First week of the Second Year

September 15, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and my body has decided that, even though I went to bed at 2 a.m., I should be wide-awake by 8:30 and seize the day! I’m still working on convincing myself that sleep is a priority, but it still happens that, as soon as my eyes open to the flicker of the morning sun – I’m up! Except on days where I have to be up… then it’s a different story.

This past week has been a bit of a whirlwind. I feel like we are always at school with our schedule this semester. One night Jannie and I were complaining about it until we looked at some of the other groups schedules. A little bit of perspective can really change your attitude! Pretty much all of the schedules are horrible and ours is actually one of the better ones.

I wish I could detail the events and my thoughts and feelings of the past several days, but I’m not sure I can remember them well enough. Some things that stand out to me now are: holding brains in anatomy, getting our first introduction to the mammoth class that is physiology, and the unexpected chillness level of our biochem professor.

After studying anatomy for a year and having practicals twice a week, we’ve gotten quite used to the specimens. The dissection room is now a normal part of my life, almost as uneventful as grocery shopping. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the experience, or forget to appreciate that these people donated their bodies to science, it’s that it has become so familiar that it is easy to overlook these concepts. At one point on Wednesday’s lab, I reminded myself of where I was and what I was doing – in fewer words, I became aware. We were 12 students crowded around 4 brains after surviving what was probably one of the most altering and challenging years of our lives. “I’m in a room with brains,” I thought, “just brains. And this is normal.”

Physiology took me for a bit of a joy-ride – and that was just our introductory lab period. I can totally understand now why people forget all their other classes and study only physiology. I’m going to actively work against that, but I understand the temptation. The start of the joy-ride began in the first 5 minutes of the lab. There are about 30 students who failed physiology last year and who are retaking it this year. From year 3, students are allowed to choose their professors and about 6 of these students had chosen to join our group. After everyone was seated in the lab room, the lab coordinator entered and said, “I have bad news. Seven of you will have to leave. I will give you one minute to decide amongst yourselves.” We were all so taken aback that none of us said what was on all our minds – that the people that weren’t actually in our group, the retakers, should go. What happened? They sat there in silence and not one of them volunteered. So, after a minute, the coordinator motioned to the back table and said, “You six. And you.” pointing at me. At that moment, our group was almost perfectly split into two. I had a little moment of immature panic on the way to our new lab. We had heard from so many people that our lab professor was one of the best there was and now we were being ripped away. A little dramatic, but that’s how it felt in the moment – unfair and completely out of our control. Luckily, our new professor was charismatic and competent enough to quell our fears. He is a PH.D. student (I get the impression this is his first time teaching) and he is eager to teach us and explains things thoroughly and slowly enough that we can learn and understand a new topic as he is explaining it. In addition to him, we have two teaching assistants. One is another Ph.D. student who is essentially taking the class with us so that she can teach it next year and the other is a 4th year medical student who was a teaching assistant in anatomy last year (he was even one of my examiners during one of the midterms).

We have three 1,5-hour lectures and one 4-hour lab period a week for physiology. I’d heard that we would have weekly exams, but we had more of a surprise in store. Every Thursday, during our lab period, the three groups in our block will start by taking an exam covering the previous week’s lecture topics. After this, we will have a consultation period of about an hour to discuss the exam and clarify any misunderstandings. We then get a half hour break and head to our individual lab rooms. There we will complete a lab and then, to close out the day, we will have another exam, a lab exam, where we will be tested on our understanding of the theoretical and practical concepts of the lab we just completed. So we will have – not one – but two small exams every Thursday. Our teacher was kind enough to explain the grading system – oh my is it complicated! The gist is that we get bonus points for each exam and the averages of these are calculated (in a complicated string of calculations) into bonus points that are added onto our semi-final and final exams. If anyone is curious about how this works, feel free to check out the department’s Rules and Regulations page.

After our physiology lab, I began to worry that the biochemistry lab would be equally as strict. Our biochemistry professor last year was quite…let’s say laissez faire about pretty much everything and we had yet to meet our new instructor. All of those fears were set aside when he introduced himself during Friday’s lab and said, “I want this lab to be more of a collaboration than a lecture. I am here to help you when you need it but will not control every step of what you do.” He came across as maybe a little too relaxed, but I’m sure it will improve over the semester as we get into more serious labs.

Yesterday was my food-prep/study day. Skjalg and Jannie went to the Norwegian Rebusløp  (a sort of initiation pub-crawl for freshman students where they go to posts at different bars and are made to do a bunch of embarrassing/disgusting/fun tasks). I made plans to stay home but started to regret it in the late afternoon. Between Skjalg, Jannie and Christian (a friend in my group) sending me tempting messages on my phone, I was finding it hard to sit and study. They’d been going since 14:00 in the afternoon (some even from 10:00 in the morning) so I figured they were well on their way and that I should force myself to get some studying done. I ended up sitting with neuroanatomy until 1:00 when Skjalg came home. We spent the rest of the night sitting at the kitchen island and talking about the day’s events while he nibbled on pizza. Even though I got a lot done, I regret not going. It sounded like a lot of fun and it would have been nice to spend time with everyone outside of school – and not talking about school! Hopefully I can join next year.

I’ve taken a lot of pictures over the past two weeks. One thing I like about my “picture posts” is that I get to relive so many different moments from my recent past. Plus, it gives anyone reading this blog a little bit of a view into my daily life – more than what I write about at least.

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Been visiting the market about once a week. I want it to be my Saturday morning ritual to bike there and fill up on fruits and veggies for the week.

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My bounty from last week!

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Perfect route to the market! I can bike there and back in an hour (including shopping time).

I've been cooking a lot! Experimenting with healthy twists using fresh ingredients. This is a sweet potato crust pizza. I added a little tomato sauce, then tons of veggies and chicken and sprinkled with cheddar cheese. Skjalg approved ;)

I’ve been cooking a lot! Experimenting with healthy twists using fresh ingredients. This is a sweet potato crust pizza. I added a little tomato sauce, then tons of veggies and chicken and sprinkled with cheddar cheese. Skjalg approved 😉

Butternut squash fries that Jannie and I made together.

Butternut squash fries that Jannie and I made together.

 

Homemade chocolate protein bars. (Jamie Eason LiveFit recipe)

Homemade chocolate protein bars. (Jamie Eason LiveFit recipe)

I tried my hand at sweet potato gnocchi! I swapped out oat flour for regular flour and I think that kind of ruined the recipe...but they turned out ok!

I tried my hand at sweet potato gnocchi! I swapped out oat flour for regular flour and I think that kind of ruined the recipe…but they turned out ok!

 

Sweet potato frittata - one of my food prep dishes. I've been prepping food for Skjalg and I to have throughout the week (so we can stay healthy and save time). This has a sweet potato "crust". I make a huge one and then cut it up into small pieces that I can grab in the morning before school.

Sweet potato frittata – one of my food prep dishes. I’ve been prepping food for Skjalg and I to have throughout the week (so we can stay healthy and save time). This has a sweet potato “crust”. I make a huge one and then cut it up into small pieces that I can grab in the morning before school.

Shots from Skjalg and my “Castle Day”. We rode our bikes around the city and then headed up to the castle – which we’ve never seen up close before!

Whatsapping with my beautiful, blind mama :) She sent me pics of her new glasses, her motivational dinosaurs and her work inbox - with 238 emails! She was at work on a Saturday and I was at home reviewing neuroanatomy before school started that Monday.

Whatsapping with my beautiful, blind mama 🙂 She sent me pics of her new glasses, her motivational dinosaurs and her work inbox – with 238 emails! She was at work on a Saturday and I was at home reviewing neuroanatomy before school started that Monday.

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One of the motivational pictures of the week

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and another one.

Beautiful morning walk from Corvin to school. I had to stock up on some pens - I love the friction ones but they run out in a week!

Beautiful morning walk from Corvin to school. I had to stock up on some pens – I love the friction ones but they run out in a week!

 

Physiology lecture to close out Friday. You can't tell here but this is the most packed lecture I've ever seen. There must be at least 200 people there for every one. Attendance at other lectures can drop to 10-15 students at the end of the semester...

Physiology lecture to close out Friday. You can’t tell here but this is the most packed lecture I’ve ever seen. There must be at least 200 people there for every one. Attendance at other lectures can drop to 10-15 students at the end of the semester…

 

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Some pretty murals/graffiti on the abandoned building next to school. At least they are medical themed ;)

Some pretty murals/graffiti on the abandoned building next to school. At least they are medical themed 😉

Jannie texted me pictures of the beautiful artwork at Instant, the ruin pub where their Rebusløp post was.

Jannie texted me pictures of the beautiful artwork at Instant, the ruin pub where their Rebusløp post was.

My lonely Saturday night...

My lonely Saturday night…

Charlotte at least reciprocated my awe of the arrangement of the dural sinuses ;)

Charlotte at least reciprocated my awe of the arrangement of the dural sinuses 😉

I've recently started using instagram. I wasn't really interested before, but then I saw that it was a way to keep connected to people like my cousins and little sister (since they are on it and use it regularly). I'm not expecting to post often, but I like the connection I get from it so far. I posted a pic of my study spot last night and tagged it with "neuroanatomy". When I checked to see what other posts were tagged with the same, I got up a bunch of posts by other med students studying neuroanatomy. It's so cool that you can see that other people across the world are  sharing the same experience as you :) Technology is amazing!

I’ve recently started using instagram. I wasn’t really interested before, but then I saw that it was a way to keep connected to people like my cousins and little sister (since they are on it and use it regularly). I’m not expecting to post often, but I like the connection I’ve gotten from it so far. I posted a pic of my study spot last night and tagged it with “neuroanatomy”. This morning, when I checked to see what other posts were tagged with the same, I got up a bunch of posts by other med students who were also studying neuroanatomy on a Saturday night. It was such a strange, yet amazing, feeling to connect with someone you will probably never meet who is doing the same thing as you. Technology is amazing!

On the docket for today is a little bit of housecleaning and some laundry, sandwiched in with more studying. I’m not sure what I’m going to focus on yet, but I’m thinking I might focus on anatomy and then save physio for tomorrow afternoon (the one early afternoon we have during the week). Physio is going to be so demanding that I feel I have to force in as much time with anatomy as I can while I’m still in control. Jannie is going to join after getting a little bit of her morning going. Otherwise, happy Sunday to all!

 

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§ 2 Responses to First week of the Second Year

  • Charkie says:

    The market will be a nice Saturday routine! You’re on Instagram, too?!? I’ve been feeling the peer pressure lately — must admit that finding other neuroanatomy tags is pretty cool though 🙂

    • Buda B says:

      I think so too! Too bad the weather was so bad this Saturday – can’t be a routine if I’m not consistent 😉 Yes I am! Though I will refrain from the selfies and constant food shots. Mission: find other med students!

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