Slow Down

A fourth year told me this as I was leaving the library yesterday, “Ease off the pedal man, you’re going to need th gas for later.”While he may not know about the two weeks of hell coming up on the horizon, he certainly had a point. As a matter of fact, many of the people surrounding me have a point: don’t burn out.

While eager to keep up with the material and at times get ahead, I feel unnecessary worry holds me back from enjoying myself. Especially this semester. I’ve already gotten the gold, so why do I need to finish with flying colors? It wouldn’t be good to get a C in any of my classes, but to maintain a B wouldn’t kill me. I think my biggest fear though is regressing back to my college days where a B was as good as an A – leading me into the post-college purgatory I only recently became free of.

Last night I had dinner with a friend who is still waiting on news if she’s been accepted or not. At one point she let a tear slip, but was able to hold things together pretty well. It left me feeling very fortunate about my faith, but really hoping that she heard some good news by summer.

My physiology test next week puts me in an interesting situation. Getting a 100 is the only way to make an A. To maintain a B, I can’t get lower than a 42. The numbers might just make me focus on anatomy where a similar situation exists, only its a 96 vs. 76. Pharmacology starts week after next.



Limited Seating

Leaving in the middle of class to catch a break on the couch in a neighboring lounge I ran into a small group of classmates. The conversation was not at all hushed, but was far enough away from the doors as not to leak into the lecture hall.

Student 1: “Saturated man. That’s what they said.”

Student 2: “Saturated? Who?”

Student 1: “S—-. S—- said it. So you know its true. Man, I’m going into a meeting with Admissions to see what’s up.”

Student 3: “I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t Admissions just tell us? Why do we find out stuff like this through a focus meeting? Not even an e-mail? There’s got to be at least half of us still pushing for school next year and we’re competing for seats not even available anymore?”

Student 2: “That’s fucked up man. I bet they think we’d just give up and the program will deflate if we actually knew.”

Student 1: “I’ll let you know what Admissions says. Man, I can’t believe this. They were saying that we’re all good candidates, but that there’s just not enough room…”

The thing that sealed it was the name Student 1 said. The name said it all. As one of the faculty that consistently supported and encouraged out class with phrases like “when you’re in medical school next year,” or “you’ll see this again next year,” if he said something so definite then it had to be true.

I imagine it’s hard to decide from an Admissions stand point who gets in and who doesn’t. Certain things are easy to qualify like MCAT scores and GPA’s, but while these are good indicators of academic prowess they do little to show ability to function as a dynamic social-medical component. But I get it – it’s a matter of risk.

It all seems quiet smoke and mirrors to me though. Why not just be more upfront so at least 70 people can figure out how they’re going to rearrange their lives next year? Maybe it’ll all make more sense in the next couple weeks.

The Science of Study

Basic formula.

Finish class. Review yesterday’s key words and material. Lunch. Gym/Second Class. Review current days material, make key words. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Test.

Score on test: < B, unacceptable.

Revised formula.

Depth. Everything with depth. Don’t move ahead on key words without strong grasp. Look for practice problems in Board Review books.

Score on test: TBA

Dear Dad

My days continue to pass with little unseen stress in the world of academia. Although tests take their place among my Google Calender like mini-obelisks vying for my attention, my mind remains hard to restrain from other tasks. This week all I thought of was my dad.

An outpatient surgery is really quite minor in the grand scheme of things. My father’s eyes have constantly been an issue so it wasn’t a surprise when I first heard he needed some work done. Despite my outer confidence though, a deep fear nestled itself in my chest. I have a great deal of trust in the medical system if you play the cards right, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my moments.

Seeing my dad in a hospital gown is not an image I care to remember. Minor as the surgery was, it was just so distasteful to my senses to see the man (and machine) that was my father in any sort of weakness or distress. The man rarely gets sick and rarely takes holidays. His work ethic is solid and I am convinced that when he puts his mind to something he’s unstoppable.

But seeing him in that gown planted an unsettling seed. He’s not as unstoppable as I’d like to believe.  Watching my mother, her arms folded and holding sentry over him, only sent my heart higher up my throat.

This is such a cliche post, but made me think about what nearly every son has to go through at one point or another. When he stopped wrestling with me while I was growing up I felt I was finally strong enough to be his son. Now, seeing him in that gown made me doubt if I’ll ever be strong enough to take care of him in the future.

Mutual Friends

The ice days really screwed up our schedule, but I think some good came out of it. Although Histology is still on Friday, the CardioPhys test got moved to Monday – giving a full weekend to go over the lectures for actual absorption. If I can finish the tenth and last lecture today and get started on memorization for the early lectures then I can call the day productive.

An e-mail just got sent out about a Facebook group for our incoming medical class. I’ll get around to joining eventually, but as we start in July I feel like I’m putting the carriage before the horse. I share the same sentiment with friending people I have yet to meet. What if  I shouldn’t be your friend? What if you shouldn’t be my friend?

At the center of the feeling though is a sliver of disappointment as I read through the list of fresh faces. Under the “mutual friends” category I’m able to make out who will be joining me from my Masters program. While I’m certainly excited for my fellow MedSci’s that are already listed, I think about those close to me who await their fates. Last semester was a personal hell for so many people and will continue to be until May.

It’s just not a great mix of feelings as I read the posts of my future classmates and see the struggles of my current ones.

No Parasympathy

After four snow days the first day back is kind of a hassle. Never mind I missed the one question quiz that all but pointed to the answer but most importantly I missed my morning shower in my effort to get here. Of course, had I known it was a one question quiz I wouldn’t have jumped through such a flaming hoop. One question? That’s nothing. Dry skin? That’s itchy – and that’s a problem.

The revised schedule sent out has crammed many of our classes together, but I still think its all manageable. The Cardiovascular test is this Friday no matter what, and the GI Histology got moved to Wednesday (it’s been moved four times). I can’t fault the administration too much, but the quiz this morning seemed unnecessary.

It felt like a tiny yet noticeable slap in the face.

Maybe I care about it more than I let on. It could also be the dry skin talking.

Information Flow

The flow of information in academia is a peculiar thing. Although the profession we are preparing for has its fair share of competition, it should not take away from the significantly more important goal for people work together when it is to everyone’s mutual benefit.

Often times a student will make a study guide and choose to keep it to themselves. This is perfectly within their rights and even advisable if the guide is in any way a summation of the material or brief snippets of the information. The summary and briefings are a subjective idea of what is high yield information worth knowing. However when you make something comprehensive is when you get into a dilemma.

This is because an additional comprehensive resource could be the tipping point for others to grasp the material, understand it better, and become better trained for their future careers. That last point might be over dramatic, but it holds traces of the truth. When something can stand as a source for study on its own the responsible thing to do is to share it.

Of course, there are places where competition can triumph over compassion for your classmates.

Another snow day spent whittling away at Physiology. Hopefully the gym and a quick exodus to the grocery store are in my future.