These autumn leaves
October 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’m back! Alive and well, considering. I’ve been meaning to post something indicating my state of “alive-ness” after my last slightly mysterious post, but these past 11 or so days have been quite demanding. Immediately after publishing my last post, I found I was in fact too sick to go to school that day. Instead, I headed back to bed and battled the torment of being too awake to sleep but too sick to do anything else. I had hoped Wednesday would be different, but it ended up being one of the worst days of my flu. That morning, I woke up with an extreme case of nausea that lasted into the afternoon. At around 14:30, the nausea evolved into vomiting, which I proceeded to do 7 times in a row. It was a horrible climax to my incapacitation and pushed me into a slight state of self-pity. Skjalg took the rest of the day off from school to come home to care for me, stopping on the way for soup and water. Things improved later that evening and, though exhausted, I was able to bring myself out of the apartment for the first time in 5 days to study with Jannie at a nearby café. My first day back at school was a bit rough – beginning with an 8 a.m. biochem lecture and ending with two physiology quizzes and a long physiology lab. I’m still feeling effects of my flu – even after more than a week – but things have greatly improved.
Since getting so sick, I’ve been trying to take it a little bit easier. I constantly remind myself that it is quality not quantity that matters – so an hour or two more of sleep is worth it if I work more effectively. As a girl in my group says “this is a marathon, not a sprint“.
It’s Saturday night in Budapest and cold fall air is seeping in through the cracks in our old windows and doors. Skjalg and I started the morning with an hour long walk around the neighborhood and breakfast at Starbucks (the one where I’m known as “Nina”). There was an event being held at the Basilica, so most of the street was closed off and the entire square was packed with folding chairs. We’ve been trying to figure out what the event was about, but have been unable to find anything online.
After our walk, it was home to begin studying for the chaos that awaits us. These next 9 days will be the most challenging of the semester. Why? On Thursday, we will have our weekly physiology quizzes – the first at 14:00 and the second at 16:00. Then we will have our lab until 18:00 (and this week’s lab is the worst one we’ve had yet!). To close out the night, we will have our first biochemistry midterm at 19:00 – covering all of the material covered so far this semester. As if that’s not bad enough, we then have only 3 days until our next anatomy midterm, which covers the neuronal organization of the central nervous system. The only saving grace is that there are national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we won’t be having any classes. Still, this is going to be crazy!
I’m not quite sure how I want to do everything quite yet. I really want to refrain from prioritizing one over the other two, so I think I might try to balance my time between all three. There is no chance in passing the anatomy midterm if I leave studying to next weekend, so I don’t really have a choice. One thing that I am majorly thankful for in this moment is that I have kept up – even if only slightly – with biochem. I find I am less nervous because I know that I have been exposed to all the material at some point. I wouldn’t be able to be tested on it now, but I know there is something in there somewhere. Hopefully it turns out ok!
My plan for today’s studying was to start out with preparing for our physiology lab. Our lab this week is the biggest we’ve had so far and there are a whopping 24 questions we may be quizzed on during Thursday’s lab exam. The way is works is that we are required to read the lab and be prepared to answer 10-20 questions based on the lab material. Then, before we even do the lab, we have to complete a quiz, which will include a selection from the questions in the lab manual. Here is a taste of the questions for this week’s lab:
- 1. Briefly describe the types of adrenergic receptors, and their signal pathways!
- 4. Describe the NO pathway in the vascular wall!
- 10. What is the purpose of creating a precontraction before studying a vasorelaxant effect? Which is the appropriate substance for this?
- 23. Which of the following substances is capable of causing relaxation, if the endothelium is impaired? Ach, SNP, nifedipine? Why?
(Enjoy the use of punctuation? I still don’t like being yelled at by the school-issued manuals – even in the 3rd semester.) When I started, I had no idea what I was in for. Last week’s lab required maybe an hour of preparation – and that was enough to land me full points on my lab exam. Today, I spent nearly 6 hours reading through this week’s lab and answering the questions – and that’s still not enough to secure me a passing grade! I’m going to have to go through the questions again at least 2 more times. Unfortunate that we get landed with the most difficult lab on the same day that we have our biochem midterm. Luckily, Skjalg did the same lab with his group two weeks ago, so I’ve arranged a brain-picking session with him for tomorrow 😉
Skjalg and I went for another long walk before dinner. Budapest is so beautiful in the fall! I appreciate it even more now that Budapest is tied for the #2 spot on the Top 25 Cities of the World list, by this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards by CNN. I feel so lucky that we get to spend this chapter of our lives in such a city. This article has a few more photography shots of the city. Our apartment building even makes a cameo appearance in one of the photos!
In other news, Skjalg and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary yesterday. I can’t believe how fast time has flown by! It is such an amazing experience to go through this chapter together and I appreciate him and our relationship more and more everyday 🙂
Skjalg and I are taking the rest of the night off to enjoy each other’s company and tackle a long overdue task of our’s: watching Lawrence of Arabia, Skjalg’s favorite movie. After 4 years, we’ve never gotten around to watching it – always too tired, to little time, etc. Tonight, we’re finally going to do it!
Here are some photos from the last week and a half, to catch you up on a little of what I’ve been up to since I last posted. And here’s my favorite fall song to listen to while you browse:
Lastly, some shots from today’s walks