Whew, been a busy week.

When last we spoke, I was getting ready to enjoy my week of relaxing at home.  I caught up on sleep and TV and it was marvelous.  I managed to visit friends and get some necessity shopping done.  We had come home from dinner Friday night to find an unsettling voicemail; my Sunday morning flight from Charlotte to Miami had been canceled because of hurricane Irene.  I was supposed to call them back and reschedule.  In my experience, when your flight is messed up because of the airline, my friends have gotten some pretty cushy amenities like free airline vouchers and free hotels, so I thought this whole rescheduling business would be cake.  Bahahaha.  How little did I know.

I called the number my airline had left, pressed 1 for domestic because my flight from Miami to St. Kitts was fine; it was my flight from Charlotte to Miami that was canceled.  Mistake.  After 10 minutes when my call was answered, the lady looked up my reservations, found out I was ultimately traveling internationally, and transferred me.   She didn’t say where she was transferring me to, and I still don’t know; I stayed on hold for 30 minutes, hung up, and called back only to press 2 this time for international flights.  My call was answered in about 20 minutes.  I gave the new lady my information and she looked up options for me and said that she wouldn’t be able to get me back to the island until after labor day.  I was astonished.  After some haggling and her wanting to unnecessarily send me through Puerto Rico, we collectively decided that if I caught a Sunday morning Greensboro flight instead, I’d still make it to Miami to catch the flight to St. Kitts in time.

So Saturday was rushed.  Even though the change in airport actually gave us more time, my parents were still upset at the last-minute change and hurriedly rushed my packing and were generally grumbly the rest of the evening.  I managed to get everything packed in two suitcases, underweight, and off to Greensboro we headed.  We made good time and were surprised by the airport.  It had all the amenities of CLT but it was quiet, clean, and the staff were very friendly and helpful.  What a great place to fly out of!  We decided that I would see if flights in and out of Greensboro were possible on future occasions.

I ran into classmates in Miami and we walked around for a bit until it was time to board our flight.  It was pretty uneventful.  The flight was late, imagine that, but somehow we made up the time in the air so we arrived on St. Kitts right at 2:00.  No problems with immigration, though they were going through almost all of the bags at Customs so the line was ridiculous.  We managed to catch a taxi to the 3:00 Sea Bridge to Nevis and my mechanic was waiting there with my jeep.  We got all the friends home, showered, then met up for dinner at Indian Summer, followed by drinks at Rumours, before early bed at 9 from exhaustion.

Monday ended up being quite an adventure.  Got together with some friends to run errands before school started–had to get gas, go to the ATM, go to the grocery store [in town], etc. but the first stop was at school to pick up the fall parking pass and gym pass.  Ugh, neither were ready but we did get a chance to sign our registration papers.  As we were walking back to the car, we ran into Dr. M, one of our deans, who asked us if we would come upstairs.  We explained that we had to go to town, but he really needed our help, so we obliged.  We met a couple more friends upstairs who were waiting to go in and speak to the new class about the Mentor program.  We were included in this discussion, which followed with a tour and lunch.   Sweaty and overheated, we ended about an hour later and rode to town to complete our errands.  We had to hurry back home to shower and get ready for the Mentor dinner at 5:00.  We packed Indian Summer and had a blast getting to know the new students from orientation.

The next day was yesterday, the first day of class.  It was very nice not having class until 11:00 and I came into class early with an optimistic hope for the semester.  Don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy, but I was soon disappointed.  First class was PD.  We’d heard about the prof from other profs and were excited, but then our first lecture was really odd.  The prof stood up and lectured through the first introductory lecture; it was pretty cut and dry.  He cracked a few subtle jokes but…hmm…just not what I was expecting based off of what the other profs had told us about him; it’s like they were describing a different person.  Maybe it will get better.  Next was an hour lunch break, followed by 2 hours of path.  The first hour was an introduction and overview by the course director which was informative however not the most exciting lecture.  The next hour was an introductory path lecture by a new prof who was very nervous.  It was pretty bad.  This started to make me nervous–I looked at the schedule and it seems we will have this prof for most of the first block.  Eek.  Maybe it will get better when he gets less nervous?  Immediately following path was 2 hours of pharm.  We dove straight in.  The prof was so into the material that we ended up not getting a break and leaving 20 minutes early.  The material was interesting but again, the lectures just were not engaging.  It was better than path but overall, the semester leaves me wanting more interactive lectures.  I’m so used to sitting in class, paying attention to lecture and having the profs ask me questions that keep me engaged and forced to pay attention and focus on the material.   I’m worried that this semester will be a lot of reading on my own and teaching myself–starting to feel like physio and you all know how I felt about that class.

Also–I think many of us wish the schedule was different.  PD seems to be our “easy” class of the semester and it’s early in the morning, while the afternoons are brutal with 4 straight hours of lackluster lectures talking AT us.  Glad I brought Red Bull.

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Home Sweet Home

August 20, 2011

Can’t believe it but I’ve been home over a week now.  Very excited to wrap up with exams and get back to NC.  The flight from St. Kitts to Miami was pretty uneventful, though I must say that leaving Nevis in the morning and then flying out of St. Kitts in the same day is exhausting; staying at the Marriott the night before and catching a cab to the airport is so much easier and less stressful.  The flight from Miami to Charlotte was annoying because it was continually delayed.  It was great to have a friend from my class flying with me, however, and we had plenty of time to go window shopping in the airport.  The Miami airport is nice.  Finally got home at 3:00 in the morning after Dad picked me up at CLT.

I feel like I dove straight into the fair and am just getting ready to come up for air.  This week has been busy and absolutely consumed with fair activities.  Don’t get me wrong, I like it and I love being an associate board member.  Everyone keeps asking me if I’m ok; they say that I’m taking on a lot of responsibility this year, but it’s still so much easier than med school that it still seems like a vacation to me.  Yes, there is some physical labor involved, but it’s thoughtless.  I love it.  Tonight’s the last night; I’m sorry to see it end, but I feel like there’s still a lot to do here to get ready to head back to Nevis in a week or so.  Wish I had 3 weeks like during December.

So, reflecting on Med 3.  Overall I still think Med 3 wasn’t as bad as Med 2 and a large part of that has to do with how the semester started.  I knew going into Med 3 that a lot of students had problems with it and thought it was the hardest semester they’d had at the school, so I prepared myself for Hell.  I went in with my head down and didn’t let myself get too far behind and ended up starting out with decent grades.  It wasn’t like physio where my block 1 grade was horrible and I spent the rest of the semester trying to catch up and get out of the hole.  I think that counts for a lot.  I had wiggle room in most of my classes (in terms of grades) so if I needed to spend more time studying for certain blocks in other classes, it was available.  It was a lot of information but if you pace yourself and leave yourself plenty of time to review and organize, it’s totally do-able.  Your grades, in most classes, are directly representative of how much time and effort you put into the class and I like that.  If you make bad grades, it’s your fault because you didn’t try hard enough–quite unlike physio where your time seemed to be inversely proportional to your grade.

As to the specific classes:

Micro–Micro involves so much time.  If I had it to do over, I think I would have done what most of the other students did and focus on Kaplan and Micro Made Rediculously Simple rather than the lectures.  I really like the prof, he’s a sweetheart, but the lectures aren’t organized.  They’re charts he’s either made or copied and just aren’t that conducive to learning; just memorization.  Material is frequently repeated and they just don’t have a good layout.  Studying for the shelf, I studied Kaplan and it was a breath of fresh air.  It was the same material presented in the lectures but it was succinct and organized.  It’s damn near impossible to get an A in micro–I think only 3 were given out this semester, so just do the best you can, take your B, and make sure you learn the antibiotics well because that’s the part of this class you’re going to take with you out into practice; not virulence factors.

Immuno–Immuno is a block-and-a-half section of Micro, which is taught by a different professor.  This part of the class is screwy.  I loved immuno, it was my best subject in undergrad and we went into WAAAAY more detail than in this class, yet somehow I ended up making C’s on this professor’s tests.  I HATED the way he taught–it was very hard for me to understand him, he uses the same repetitive phrases “My Dear Friends” and “Look at the Board” over and over again to the point where it made my skin crawl when he used them at the end of the semester.  I ended up skipping the last week of his classes because I had just had enough.  If you can get something useful out of his lectures, more power to you, but I found Kaplan to be more useful.  There were also some classmates who had a book called Immunology Made Rediculously Simple which they seemed to enjoy and find useful.  The Immuno section on the shelf is difficult and the questions are poorly worded.  Just prepare the best you can and be thankful that for most of us, it’s not an every day frequently discussed topic in practice.

Neuro is insane.  There is so much information, but everything you could possibly need to know and loads more are included in class.  Even though this class is only worth 9 credit hours, you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time on this class.  The first block is deceptively simple, but the rest of the blocks are difficult and require at least 2 hours nightly of study plus time on the weekends.  Don’t get behind or you’ll never see the light of day.  As the prof will tell you, it’s tempting to ignore the anatomy chapters and focus only on the clinical chapters but don’t.  I ended up really enjoying neuro–it’s detail-oriented and challenging, just don’t let it take over your time and start slacking on micro.  The information is very important for clinical diagnoses and absolutely worth learning.  Oh, and on a personal note, if you’re someone, like me, who traditionally writes all the lectures out to help you to learn them, it CANNOT BE DONE for this class.  Find a new method.  P.S. You need gloves, scrubs, and masks for neuro lab.  The lab is not graded and you never get questions from it, but when else are you going to have the opportunity to dissect a human brain?

Med Psyc is a class many people whined about this semester.  It’s a class for thinking people who like to people-watch and study how people react.  I’d say the thing it reminded me most of are those personality/morality tests that you take when you go to work in a hospital.  They give you these crazy immoral/socially difficult situations and ask you what the best thing is to do.  If you’re not familiar with American mannerisms and cultural customs, this is difficult.  This makes up the ethical part of the class or the “quote questions” but there is also another component of the class–the psychology section.  This is rediculously simple.  I think the Achilles Heel for most people is that they know the professor from previous classes and they don’t take him seriously.  He’s very laid back in class and will often let you leave early or even cancel class occassionally, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s going to give you a piece of cake test.  The tests are difficult and test every facet of the information, so you have to make sure to go over the powerpoints at least 2-3 times and learn the intricate differences between the disorders.  He’ll stress reading the required textbook to the class but it’s wordy and not necessary.  His powerpoints, while they might seem packed with pictures and occasionally off-topic, are VERY USEFUL and all that you’ll need.  You’ll see many people move to the back of the classroom and put their headphones/earplugs in and work on other subjects but THIS IS BAD; these are the very people who end up with C’s and moan about it.  Just listen and you’ll do fine.

Ethics–The new ethics teacher is back for good and will be teaching the entirity of the class this upcoming semester.  We only had him for 3 or 4 weeks, so I don’t really feel qualified to comment on his teaching methods.  Just know that you need to pay attention to the rules he teaches you about euthanasia and quote questions–they come up on the Med Psyc shelf and I’m told they come up on the Step I.

Triumph

August 10, 2011

Today’s the last day of Med 3.  So excited.  Also so exhausted.  The past week has been a marathon.  If I had to spend another consecutive day with either insurmountable stress or my head buried in books for 20 hours, I might explode.  Silly me, I got all the way into the testing center, signed in and realized that I had no idea what my seating assignment was yesterday, so I had to fight the current of 25 of my anxious peers to get back outside, then go around 40 more to get to the seating chart.

All-in-all, Med 3 was still better than Med 2, but for the 5 extra credit hours, it wasn’t nearly as scary as I expected.  There’s nothing as bad as spending the semester either failing or just barely passing a major core.  Or maybe physio on it’s own just sucked that much.  My grades weren’t as exciting as I would have liked them to be this semester in a couple courses, but I suppose the others made up for them.  Mediocrity is better than C’s, right?

Now to finish packing, go home and enjoy the Drexel Community Fair.

Exams

August 3, 2011

Shelfs are upon us again.  Med Psyc is already over but Friday is Neuro, Tuesday is Micro and Wednesday there’s a Micro test, a Micro lab test, and a Neuro test.  Eew.  Not so much time for blogging, eh?  Will write later, from the USA! (Excited!)

P.S. Down 38 lbs and counting!