To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often

February 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

Someone asked me last week if I was planning on keeping up with my blog. What did that do? Well, it planted a little seed of guilt. Why? Because I am! Even if it doesn’t seem like it right now… I do update the anatomy facts every day! I think we’re almost at 70 facts now. Charlotte and I calculated that, by the end of the semester, we will have come up with a total of 1430 facts!

So far, this semester is going really well. With our schedule the way it is, it honestly feels like a hybrid between exam period and a regular semester. On Mondays I fit in 6 or 7 hours at the library, Wednesday allows for up to 14 hours of cramming for Thursday’s physio tests, and Friday allows for 9 hours at the library. The library closes at 20 and then it’s home for dinner, some down-time and bed. Friday night is date night, Saturday is chore/study day and Sunday is anatomy cramming day with Jannie. With a sleep average of 7.5 hours a night, things are feeling quite systematic! Just the way I like it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I got the quote that I used as my title from Skjalg. I had just written an email reply to a blog reader (which ended up being way longer than I expected) and in it, I mentioned that my number one piece of advice to surviving here is to adapt. This degree is a lifetime worth of challenges wrapped up in a pretty little package. We will most assuredly not be the same people coming out at the other end as we were when we started. To make that transition, we need to be able to adapt to each new day, subject, semester, patient – everything! As we get older, it’s harder to do. We are more set in our ways and feel like things should adjust to us and not us to them. That’s when we need to remember that we are students. Now is the time to make mistakes, now is the time to be wrong, to learn, to be humbled and learn humility. We do this now so that we are tougher and prepared to face the challenges we will face as doctors.

On a lighter note, Skjalg and I just took a Grey’s Anatomy quiz. We know it’s not real, don’t worry ๐Ÿ™‚ But I will say, watching it now is so fun. It seems silly, since it is so dramatic and polished, but understanding what they are talking about is exciting! It feels so good to know what they mean when they say things like “subdural hematoma”, “hypovolemia”, “atropine” and “push 20 of mannitol!”. ย It’s our guilty pleasure…

Skjalg’s result:

SkjalgsGreysResult

My result:BiancaGreysResult

We make quite the pair if you ask me ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

One of these semesters is not like the others

February 12, 2014 § 2 Comments

There’s a particular type of stress that settles in during exam period. It shows its face occasionally during the semester, but its full effect isn’t appreciated until those blank days before your semi-final. In those days, the only thing you need to do is study for that one exam. The pressure of that time and how you choose to use it is unique. Everything you do during that time is up to you, making you 100% responsible for the outcome. That pressure, that seemingly enormous responsibility, well, it has its own characteristic type of stress.

After making it through this last exam period, I was looking forward to a couple of months without this particular stress. It’s heavier than the others and only gets heavier with each passing day. In the past, it’s been whisked away with completion of the last exam. This time, it stayed.

I blame anatomy. During the first year, anatomy was everything. It was the main class, the monster subject. It demanded all of our time and there was no way anything was going to get prioritized above it. Then second year started and physiology took its place. Many fell victim to the illusion that anatomy wasn’t as much of a priority anymore. Yes, physiology demanded more of our time (especially with 2 tests a week), but anatomy was just as important as ever. Now, this semester, we only have one lecture and one practical per week in anatomy. We are learning no new material, everything is review. If it was hard to make anatomy a priority last semester, then it will be close to impossible this semester. But, if we are going to make it through, we are going to have to do the “close to impossible”.

So, the plan is to stay as on top of anatomy as possible while covering new material in both physio and biochem (which also have final exams at the end of the semester). The plan of attack for anatomy includes daily anatomy facts with Charlotte, Sunday anatomy reviews with Jannie and maximizing the short time we have in the dissection room (plus attending any consultations that are set up). Let’s hope it works!

As for today, all physio! Tomorrow we have our first set of weekly quizzes of the semester. They cover the lectures on acid-base balance and hematopoiesis from the first week. Jannie and I started our day at the library (where we ran into three fellow group members) and then finished out the day at a coffee shop. Reviewing the material with someone makes the information so much more tangible.

Now I’m off to bed with some flashcards, we’ve got a full day ahead!

HematopoiesisFC

On your mark, get set, 4th semester!

February 5, 2014 § 1 Comment

We’re only 3 days into the 4th semester and I’m already settling into the study groove. It’s easier to settle in when you have only had a week or so break between exam period and the beginning of the semester. Adjusting to the new semester after summer break was something else entirely!

My trip home to visit my family was in one word: perfect. I was able to spend quality time with almost all of my family members and friends – most of whom I haven’t seen for two years now. Despite the quick turn-around, I was able to squeeze in everything I wanted to do. Unfortunately, in my post-exam period delirium, I didn’t take any pictures! I snatched these ones from my mama’s facebook:

FamilyFridaySisShot1SisShot2 FamShot

After a total of two full days of traveling, two and a half days in San Francisco area, and three and a half in Los Angeles, I was back home in Budapest. Skjalg and I spent the entire weekend relaxing, watching movies and drinking sparkling wine. We made sure to squeeze out as much relaxation as possible before Monday morning.

Our schedule this semester is amazing. This is mainly because we only have 22 credits (vs. the normal 30 or 31). The main reason for this is that anatomy is now only 3 credits instead of 6/7. Why is that? Because the end of the second year boasts the three big FINAL exams: physiology, anatomy and biochemistry. The anatomy final will cover everything we have ever learned, so this semester has been designated a sort of “review semester”. We will still have midterms, however, because they don’t want us getting lazy! None of this extra time will be going to waste. By the middle of May, we will be responsible for a year worth of physiology, three semesters worth of biochemistry and two years (well, technically three semesters) of anatomy.

Here is our group’s schedule. You’ll notice we are especially lucky because: we have an entire day off! Last semester our group was actually divided in half for physiology, because there were too many people registered for our lab group (there were 5 or 6 people from the previous year retaking physio that registered for our group). As a result, 6 of us who were actually in the group got moved to a separate one, me included. Now, this semester, our little made-up group has physio lab on a different day entirely. So, while the rest of our group heads home after Hungarian on Thursdays, the chosen 6 of us will be gearing up for our weekly double-quizzes (we have a seminar and a lab quiz every week in physiology). On the plus side, after surviving a hellacious Thursday, we will have the rest of Friday off after physio lecture while the rest of our group gears up for their quizzes Friday afternoon. It’s a little sad to be getting split up. Our group is really strong and full of amazing people. This may very well be our last semester together, since we get to choose our own classes from 3rd year (rather than be assigned in groups the way we are now).

Schedule4thSemWith today being Wednesday, we didn’t have class, so Jannie and I headed to ย the Corvinus library. Skjalg and I only started going to this library during exam period and I only wish I had found it sooner! It is modern, clean and always has a spot available (unlike the library at school, where you are lucky to get a spot on the floor). It only costs 1500 forint (about $6 or 40 nok) for a 3 month pass for guests. The library is part of a university that offers bachelor/master/doctoral programs in economics, business and international affairs.

Ok, hope that was enough catching up. Off to bed to get my rest in before our hell day of the week…

 

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