before and after our med psyc test, presumably eavesdropping on us to see what we thought.  I think it’s safe to say we disappointed him.  The later half of the class said that as they were handing in their score sheets and walking out, that he seemed very angry.

I feel like a failure.  I cut back significantly on studying for micro so that I could do well in neuro and hopefully pull my b up to an a because it was so close.  Now I’m going to do bad in micro and neuro.  Ugh.  It’s sickening.  It’s annoying when you disappoint yourself but it’s worse when you know you have/will disappoint your profs.

Meanwhile, I slept 2 hours last night, and I have oh, about 12 hours of micro studying to do before our exam tomorrow at 9 am, so I guess I better get some sleep while I can, eh?  Tomorrow’s another day.

P.S. To the person who wasn’t happy with my previous post, I agree it was a bit rash and I was admittedly stressed and sleep deprived when I authored it, so I removed it; however it doesn’t change the way I feel, that it’s a wasted opportunity they’re throwing away, while students much better than me are here in this less-than-ideal environment at a significant disadvantage when we go out for the match.  And no, it wasn’t a prerequisite and they weren’t planning on specializing.  I asked.

Another block weekend

June 25, 2011

Finally, block 3 we have our first really real, true, content-packed block exams.  No quarter blocks of micro, no having neuro on a different day, this is it.  How do I feel?  Overwhelmed.  I counted last night and we have 1,763 slides we’re responsible for this block.  Eek.

Med psyc was short yesterday and ethics was canceled (we were told Thursday that the old ethics prof is coming back, so I think the current med psyc/ethics prof is washing his hands until then) so I drove home, changed clothes, came back, worked out for an hour, drove back home, showered, ate supper, fixed some slim-fast to go for 4 hours later, grabbed some water & SF Red Bull & Diet Coke, and headed off to the dry lab.  After all that commotion, it was about 6:00, so I settled down and worked until 12:30.  I ended up getting all my studying done for Med Psyc, so now I’ve just got 1,367 slides left for Micro and Neuro.  I was really surprised Med Psyc took that long–last time I was done in maybe 3 hours, max?

I’m concerned about time: that means I’ve got today for micro and tomorrow for neuro.  Ugh, need just one more day.  Now there’s the issue of where to study:

I think now would be a great time to list the pros and cons of the dry lab as I’m currently indecisive of whether I want to study here, at home, or there.

Pros: Dry lab has: free air conditioning, free wide-screen computer use, fast ethernet-internet, generators if power goes out, NOTHING else to distract you so high productivity, gym nearby if you decide you want to work out, people nearby–don’t feel like a hermit, huge dry-erase board to write on if you need to draw something out, big tables with room to spread out–like sitting at a formal desk instead of at my kitchen table.

Cons: Other people can come in and study and they’re loud, bugs, smell, un-comfy seats, crappy bathrooms, if you bring food the fridge is in a different building, in order to park close to the building you have to take the crappy road to the dirt parking lot, tables are cluttered, can get cold after a while if the A/C is going full-blast.

Well that helped.  Guess I’m going to the dry lab.  Think productive thoughts for me.

Yea, so I still haven’t figured out how to study for neuro.

I was all caught up in micro and psyc Friday night, so I had all day Saturday and all day Sunday to work on neuro.  I counted it up and was 397 slides behind, but thought surely I could do 200 slides/day–I’d done more than that in histo!  Yea no.  It’s Monday morning and I’m still 250 slides behind.  WTF?

I paced myself, took breaks, cooked and went to the gym both days, but it’s just like pea soup trying to get through those long, detailed lectures.  Suggestions anyone?

Also, wanted to mention that the Ethics exam was a walk in the park.  It was almost entirely our practice questions that we had submitted with one or two little tweaks here or there in phrasing or answer choices.  Feel silly for freaking out about it, but it was, after all, 40% of our grade.  However, that said, the people who scurry to the back of the room after neuro and work on notes for other classes during Med Psyc and Ethics (instead of paying attention) found the exam particularly difficult.  Hm, wonder why?

P.S. Down 26 pounds and counting!

Next Friday

June 17, 2011

No, not an Ice Cube movie.  Just haven’t been able to find a lot of extra time to write this semester.  Lament.

Another fast week.  Weekend sucked.  There was a Kultur-related parade going on in Brick Kiln, so there was loud music all weekend.  The power was out Friday and Saturday, so I about roasted.  I actually sweated so much that I got dehydrated to the point of dizziness despite drinking 2 liters of water per day.  I gave up and went to school to study in the Anatomy lab when that started happening.  Med 1 and 2 had blocks on Monday and Tuesday.  Physio was brutal (imagine that?).  Biochem/genetics gal is happy with the biochem/genetics scores and is pleased with the class’s response to our TA-ing.  Makes the work worthwhile.

Surprisingly Micro has picked up the pace.  Didn’t think that was possible.  We actually covered 3 different lectures in one day this week.  And he’s been going at a breakneck pace covering between 1 long-2 medium lectures per day.  It’s all I can do to keep up taking notes from 8:20-9:00, then all during micro from 9:00-11:00, and then working when I get home.  So easy to fall behind.  Keeping up in med psyc by taking notes during that class too from 2:00-4:00.  Still can’t pay attention and take notes at the same time during Neuro, so alas I’m chronically behind.  A bunch of kids are going to St. Kitts this weekend, but I’ve GOT to stay home and do some serious neuro catch-up.

Discovered Katy Perry’s new album this week and have since become addicted to E.T. and Last Friday Night (T.G. I. F.).  They’re so poppy and catchy–great to work out to.  I’m ashamed, I’m about 12 years too old for them.  Oh well.

I’m procrastinating, I have an ethics exam in 15.5 hours and I just don’t feel like studying.  Ethics/Med Psyc prof decided to give us an extra credit assignment of writing practice questions–to force us to study the material–and ended up liking the questions we wrote so much that most of our test is the prof’s edited versions of our questions.  Most people have shared their questions with the class, so it’s  on you if you don’t study the questions and do well on the exam.  The test counts for 40% of our grade.  YIKES!

Still going to the gym every other day.  Trying to work on stamina–did 5 miles on the bike in 19:40 the other day.  Tried again day before yesterday and lazily came in at 20:30.  Would like to get it regularly under 20 minutes without having to concentrate.  Fast-paced, beat-heavy Lady Gaga music helps.  Little embarrassing to sit there and jiggle in front of other people, so try to go to gym at odd times in the evening.  Don’t really like going after dark–creepy in the back of the school, not secure.

Weight loss has plateaued.  Ugh.  Went to Indian Summer for buffet to support Med 1–probably responsible.  Went to Rumours afterwards and had a pina colada, definitely responsible.

Drinking slim fast for breakfast, lunch, then eating pita with turkey, lettuce, and yogurt-mayo or spinach salad with 1 oz of herbed goat cheese and raspberry viniagrette for dinner.  Salty apple for late-night snack and to induce more water-drinking if still haven’t finished 2 liters.  (Still drinking 2. liters. of. water. a. day!)  Don’t have much of an appetite for soda anymore–maybe 1 or 2 a week?  Skin looks good.  Taking multi-vitamin with breakfast.  Drinking grapefruit juice after high protein meals.  Supplementing deficient RDA veggie servings with V8.  Probably won’t go out for BBQ chicken this afternoon–really need to study.

If anatomy lab is not occupied by another teacher’s meeting, will camp out and study for a while after gym.  Can’t seem to get work done at home.  Come home, nap, then wake up and play around on youtube and facebook despite long list of waiting neuro lectures.  ::sigh::

Should go study for ethics, now.

TGIF

June 10, 2011

Made it through the week.

Micro test was TOUGH with the average only around a 70 managed to do well–attribute it to studying earlier and leaving enough time to review Microbiology Made Rediculously Simple.

TA session went well, had plenty of questions for practice test.  Block weekend for Med 1 & 2’s now, though.  :/

Curve for Psyc was only 4 pts.  Boo.  Stuck with B.

Still going to gym–down 23 lbs since coming back 5/3.  Slim Fast x2 meals, protein/fruit/veg x1 meal, 2x liters water daily.  Gym for 30 minutes of cardio/5 miles distance between bike and either elliptical or treadmill + round of weights, every other day.

Almost caught up on Micro notes, caught up on Med Psyc notes, have all weekend (which will probably be necessary) to catch up on Neuro notes and write ethics questions.  Hopefully can take 1/2 day off Sunday.

Really need to do laundry, crossing fingers for no rain.  And no power outages (knocks fervently on wood).

Water cut off in shower today.  No hot water, so taking cold showers in first place, now no water.  What gives?

Booked plane ticket home 8/11-8/28.  Spending Wednesday night in St. Kitts with friends.  WOOT!

Getting ready to go out for BBQ chicken then study.

Is it Tuesday yet?

June 6, 2011

Whew,

Glad that’s over.  Neuro was REALLY tough, but I thought overall he asked fair questions that were clinically relevant.  We ended up, however, getting a 15 point curve and still having a really wide distribution of grades with a STD DEV>11, so most of my buddies did well.

Med psyc–I never know what goes wrong on those tests–I’m relatively confident about the material; the questions, while annoying at times, seem answerable and mostly correct, but then I click submit and the grade I receive just isn’t representative of how well I thought I knew the material.  Granted, we haven’t heard yet if we’ll receive a curve, but I just thought I knew the material better than just at a B level.

Truly melancholy.  Happy about neuro, sad about med psyc.  But I must be moving on.  It’s a new block for both of them and I still have this elephant in the room that is my looming micro exam tomorrow morning that I must finish prepping for.

As much as I’d like to stop and take a break and sleep for a couple days, tomorrow’s a gym day for me, I still have to stay and go through neuro and med-psyc after the micro test and get started on the new block’s material.  Also there’s mock questions to write for the kids in biochem and genetics.  A full week, no time to stop.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  I made the mistake of putting off neuro lecture notes in studying for the micro exam (which I ended up only doing mediocre on) so I’ve been in catch-up mode ever since.  Don’t think I’m going to make it, still 2.5 chapters left, however that equates to roughly 284 packed slides that I just don’t have time to write out.  I’m sitting here trying to make a game plan as to how I want to schedule damage control and make study notes for the missing chapters that I only know from what I remember in class.

Surprisingly, with only 1.5 weeks of material, I feel pretty good about micro this block.  And I kept up with Med Psyc too, so they shouldn’t be bad, but supposedly this neuro block is one of the worst in basic sciences.  I feel generally familiar with most of the material but there’s just soooo many details and clinical aspects and diseases and pathways and decussations.

The power went out Friday night for a while at 2 am-ish when I was giving up sleep to stay up and study (working on Neuro).  I was afraid my laptop battery might give out but it lasted long enough for the power to come back on.  Then after going to bed last night at 3:00 (after staying at school until 2:15 working on micro and psyc), I woke up at 8:45 to hear the click of my A/C unit turning off–you guessed it–power’s out again.  I still had 15 luxurious minutes of sleep scheduled, so I laid there under my sheet, feeling my room lose its coolness.  I must have dozed off.  I woke back up at 9:45 covered in sweat, the room already up in the high 70s.  With the power still off, I knew I couldn’t stay home and study.  I used some of my storm-supply water to brush my teeth, threw on some clothes, and made 3 meals to bring to school with me, anticipating another 16 hour day of study.

I’ve been in the anatomy dry lab studying with the A/C full blast for a while now.  It’s nice and cool but there’s the random non-med 3 kids in here who don’t have blocks tomorrow and are eating stuff that smells horrible and talking and watching movies.  I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that there’s no way I can finish the remaining neuro chapters, and thus don’t really want to sit here and smell the fishy stuff they’re eating anymore, but it would be heart-breaking to go home to find that the power’s not back on.  Surely, after 4 hours…