Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Horrible Day

Yesterday was a horrible, horrible day in terms of studying. I didn't get anywhere near how much I wanted to get done. I went into lab with a couple friends in the morning. Lab just opened Sunday so I haven't been able to see pelvis/perineum yet. It was a horrible waste of time. And there were no professors or tutors in the lab to help out either. Whatever.

My roommate and I have this tactic where we both leave our rooms at approx 8am to study in one of the study spaces. We don't really study together, but we kinda sit together. It's been great except, I think I'm becoming more efficient at night - which results to late nights -> harder to wake up in the morning -> really inefficient all morning until evening time. And the cycle continues. I don't know if I should just try to get a good night's sleep or continue on this viscous cycle.

Anyways, here are my stats from yesterday:
Lectures: Only watched 1
Hours studying: 2.5 (which includes my lab prep, attending one review session, and half the time for my time in the lab).

Hoping for better studying tonight!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Studying for the Future

Ever since I've entered medical school, my definition of "future" has changed from dreaming about 10 years, 5 years, or even a couple years down the road to my plan for the week or even just tomorrow. I've also been tackling how to study. I think I've got a good rhythm for biochemistry and histology, but my biggest fear is with anatomy. I don't think I really understand exactly how to study with that.

Anyways, while I do agree that studying should be done smartly, that is quality over quantity, I think there really is a minimum number of hours that a student should put in each day until things start making sense, clicking, or just sticking to long-term/short-term memory. Around midterms time, I spent an entire day going over the nucleic acids in biochemistry. I also kept a stopwatch going of how long I'm actually studying. If I got up, went to the bathroom, drank water, printed notes, etc I would stop the stopwatch. So the time on that truly indicated how much I was sitting, actively studying the material. At the end of the day (around dinner time) I looked to see what it read. I don't quite remember exactly what it said it but it was somewhere between 4 - 5 hours. THAT's IT?!? I just spent the ENTIRE day when there's 8 hours that I thought I was studying! I only really studied for half that time!

That's when I realized that I am NOT putting in the time that I think I am. So ever since midterms completed, I've been timing myself while studying. For attending review groups - I give myself credit for half the time spent. I.e. if a review group is an hour long, I'll add 30 minutes to my studying time. The past couple of weeks have been a little embarrassing in regards to how much time I'm putting into studying.

Yesterday, I decided to do the timer tactic instead of the stopwatch. It worked SO much better! Maybe because it gave me something to look forward to..? Right now, I've been doing reps of 30 minute time intervals and then giving myself a 5-10 minute break between reps. I didn't exactly start doing this earlier in the day, but it ended up going okay. As I increase my stamina, I really want to increase my rep interval to 45 minutes. Hopefully soon, but that's not on my immediate goal list. In addition, I will be logging my studying hours here - so I feel ashamed if I wasn't productive. You guys will keep me accountable, right?! :)

  • Attended 2, 1-hour review groups (total 1 hour studying)
  • Studied for 5 hours
  • Total studying: 6 hours!
I don't necessarily think 6 hours is a bad number, but since it was a weekend, it should have been higher. In addition to studying, I attended dance practice for an hour and did my laundry. So, I'm content.

Plan for Today:
We randomly have a day off today, so my plan is to visit the anatomy lab for an hour or two and orient myself with the pelvis/perineum. We started lower limb on Friday and finish it on Thursday of this week. That's a total of 6 lectures! I really want to watch all 6 lectures online today. I know I'm being really ambitious, but I just want to finish them so I can start questions (which is where I actually learn the most). Oh by the way, watching/attending lectures does NOT count on my hours of studying. So here are my goals for the day:
  • Watch 6 lectures of Lower Limb (being really ambitious)
  • Make a general overview of the pathways thus completed in biochemistry
  • Finish pelvis/perineum questions
  • Finish lab cases for tomorrow

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Surviving first semester

It's sad - it's only the first semester of medical school and I'm really worried about just making it. I made it through midterms a couple weeks ago. Right now I'm taking Histology, Biochemistry, and Anatomy. Unfortunately, my medical school is NOT on the block system, nor on the systems approach so I have all these classes at once and it we learn different areas of the body in each class. I'm not complaining, but I wish I had been accepted to a school which was on a block system and had the systems approach - I think I would be doing much better.

Anyways, so midterms happened. Histology was fine. I barely passed Biochemistry. I did NOT pass Anatomy, but if I do well enough on the final for Anatomy, it should be okay. I'm not too worried about the biochemistry final or the histology final, but I'm totally freaked out for the anatomy final. The midterm and final pretty much make up our entire grade, so I I'm really dependent on these two exams to be able to move onto the second semester.

Medical school is stressful enough and I feel like I'm constantly worried if I'll even make it to the second semester. I don't want to be stressed/worried about that. I mean a little fear is fine, it's actually good, it keeps you indulged, motivated, and moving forward. However too much fear is a hindrance. And right now I'm putting myself into the "too much fear" range. I need to get myself out, quick - so I can really prepare well for my final exams.

Wish me good luck!

P.S. I can't believe it will be NOVEMBER next week! WHAT?! Where did 2012 go...?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wanting Companionship

I find it a bit of a paradox that academic lessons strive to teach us to work in groups, teamwork is stronger than working alone, "there is no I in team", etc etc. However, life strives to teach us to be independent. I understand where both statements are coming from, but I find it kind of contradictory how one element tells us, do not be alone, while another tells us, learn to live alone. I understand why life tells us to be independent. But is it so wrong to depend on other people? Is it so wrong to have others depend on us? Is it so wrong to want to be with people?

One of the first things that my Anatomy course director told us at the beginning of the semester, tell your moms, dads, girlfriends, boyfriends, grandparents that you'll speak to them after midterms. Basically insinuating that the course load is too heavy to worry about other relationships. While I have a feeling he didn't literally mean not to contact them in two months, I think it's kind of crazy to cut off relationships because one is in medical school. I do understand that the time devoted to relationships may lessen, but I don't agree with completely cutting them off even for a week. I, for one, call home every single day. Our conversations usually don't last any more than five minutes, but it let's my parents hear my voice and that I'm doing okay. And especially when I'm having a trying day, it's nice to hear loving encouragements to pick myself back up.

I don't think that we as humans are built to be alone and to conquer challenges all by ourselves. Medical school is a stressful environment in itself and I don't think we're meant to tackle it 100% independently. The relationships I have with my study groups are really valuable to my education and the relationships that I have with my family is really valuable to keeping me sane and pushing me to the next level. Times of challenges and rough hurdles is when one needs others more than not, and I don't think tackling such issues alone is the answer.

There is a fine line between being needy and just wanting companionship - and I think the independence factor is more pertinent to knowing that other people aren't always going to be there exactly when you need them or reciprocate exactly how you expect, so learn to handle yourself. But also realize, it's okay to be with others.

Let's see how this goes...

I started medical school in August. It's been an absolute roller coaster of emotions already! The school I'm attending only has a midterm and final that determines your final grade in the class, so you really can't afford to bomb (badly bomb) anything. I finished midterms last week, and that week alone was crazy. I'm glad it's over, though. I didn't do as well as I would have been liked, but it could have gone much, much worse. It's probably something I'll have to work on, how to handle my emotions that is, but for now I'm just glad I'm finished with midterms.

So, my reason to start this blog is a mixture of many things. In my - about two months into medical school - I've found it really difficult to communicate with my friends and classmates about things other than school or immediate happenings. There just doesn't seem to be enough time, nor do I really feel comfortable communicating with people I hardly know of something deeper. I honestly feel really alone. No one to share my random musings throughout the day, no one to talk to. Just sit here with me and my books and my study buddies, which by the way are awesome! I also created this blog as way to procrastinate studying or procrastinate sleeping... you pick :P. 

Let's see how this goes!