Saturday, February 23, 2013

"I'll Give You My Kidney"


Wife: "Honey, if you ever lose a kidney, I'll give you one of mine."

Me: "Wow, that's really selfless of you!"

Wife: "Wait, no. If you lose BOTH your kidneys I'll give you one of mine. Otherwise, you'd get two and I'd only have one!!"

Nice.

This week:

Monday: 105-minute Physiology exam on Urinary / Integumentary Systems + 2 lectures and a student council meeting

Tuesday: Three lectures and insane cramming for Wednesday.

Wednesday: 2.5 hour Epidemiology Exam = 30 questions worth 2/3 of my whole grade in the class.

Thursday: Two-hour ICC lecture on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis + 1 lecture and insane cramming for Friday.

Friday: 90-minute Bacteriology exam + 2 lectures followed by having tons of fun with Wife, followed by frantic packing for Saturday.

Saturday: Leaving for Costa Rica at 6:00am.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Powering Through February

February has been the fastest-paced month of med school so far. I have never gotten this much information dumped at me in my entire life. How to describe it without using a cliche analogy... Hmm...

It is both daunting and exhilarating. It's terrifying and incredible how much knowledge can be packed into a brain in a short period of time. I've thought before that my brain is like a sponge, but never more so than in the past two weeks. Today marks the half-way point, and so far I'm doing well. Far better than I ever thought was possible - especially after the way last semester started out.

I've discovered what it really is to be disciplined. Not just putting in the hours - I've done that before - but putting in focused, productive, uninterrupted hours. I have never studied with the ferocious intensity of the past few weeks, and the awesome thing is that I don't feel myself burning out. I have been staying encouraged, despite constantly feeling like I'm clawing my way up the side of a never-ending mountain. Oh crap, there's a cliche analogy that crept its way in... Oh well, at least it feels like clawing my way up the mountain, not tumbling down it, hey?

Today we had our first Neuroscience exam. It was online and open book (THANK GOODNESS IT WAS OPEN BOOK), 40 minutes for 30 questions, one question at a time with no ability to review a question after clicking "submit" and moving on to the next one. It had a couple of tricky ones, but I think I did well. I have yet to get a 100% on anything, but I'm really hoping to change that this semester...

This past week, we only had two exams - the other was Physiology (Reproductive System) on Monday. This coming Monday we have a Clinical Skills written exam that is supposed to cover everything we've learned in this semester and last semester so far combined. I have absolutely no clue how I'm going to study for it. I might not. We'll see.

Wednesday is our first Neuroanatomy Lab exam, which is supposed to be MUCH more student-friendly than last semester's exams were. We have something like 20 questions to be completed in 20 minutes, and we get a word bank of all of the objectives. It's supposed to be a "spelling aid," but it's really insurance against brain failure if you just can't remember what that thing was called but you know it started with "teg..."

Thursday has our first Bacteriology quiz, and Friday we have our second Neuroscience exam. That's right - that's a week from today, our first Neuroscience exam. After that, the following week has three exams (Physiology, Epidemiology Final, and Bacteriology) spread out over Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And 13 hours of lecture, which really isn't that bad, given that a normal week has about 20 hours. Saturday morning (two weeks from tomorrow!), I'll be jetting off to sunny Costa Rica for a week-long elective course entitled "CHM Broadening Perspectives on Health Care." It should be AWESOME, and I'm a student leader to boot.

There are so many things I'd like to write about, but it feels like every time I cut myself enough slack to get on here and write, all I can get to is an update about exams and classes... For example, Wife and I just recently found a house that we're going to rent, which is awesome! While I've enjoyed (truly, I have...) studying in the Medbunker, I'm ready to be living with Wife again in a place of our own. I've also recently started using an alarm that wakes you up with light and the sound of chirping birds. It's pretty awesome, so I'd like to write a review about it, but that takes time. I'd also like to write a review for the Rain Design mStand laptop stand that Wife got me for Christmas, as I've been loving it even more than my alarm clock. Add to that the app that tracks your movement as a measurement of the deepness of your sleep cycles, and I feel like a well-rested sleep specialist. On top of that, Wife recently finished a quilt for me that I'm currently using as a gigantic cape-blanket. Life seems to be flying by at a blinding pace, and I'm having a hard time finding the time / motivation to put it all down in blog form!

For right now, I'm going to focus on the 23 hours (literally) of material/notes from lectures that I've watched that I'd like to review (SO not going to happen, but I can dream, right?) this weekend. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

If I Could Buy Anything Under $1,000...

You know you're a nerd awesome when the answer to that question is the Omano OM157 Semi Plan Compound Microscope with Trinocular and 10MP Microscope Camera:


Not only that, but you spend your break time in between study sessions researching microscopes, wondering how you might save up that much money while going through med school... Not to mention convincing Wife to let you buy it...

It's not much of a secret that simulated lab times aren't my favorite things in the world - especially when we're just looking at digitized specimens of pre-prepared slides. It's another thing entirely when I can scrape a sample off of my own personal Waldeyer's Ring, slap the slime onto a slide and look at what microscopic critters are killing time around my epiglottis. While the above picture doesn't have the camera attached as shown, that would be the icing on the cake - to be able to take a picture of the microscopic stuff that I might find - say, in a swab off of Wife's nasal mucosa in the middle of a sinus infection - and toss a picture or video of the proliferating bacteria up on here for you all to enjoy. Now, wouldn't that be fun?

Ah well, maybe someday... For now, it's back to the grind of the Reproductive System. Friday was the last Immunology Exam (check out my wicked awesome Immunology Tables) I know what you're all thinking, so I'll just say it out loud: Hooray, Leydig Cells! Right? Right?

Right.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crazy Snow, Hell Month, Best Big Sib Ever

This is my nephew (on Wife's side of the fam) walking through the recent foot+ of snow we've gotten.
How's THAT for cute?
For those of you that don't know, for those here at MSU CHM February doesn't just contain Valentine's Day. It also contains Exam Hell. This means exams up the wazoo, and no joke. To give you some perspective, in the first month of classes we've spent about 80 hours in lecture and have had only 4 exams and two quizzes. Not too bad. In the next month (February = Hell Month) we will have eight lecture exams, a neuroanatomy lab exam, and an online quiz in Microbiology. At one point during the next four weeks, we will have four exams in seven days - WHILE having new lecture material dumped at us each day. And the day after the fourth of those four exams, I will get on a plane and fly to Costa Rica for my Spring Break voluntary study abroad experience. Getting pumped, right?

Wrong.

Well, not entirely wrong, but still getting waaaaaay stressed out. This is a lot of work. I don't think I've ever studied as much as I'm planning on studying these next few weeks. Posting has been sparse lately, as I've kicked it into high gear this semester in an effort to perform to my absolute fullest. It is showing in my grades so far, which I honestly never thought could be this high. I still have this nervous feeling that it has all been a fluke so far, and the next exam is going to kill me, but so far my study strategy (which essentially equals reading the coursepacks until my eyes bleed while making table after table after table and washing it all down with 8,293,812 practice questions) has been working well for me. That, and the awesome time I've spent with Wife lately. She came back to school with me this past weekend, and I made the 1hour+ round trip to bring her back this afternoon. No good, that.

The unexpected answer to getting stressed out?

The Best Big Sib Ever.

MSU CHM has a "Big Sibling" program, which I signed up for at the beginning of the year. Basically, they match you up with an M2 (second year student) to show you the ropes. I requested to have my cousin's wife Bekah as my big sib, and has she ever come through for me! I got a message on Facebook to check my mailbox, and what did I find? This awesome, cheerful yellow envelope filling up some of the empty space that plagues my box! Here's what was inside:


Tonight just got better...

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