Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 1362: Saturday Free Clinic

While trying to maintain posting-momentum, I wanted to write about my experience at the Saturday Free Clinic last week.

In case you all don't remember, I did not get the position to be a manager of the Saturday Free Clinic. At first I felt fine about it. Then angry. And then it all quelled and I had bigger things to focus on (like staying in medical school, haha). Anyway, after that awful week of exams, I had clinic the Saturday after. And this is how it went...

Usually first-year medical students get paired with a second-year medical student. The first year (aka M1) does the interview (hi, what brings you in today? etc etc). The second year (aka M2) performs the physical. An M3/M4 does everything again. Then the three students present to an actual physician, who then goes in to actually see the patient and address whatever issues the patient has. Most M1/M2 pairs see two patients a day.

Well! There were too many M1s so I volunteered to go by myself! You've all met me. I like nothing more than embarrassing myself and my father has slowly engrained in me that whatever I don't know, it's okay! I don't have to know everything. I can't tell the patient that of course, haha, but I can tell them I will confer with the doctor (which always seems to put them at ease). Long story short, I was by myself (and was awesome, duh) and saw three patients! I got lucky because my patients weren't very difficult (back pain, a physical and some bodily malfunctions (mainly a cough) that I wasn't uncomfortable with).

The entire experience reinvigorated my desire to stay here. It gets hard when you know the material and then your exam score doesn't demonstrate that. But being in a clinical setting showed me how great I am with patients and as long as I can stay afloat, I'm going to be a great doctor. Yay for joyful posts!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 1361: Drastic changes II

Why hello again.

Three substantial posts in a row? My word, what is becoming of me. Anyway, what I am about to tell you is a wee bit complicated but I will do my best to use my broadcast journalism skills to break it down for you. (I may include charts/diagrams/if I can get it together.)

Next year, my medical school is implementing a new program for all of its incoming students. Since this new program has been in the works for x amount of years, next year's class has its curriculum completely in place (aka no changes will be made to their curriculum, end of story). As a result, my class will suffer.

(How will you suffer Jess?)

Well, thank you for asking. Next year, the most important classes are pathology (how and why the body gets sick/unwell) and pharmacology (what drugs we give you to make you better). These two, in addition to this year's physiology, are the three most tested subjects on my board exams. The normal program is as follows:
  • Pathology: taken both fall and spring semesters (the entire academic year)
  • Pharmacology: taken in the spring semester, with a cumulative exam -- which keeps all the material fresh before we take our boards in the summer
What they are doing next year is: having the first years take some pharmacology in the spring, which means we have no professors to teach the second years (me!) pharmacology. The things people have suggested as ways to compensate are not great, and what it basically means (no matter the solution they choose) is that I will not have pharmacology fresh in my mind by June/July (when I will take my board exams). I will have to review physiology and pharmacology, instead of just physiology. I am unhappy about this, as I am sure you can imagine. There isn't anything I can really do since the academic deans have expressed that there is no way they will change the first-year-students'-curriculum.

Oy. Like I wasn't already screwed for boards anyway. Thank you my darling little medical school for making it even harder for me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 1360: Drastic changes I

Hello hello.

In comparison to my fairly regular daily posts of January, I am obviously way off the mark for February. Nevertheless, I am realizing that perhaps substance over quantity is important. But who doesn't like picture posts? They break up the monotony of text text text.

Anyway, as I described last week, my performance on exams last week was poor. It made me very unhappy and honestly made me doubt myself more than necessary. I worried I didn't belong in medical school and I could not figure out for the life of me what I was doing wrong.

Well. Let me tell you something. I went to bed very early Sunday night, due to a headache and general lack of sleep the previous week. I woke up at 6:45am to attend class. Whoa. Apparently, when you sleep well, you not only stay awake through four hours of nonstop class, but you actually learn something. Monday was a very eye-opening day for me. I have been to lecture every day (well, except yesterday but I had a good reason for skipping, promise; AND I even watched last year's lectures early to make up for the lectures I would be missing yesterday) and it has been surprising how a) easy it is to wake up early, b) how much I listen and learn in class, and c) how much more professors get to know me (which I know will make my mother tres happy).

Overall, I feel like this new strategy will give me the support/boost I need to reaffirm my place here. Struggles are a part of life and I need to remember I can not only overcome this, but I will dominate it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 1353: Deserved suffering

Okay, so I know some people will yell at me for blogging at all this week. But I have to get this out.

I have had two exams so far this week. The first one was okay (but I still did poorly) and the physiology exam yesterday was awful. A pie full of 'aw', awful. While walking to one of the hospital cafeterias this morning at 4:17am (I am not kidding), I realized something. I have been coasting in medical school. I sit on the internet half the day perusing fashion blogs, following pop culture, sometimes-shopping-sometimes-not, looking at stocks to invest in, and anything else that involves procrastinating. I think I have been waiting for medical school to get easy. Or interesting. It is certainly not getting any easier and I am discovering that my interest is in the big picture of medicine and not the teeny-tiny details these people are obsessed with. But. I realized I can't play by my rules, I have to play by theirs (and by theirs I mean all of medical school, everywhere).

So. Because I royally screwed up this week (don't worry mom and dad, it's nothing I can't fix. This is something very fixable), I am earning my A on my cell tissue biology test tomorrow. I stayed at school last night. I think I fell asleep from 1am to ...3:45? in a little chair in one of the 24-hour-study-rooms. I'm not actually sure when I woke up. I wasn't planning on staying so I have no food with me, hence the cafeteria run at 4:17am (which, by the way, they were closed! The ONE hour they are closed and, of course, I walk the five minutes to get there. I went back at 5:17am to eat an omelet and toast. HEAVEN.)

I am going to finish learning the other half of lectures by 7:30am (even with this blog post). I am going to finish learning everything by 11am note: I will finish everything by...12:30ish. I fell asleep. Which is probably good since I was doing this:

Courtesy of a Google search.
In case it doesn't animate, click on the image to see what I was doing.

It's okay. I am feeling good so far. The plan is still the same for the rest of the day--review, I am going to review all freaking day...realistically until 3 or 4pm. Which is when I will go to the gym, finally go home, pay my rent, shower, and actually feel prepared for the exam tomorrow.

I am very upset that this week has not gone how I want. However, if anything is to be gained from this sh!t show, it is that I made these mistakes early this semester so that I still have three more blocks/exams to bring everything back to where it needs it be and to feel like I may finally have a handle on medical school.