26 September 2009

Exam results

Results were returned to us on Wednesday and I passed everything and medical school moves on. Grades are returned as percentages, even though they are officially recorded as Fail, Pass, High Pass and Honors. How that differs from an A/B/C/F system, I'm not really clear. You are not "high pass" compared to everyone else, you're just reaching the high pass standard for grades. With this set of exams I am now halfway through my first courses. Most courses are not cumulative for the next exam, but there were two courses that did not participate which are cumulative. (Of course everything is cumulative in the larger sense because board exams cover everything you were supposed to learn!)

In the grand scheme of things, official "terms" have little meaning because EVERY course I'm in continues into the next term. There is a big turnover after the second term because anatomy (including histology and embryo), physiology and biochem end. I'm not sure what comes after that because all the calendars I've been given only go until February, but I'll deal with those when they show up. Studying carries on, hopefully at a reasonable pace so I can continue my grades.

21 September 2009

Wake up call

All the little details of fixing things around the house and remodeling can sometimes add up to unexpected fun. The house at school is from 1915 and needs a little work, so K's dad was working here last week while I was studying for exams. We've installed nifty smoke/CO detectors which communicate wirelessly so an alarm in the basement causes the detector on the second floor to activate. Pretty handy when your furnace is in the basement, less so when your chimney is under repair. K and dad had unhooked the chimney on Friday to insert a liner, found out the company shorted them 5 feet of liner and left it unhooked awaiting delivery of the missing 5 feet. Liner still hadn't showed up on Wednesday as the weather cooled with a night time low near 40 degrees. Everyone thought someone else had turned the furnace off and nobody had. 0430 rolls around with an ear-piercing "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! Evacuate!" (did I mention the detectors talk?) followed by the same message in Spanish, at something like 90 decibels. My exam wasn't until 10a, but I was pretty well awake after that. I guess that's one way to avoid the dreaded oversleeping an exam.

12 September 2009


My first set of exams is this week, one where I have to demonstrate skills on a patient, a cadaver lab exam, an histology lab exam and then the giant written exam. The written exam will cover didactic material from all the courses (see earlier post for list). This exam is six hours long, two fifteen minute breaks and a half-hour lunch break. I'm currently occupied cramming information into my head to attempt more than 70% recall since that is the pass level.

The amazing thing is the collective level of stress in the class. When I'm home, I feel as though I have a lot to study and not enough hours in the day but that somehow I will get enough to do okay. When I'm in the classroom with 124 other people, most of whom need to be peeled off the ceiling, my anxiety jumps from barely noticeable to overwhelming and I can't hardly get my thoughts in order. I've always been receptive to a collective mood and right now my best survival mechanism is to stay away from anybody who appears stressed or overly anxious. These are also the folks who appear to be getting the least done as they run around the building and consult with everyone else in sight.

Hours fly by when I barely even take note of the time and before I know it, another day is gone and I'm closer to the proving ground for classroom material. My biggest interest lies beyond the classroom though, I'd rather be heading for the proving ground of patient care.

01 September 2009

Things I miss from before med school

1. My husband.
2. Reading things that entertained me and made me laugh in a good way (not in the current "you've GOT to be kidding me" kind of way).
3. Going to the grocery store or Wallyworld or the mall without trying to decide whether I'm going to stay up late or skip on some required reading. Food, underwear and an occasional pair of shoes are necessities.
4. Time to bake cookies.

I'm sure there's lots more, but these are the ones that occur to me at lunch time on my least busy day of the week.