Sunday, March 9, 2014

Food, Tests, etc

Another test, another day has passed.  There are so many things I need to do, from the simple and mundane like doing laundry to getting my research proposal done. 

Somehow, I am still feeding myself. 

Green tea layered crepe cake

Gluten-free hazelnut cake 

Red bean dumplings! Nom

Hard to think that I am already 3/4 done with my M1 year.  
I don't know if I will look back on M1 year fondly, ever. 
My grandmother passed away, a good friend passed away after a traffic accident, and my mom had to undergo surgery to remove a suspicious mass (she's fine now) after going back and forth with the stupid insurance company.  
It was hard to stay sane through all that, and still do the things I needed to do.  

And then, to top it all off, when my stress levels before a test reaches an all-time high, I picked fights with the boyfriend and then I felt like a terrible, terrible person.

With time, I think the bitterness will fade.  After talking to a few practicing physicians, I have realized that some of them also hated M1 year for various reasons.  I just hope that the rest of the school year is uneventful.

Though I have to say, I love anatomy dissections.  The GI part was pretty gross, but I like anatomy.  
I'm also one of the few people that enjoy embryology and wish we had more of it.  

I've decided to eschew attending lectures and workshops.  Maybe I picked the wrong study buddies.  As important as it may be to be able to discuss concepts, I just cannot stand studying with other people.  I'm also more relaxed sitting at home, wearing my PJs all day every day.  Maybe it's because I can't stand neurotic med students, or maybe I'm neurotic myself and making myself uncomfortable.  I also save money, because not being on campus means I'm not tempted to buy coffee. 

So, how is life on your end? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


October has been a rough month.  Thank you for the words of support regarding my grandma's passing.

I had a lot on my plate in October, and it didn't help that I was struggling to maintain my self-esteem as a student.  I am wondering if maybe I just need more time to adjust to studying again.  I've been out of school for four years, and maybe I am no longer used to memorizing information as quickly because I am out of practice.  I was very depressed because I only barely passed our first exam, and the only reason I did better during the second exam was because my cadaver lab practical exam score boosted up my total test score significantly.  I really liked dissection though.  I thought it was interesting to see all this variation in different bodies, and even though dissection takes out 3-4 hours of my day, once I find something, I will know it forever.  

I think my physical exam workshop instructor picked up on the fact that I was kind of mopey and offered his time to talk about M1 year and to talk about his current M3/M4 students.  I think I'll take him up on that offer, just to gain some perspective from someone who's been through that experience and now works with students.  

Some things I need to work on: improving my life balance.  I'm fixing my sleep schedule now.  I also need to get off my butt and get back to running, buy a gym membership, or do exercise videos at home.  I may just settle for doing Insanity at home until the rain lets up, then try jogging again before it snows.  I want to buy a gym membership but I'm reluctant to enroll because I'm trying to be frugal.  I'm finding it hard to read ahead of class.  If I'm lucky, I finish one set of reading before one of my classes, but I've never pre-read for all of the next day's classes.  

There have been moments when things are good.  One of my classmates realized that we've been very isolated this past month due to our study habits and went out for hot cocoa one night.  We had our lab practical and multiple choice test on the same day, and I didn't feel like cramming last-minute information into my brain (although I probably should have).  Instead, I made pumpkin pancakes (from a box mix, but still good).  It's hard to make pancakes and eggs on a stainless steel skillet without burning it...but I did it.  I forgot to buy maple syrup, but I had fancy honey and it was just as good, maybe even better than maple syrup.  

Also, it's my first time being in the midwest, so I got to experience a real autumn.

Now all the trees are naked and I track leaves indoors every time I come home.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Medical Monday!

Medical school is killing me.

Last weekend was the trifecta of shitastrophe.  I sprained my ankle, did not do very well on my first exam (but I did pass), and quietly dealt with the passing of my grandmother.  Her funeral service is today, and my mother and I agreed that it was best if I did not go.  I was fortunate enough to have seen her in July before I left for school, when she was still alert.  She was 95, lived long enough to see the first great-granddaughter and saw the first person in the family go off to grad school (me).

I knew, before I left, that my grandmother's health was deteriorating.  I had hoped to visit her next weekend, when I went home to visit the significant other, but it didn't work out that way.  I'm just glad that there was family with her, and that she simply "wanted to sleep."

My mom wanted me to focus on school, and I think my grandmother would probably feel the same, so I'm doing just that and staying here instead of flying home for the service.  The measured insanity of classes, anatomy, and constant studying kept me focused.  Not to mention, standing on one leg for three hours to dissect in anatomy, then getting around to all my classes in crutches, left me physically drained every day.  But there are moments when it's quiet and I'm alone in my apartment at night that I start to feel sad.

For the next test, I need to work on knowledge retention.  For a while, I was outlining certain notes because our lectures were all over the place (the setbacks of an integrated curriculum - or whatever it's called).  I guess it's good for people who like to see the "big picture" of things.  For me, it's hard to switch gears so suddenly, from learning about the uber-teeny (osteocytes, proteoglycans, etcetc) to the big (muscles), even if these topics are related.

What I tried to start doing today was to spend time reviewing subject matter from previous weeks...especially the biochem stuff, because I cannot not remember anything from last week.  Now that my ankle is better, I am spending more time in anatomy to go over the musculoskeletal structures.  I think if I can spend at least an hour or two in the lab daily, quizzing myself/being quizzed/quizzing others, I can spend less time on that at home and more time learning the biochem stuff.

I am tired and my brain hurts.