Post Block 1

January 28, 2012

I think I owe you all an update on how things have been going.  We flew through the last week of block 1–I say “flew” sarcastically as there doesn’t seem to be anything swift about Med 5, aside from our breaks and the rate at which our free time disappears.  My classmates and I debated about skipping the Friday before block weekend because, as we found out last semester, the reviews aren’t particularly helpful, however, unlike my classmates, I wussed out and went to all classes on Friday.  BTW, aside from ICM, the reviews were useless.  On block weekend proper, I found myself back in the anatomy lab, studying, as usual because my neighbors decided to have a hootenanny at the loudest volume possible.

It’s interesting having both blocks on Monday.  Med 1 they were split on Monday and Tuesday, Med 2 we had 3 on Monday, Med 3 they were split on Monday and Tuesday and were off by a week, and Med 4 PD had separate from Pharm and Path which were together on Tuesdays.

Go figure, yet another semester path sucked and made me very angry, just like last semester.  No matter how much you study and how many details you memorize, there will always be questions on the test that you can’t get.  They even admitted to putting questions on there from last semester.  It was crap.  They reviewed 10+ questions that less than half the class got right, yet comped us 0 points because clearly we’re the stupid ones who weren’t reading their minds.  I’m still so angry at the head prof and some of the b-s questions that I can’t go review my exam for fear that I’ll say something that’ll get me in trouble.  Ignorance is bliss.  Since then, I’ve been going to class with my head down and listening to headphones the entire time and working on notes without a care in the world what’s going on in lecture.  Apparently many people have started doing this and it bothers the prof quite a lot.  He yelled at a fellow classmate ruthlessly the other day (so I’m told–I wasn’t listening to him) for walking in late and having his headphones in.  Ouch.  Somebody has issues with attention.

ICM was pretty awesome.  It’s another class people are ignoring and treating like PD, but it’s that saving grace class that we were all waiting for that connects the book knowledge we learn in Meds 1-4 with the exam techniques of PD and answers that nagging question of “what would a doctor do?”  It’s powerful and fascinating learning how to put everything together and diagnose and treat patients.  Exam was tough but you know every single question is high yield and a likely situation that you will encounter.  Easily my favorite class this semester.  Look forward to the lab as well as it’s like jeopardy, but not restricted to any particular subject.  We are given detailed patient presentations and vignettes and  quizzed on drugs, exam techniques, lab values, symptoms–it’s like trivia night.

Outside of class, don’t have time for much.  Signed up for a 5k here on Nevis and have been running nightly in the gym to prepare.  Have gotten my 5k time down to 28:41, so I’m pretty satisfied, though will probably end up chatting with friends and walking most of the way.  Have also taken up baking this semester with a friend.  It’s challenging with the limited, cheap kitchen resources we have between us here on the island, but usually ends up being lots of fun and we don’t seem to have a problem finding people to test our products.   Also a great way to relieve path frustration.  Haha.

School is going fine.  I’m trying to be more patient with ICM and Path lecture; this is directly proportional to the amount of sleep I get, so there are days I go straight home, take a nap and then go back for the gym if it’s not too late.  Gym every day is working out fine.  Muaha–pun intended.  Sore but don’t feel so guilty when I eat dessert–fat-free yogurt, handful of unsalted, roasted peanuts, and drizzle of honey.  Still working on drinking 2 liters of water daily; end up playing catch-up some days.  ICM lab is shaping up to be my favorite class–prof is hilarious, interesting, and not wooed by the stupid b-s of my least favorite classmate, who missed the first week of class and was trying to argue a point in Friday’s tutorial that he had NO CLUE about.  Moron.

I’m a whole organ system ahead of the prof in path.  I’m a whole organ system behind the prof in ICM.  Eek.  I know.  Bad Jenn.  But that’s what Sundays are for, in addition to cooking, dishes, laundry and tidying.  ::sigh:: Back to work.

Back on the island

January 9, 2012

The trip down was pretty uneventful.  It was the first time I’d ever made it through Miami and down to Kitts with no one else from my class on the plane.  Loads of other people from school were there and I had my new trusty Christmas present to keep me company (iPad), but still, a little sad.  For the first time ever, since it was a Sunday and we were going to have to wait a considerable amount of time for the next SeaBridge, we took a water taxi over from Reggae Beach to Oualie Beach.  It was very fast and nice.  It’s double the cost of the SeaBridge but I’d almost argue it’s worth it, not having to sit there and wait 30 minutes on the boat to finish loading.

Shockingly both bags made it down with me, even on a full flight to Kitts.  Couldn’t believe it.  Got home to find out that both had been TSA’d but that nothing was broken or missing.  Had many Christmas presents to wrap and distribute, so I got to work with that.  Their recipients were very happy.  Brought back some foodstuffs but nothing like the usual.  Unpacking went quickly.  I could get used to that.

Came home to find that toilet mysteriously ran after flushing, despite no manipulation with the chain or the floating mechanism.  Also that after a water-line burst outside my apartment, I had no water that would come out of my kitchen faucet.  A week later, and my landlady has fixed both issues.  Unfortunately, I was given my power bill and saw that even though I was here for only 6.5 days out of December, my bill was still $450 ECD, meaning either I have a phantom or someone was enjoying my A/C while I was gone.  ::sigh::

I’ve waited a while to post because school started out so crazy, tonight’s the first normal night at home that I’ve felt grounded enough to post without undue malice.  Before I sound whiny and cranky, I must remind you all that last semester, I was in class for 5 hours most days.  This semester, I am in class for 9.  This is an uncomfortable jump for me and most of my classmates, and has thus put us in pretty foul moods for the past week.  Instead of last semester, where we started 4 out of the 5 days at 11:00 am, EVERY day we start at 8:00.  Ugh.  That gets old really quickly.  We sit in ICM lecture where we’re not allowed to work on notes and must pay attention, though without the typical participation like questions and interaction, for an hour and a half without a break.  The prof has gotten in this really bad habit of lecturing from 8:00-9:35, so that we only get a 10-minute break between ICM and our next subject, instead of the earned 15 minute break.  She’ll look at the clock, see that it’s 9:30 but keep talking.  It’s very frustrating after sitting there an hour listening to review when you know you have things you have to do but can’t do them.  ICM the class isn’t that bad–it’s all about interesting clinical strategies–so far, of evaluating chest pain–but, it can be tedious.  There are assignments weekly that are fill-in-the-blank, so they’re not that challenging, but there are quizzes too.  So there’s just enough to do to keep you from slacking off.  I see where the prof is going with these requirements–the class could very easily get lost with path and comp studying–but so far, they have been more of an inconvenience than an eye-opener into clinical practices.  Perhaps I’m judging with too much haste.  Or perhaps it’s just that I’m not the biggest fan of cardio.  Either way, I’ll try to stay optimistic.

Path, in theory, is from 9:45-12:30.  ::reels from pretend stab wound to gut::  This past week, we’ve started off with my favorite lecturer of the same three we had for Path I last semester, and he has finished significantly early each day.  We went ungodly fast the first couple days and I was really, really overwhelmed and thought I’d have serious issues if we actually went for the full 3-ish hours.  After I regained feeling in my writing hand and caught up, I found that if I stayed a lecture ahead, it was much more manageable.  I’m most productive when I’m multi-tasking.  If I sit in class just focusing on lecture, my mind tends to wander, but if faced with a concurrent challenge of working on notes, I thrive.  I tried working on that day’s lecture’s notes the same time as that lecture, but the prof went waaay too fast for that and it was too stressful trying to flip between where I was in the notes and where he was in the notes when I needed to write down something he said.  Now, I have the day’s lecture notes already completed and can flip through them and highlight and annotate, while still working on the next day’s notes at the same time.  I hope I can keep up with it.  Unfortunately, this prof has finished his subject for this block, which means that we get a different prof starting tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to it.  Think happy, calming thoughts for me.

ICM lab has been really interesting.  Apparently because of our record class size, we’re broken down into 4 groups, and with 2 labs/tutorials to do weekly, that means that we only have lab twice a week.  The extra day that we don’t have lab is usually spent in a “workshop” learning new outside material where all of the class is present, but I think I quite like it.  Last week we had a phlebotomy lab that was really fun–learned to stick with butterflies, vacutainers, needled-syringes, and lancets for blood glucose testing.  Something I’ve always watched those around me do at work but have never tried.  This week we’re working on EKGs and chest pain.  Really like the prof–lively and upbeat–AND she let us sign up for the lab groups of our choosing–no more being stuck with the people who are in the alphabet with you.  Really awesome.  I almost don’t mind having a 15-minute lunch for it. 😉

Finally after ICM lab, from 3:00-5:00 we have Kaplan.  Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, our classes have started off in Cardiovascular, so that means hours of the old physio videos that saved my @$$ last-minute back in Med 2 for the physio exams.  They’re played at regular speed and the prof talks so slow, that I just can’t follow him, again, when I have other notes I should be working on.  Up to this point, I’ve completely ignored them and worked on Path and ICM.  I know that can’t last, but I’m trying to decide what to do.  I’d like to watch the videos at 1.5, preferably on my own in a nice quiet place where I can pause and rewind at leisure, but that’s not really conducive to meeting the attendance requirements for the class.  Open for suggestions.