A picture is worth a thousand words

June 20, 2017 § 4 Comments

So much has happened in the past two months that I hardly even know how to write this post. It makes me sad to think that there are memories that are lost or that will fade because I didn’t have the time to write them down here. This blog has documented almost every step of this journey – from applying to medical school to now. Though this year has a bit less documented than the others, I plan to continue it until the end.

The weeks after we returned from our trip to Ukraine were a complete whirlwind. I honestly can’t even organize my mind enough to put those weeks into words, so I think my only option is to describe these past months in photos.

Ukraine Trip
April 26th

Helping out at the anatomy competition

April 30th

Even Baloo finds studying for exams exhausting

May 1st

Baloo brings everyone to the yard

May 3rd

Notes everywhere! I was trying to gather together all the hematology notes I’ve taken since 3rd year, since we were tested on it again in internal medicine this semester.

May 4th

Going through cranial CT scans in neurology

May 5th

Jannie’s 30th Birthday!

A quote I wrote in her birthday card

May 6th
May 7th

May 8th

That feeling when your puppy sleeps in the same room as you so that you’re not alone during your all-nighter

May 10th

Marianne signing her contract as a student doctor!

May 11th

Cram time!! 4 days out from Internal and Gyno

May 12th

Huge day – LAST LECTURE EVER!!

Last dinner with the gang

May 13th

Weekend of hell! I had 6 exams the following week and had already been cramming for weeks up until this point.

May 14th

An idea of what I was up to during the month of May

May 15th

May 16th

May 19th

Sword and Scale is my ultimate guilty pleasure podcast!

May 20th

It’s nice that some of us get to sleep in

May 21st

When your notes randomly pop up somewhere on the internet..

May 24th

Studying for my last exam with Marianne!

May 25th

DONE WITH MY LAST EXAM PERIOD EVER! Still can’t believe I survived 10 exams in 2 weeks.

May 26th
May 30th

Dedicated Step 1 studying time – here we go!

June 1st

Charlotte’s Birthday!!

I love this city!

June 2nd
June 3rd

Wandering the city and running errands while listening to a new favorite podcast

June 5th

Goodbye dinner with this one ūüėÄ

June 7th

Re-discovered my old, little notebook of quotes

What happened after all this? Well, a lot. After 8 years together, Skjalg and I split up. We love each other very, very much and will continue to be good friends. As he is off to Stavanger to complete his 6th year (and I am staying here), I’ve moved into a new studio apartment. The past two weeks have been a bit heavy, but now that the moving is complete and I am finally in my own space, I’m really happy. I whittled down all my belongings to the essentials, donated 3/4 of my clothes, gave away tons of my notes to one of my students. I tried to take only what I really needed. It is so utterly liberating to not be tied down by tons of things. With the recent changes in my life, my future is now a blank slate. I have no idea where I will end up after medical school, but I’m really excited for the year that lies ahead, for the challenges that await.

Here is my new place before I moved in:

And here it is “Biancified”:

Alright, back to studying I go!

What a difference a day makes

January 11, 2017 § 2 Comments

This morning I woke up to find a message from one of my friends asking me if a certain picture she’d seen on Instagram was mine. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal so far, but it ended up being a picture of my notes posted¬†by an amazing board review source I use and love (and have mentioned many times before): SketchyMedical. The kicker? They’d re-posted the picture from someone else who was taking credit for it. To be honest, it’s not a huge deal – especially because the picture and notes are mainly from SketchyMedical (and therefore not entirely my material). But, the fact that someone found the image on google and then took credit for it (in comments that have since been deleted) made me a mix of angry and sad. This person even thanked SketchyMedical for admiring/acknowledging his/her work!

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-22-56-38

Fast forward 10 or so hours. The sun has risen on the west coast, awaking SketchyMedical employees. Suddenly, my picture is shared on their Facebook page and I’m credited in their instagram post. At this point, I’m just honored. It’s really cool that my notes have found their way from the dark corner of the internet where this blog lives to the social media pages of the source I used! Then, while finishing up an application for a residency position, I get a notification that I’ve received an email from “Dorothy from¬†SketchyMedical”. To be honest, I thought it was spam. At least that is what I prepared myself for. Keep your expectations low and you’ll always be happy, right?

In the email she complemented my notes and asked if I would be interested in being a SketchyMedical brand ambassador. As one, I will write for their blog as a guest blogger, share on social media, get a free subscription and get a discount code for my followers! I was so, so happy when I read this! Especially because USMLE cramming has begun and I was just considering renewing my SketchyMedical subscription. So, a sort of bad start to the day but an amazing, surprising end! You really never know what the day will bring.

That said, I’m back – I promise! I can’t tell you how disappointed I’ve been with myself for not posting more. I have so many drafts containing a few or so paragraphs that I’ve started and left to be forgotten. I was even planning on getting back into the groove with a “blogmas” – where I post one blog every day in December until Christmas. Leave aside the fact that I had two abstracts to turn in for February’s research conference and 3 exams BEFORE exam period even started. Then there was exam period. And¬†now? USMLE. Oh¬†and applying for rotations for 6th year and residency positions for after graduation. And I can’t¬†forget about that thesis! Oh and actually preparing my¬†presentations for the research conference. And helping at the anatomy exams every Tuesday and Thursday. And preparing my¬†curriculum for anatomy next semester. And sleeping. And working out. And reminding my¬†family and friends that I¬†still exist and love them, even if I¬†don’t talk to them for 3 months.

I wish I could remember all the big things that have happened since I last wrote and make a sort of summary…but I know I am going to forget something. I will probably bring random things up in future posts as they come along. I do know how I will close out this post though – cause I’m saving the best for last!

Our exams this semester were the following:

  • Pediatrics – we were lucky enough to be in the department that lets you take this exam at the end of your block (all the other exams have to be taken in exam period). As such, we were done with this one in October!
  • Neurology – we got to do this one in the week before exam period. That Friday was INSANE! I had my gyno semi-final at 8:00, neuro semi-final at 10:00, then I had to run to my last anatomy class and teach for 1.5 hours, then at 12:00 I had my forensics semi-final.
  • ObGyn
  • Forensics¬†– our year was split into two large groups for this exam. I took it in the first round, which, for some reason, was extremely difficult! I ended up getting a 2, which I was really bummed about. When I retook it a week later (to improve my grade), the examiner apologised for the exam and said that somehow, all of the difficult questions had ended up on our version and the easier ones on the second, rather than an equal mix between the two. I’m so, so happy with my decision to retake it!
  • Surgery¬†– For this one, I also ended up retaking it to improve my grade. Crazy girl! Unfortunately, I missed a 5 by 1 point… #stillbitter
  • Anaesthesiology and¬†Intensive Therapy¬†– this one almost drove me crazy! It’s written and they do whatever they can to trick you. Like changing a small detail in a possible answer. Somehow, I got away with this one.
  • Psychiatry – such a fun subject to study for!
  • Urology¬†– my last exam before Christmas. I was so exhausted by this exam that I was beginning to lose it. Luckily, it went well. Do I remember anything? Hematuria?
  • Internal Medicine: Gastroenterology – this was my last exam and it was amazing! It was my only exam after Christmas and I had 10 days – so I got to take some time off to celebrate Christmas and sleep! Studying for it was really, really nice. I genuinely enjoyed myself. At the exam, I was nervous – as always. It ended up being perfect. My friend Dushyant and I were the last two examined and the vibe in the room was amazing. We were told we got 5+ when we were handed our grades ;).

Other than exams, I submitted two abstracts for the International Student Research Conference in February. The first one I did alone with help from my advisor and the second is one I am doing together with Amir.

  • Department of Public Health:¬†Personal Health Practices of International Medical Students in Germany and Hungary: A Cross-Sectional Study
  • Department of Surgical Research and Techniques:¬†Can Serious Games like The Kheiron Training System Enhance Skill Acquisition from Traditional Box Trainers?

To be able to do these, I had to learn how to use a statistical database program called SPSS. I spent so many hours feeling so incomprehensibly stupid during this. I once spent 3 days doing nothing but reading articles and trying to figure out how to analyse our data – and I felt like I got nowhere. But, somehow, I was able to submit the abstracts before the deadline!

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-23-28-33

It’s time for bed, so I’ll touch on other things (like my students!) in future posts. To close out this one, I’ll introduce you to: Baloo and Joseph!

I’ll start with Baloo: we’ve wanted a dog for years but it never felt like the right time. Then, when we were visiting my mom in October¬†we suddenly realised how possible it was (she has a teacup yorkie). So, we made the extremely impulsive and exciting decision to get one. We’ve had him for 3 months now and honestly could not be happier. There hasn’t been one negative consequence of our rash decision – thankfully! He comes with us almost everywhere and sits with us when we study – even when I get up for 3 a.m. cramming – and he’s so calm and quiet! Plus, he makes us laugh everyday. Because dogs are amazing.


And last, but definitely not least! Meet my nephew, Joseph!! It’s times like these that I hate living so far away from family. Still, I’m thankful that we are able to stay in touch with all these media forms today. I’m really hoping I can make a trip to the west coast soon.

6 down, 3 to go

January 6, 2016 § 4 Comments

It’s snowing in Budapest and I honestly can’t remember it ever having been as cold here as it is now. The day before yesterday¬†it was -10ňöC and I almost couldn’t breathe on my way to the subway (thin tights do nothing). Snow has a tendency to leave as soon as it’s arrived here in the city center. The way things are now, I feel like I’m back in Norway!

IMG_1966IMG_1971

I spent these first few days of the New Year studying for my cardiology exam, which I had on the 4th. Since I last wrote, I’ve had five exams – yes, five! This exam period is unlike any we’ve had before. Usually we have three¬†or four¬†medium/big exams and maybe one or two¬†small ones. This time, we have nine or ten – some even eleven – total!

This is where I am at now. If all goes well, I’ll be done on the 18th of January. Then, I will sleep as long as I can for as many days as possible!

  1. Pharmacology
  2. Surgery
  3. Public Health
  4. Psychotherapy
  5. Internal Medicine
  6. Cardiology
  7. Radiology
  8. Dermatology
  9. Pulmonology

I was hoping to write a long post (giving some detail about my exams and how we spent our Christmas and New Year’s) but I was so absolutely dead after cardiology and now that I have some¬†energy again, I need to spend it all on radiology.

So, this is where I am (pretty much all the time I’m not in bed or at an exam – or dancing around the apartment trying to move my body):
IMG_2042

This is how I feel:

24b56f9c8f825a3fb04c84ce476f463dfbe692b87400a4f34781bdc0fbb1fce6_11786023

And this is what I’m listening to now:

Pharma: Check!

December 15, 2015 § 2 Comments

After some heavy¬†weeks, I’m finally done with pharma. At least for this semester. And even then, I’m not really done. It will come back during my dermatology, pulmonology and cardiology exams. It will always come back – this is medicine!

Now that it’s over, I’m really, really happy with my decision to push my exam to this week. I feel like I have a better handle on the material, a much better general overview and feel much more confident for the final exam (which we will have at the end of next semester). I would still like to add to my knowledge, but I can work on that once exams are done.

Here’s a glimpse at what my study process has been like. I feel I was more prepared for this exam than any exam so far and yet I still don’t feel completely confident in my knowledge.

I starting studying from the topic lists from the beginning of the semester and used them to prepare for each of the midterms. There are some students from previous years that have prepared notes for the topics, but I always find other people’s notes a little hard to stick to as a main source. I like to use them when I am having a hard time honing in on what needs to be covered for a certain topic, but other than that I like to make my own.

Our first midterm covered the topics in the “A” column and the second the topics in the “B” column. I decided to use the lectures as my main source for the topics in the “C” column and completed my notes about a week before I was supposed to have my exam.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 21.49.46

This is what the topic list I used while studying for the semi-final looks like now, after several rounds of going through the material.

IMG_1774

For List A, my notes were mainly charts and “quick note” pages with drug names and main points. I love taking notes on my iPad but I’ve noticed that when I’m cramming I prefer to have a hardcopy.

IMG_1773

For List B, my notes were almost completely based on the lecture slides. It was good in that I got a good grasp of the theory and felt like I was getting the main points.

IMG_1777

To add to the lecture notes, I made some mnemonic sheets for quick reference.
IMG_1775

I was inspired by my friend Jules to make sheets with the drug names in large font that I could pin on the wall. It was really good trick for getting some of the names in passively. Every little glance made a difference.

IMG_1776

For List C, my notes got a little crazy. I’d taken my first round of notes from the lectures and then brought them with me to my practical lessons. There, I would add in any details that my teacher mentioned. I got a bit frustrated with these because I felt like some of the lectures included way more information¬†than what we needed to know (or could memorize).¬†IMG_1779IMG_1778

During this last week, I prepared a set of mini-notes for each of the topics. I know that I struggle with whittling down a topic to “just what’s important”, so I felt that limiting myself to 1 little piece of paper would be a good exercise for me. Plus, something about holding a thin pile of mini-notes made me feel more in control ;).IMG_1770IMG_1771

Here is an example of my lecture notes + my teacher’s comments on the left, the mini-note version in the middle, and the topic I prepared for my exam on the right.

IMG_1780

Lastly, here are the notes from today’s exam. They were topics that I really didn’t feel very strong about – especially the epilepsy topic – but I’m happy I was able to recall what I did. My exam was supposed to start at 10:30, but I didn’t go in until around 12:30. I even went to school early because I was too nervous to review at home. That meant 4 hours of stress-ridden review time before.

The exam took place in my teacher’s office. It was a small room with a desk along the window and a couch and two large sofa chairs surrounding a low coffee table. There was enough room for 3 students at a time, one being examined and the other two busy writing their notes. It’s a bit of an awkward situation to sit there in such a social setting while being examined, but there’s a comfort knowing that we all go through it.

During the exam, I blanked on some really simple things (like indications of beta blockers, other than arrhythmias and hypertension). That’s one of those things that you hop over while you’re studying because it’s just “so easy” and then you can’t find it in your head when you need to. Luckily, I was able to recall it with some help, but it was still pretty embarrassing. My teacher is a really friendly guy who loves teaching, but he also wants us to know the material – and know it well! He asks a lot of questions and is quite¬†demanding.¬†IMG_1785At the end, he motioned to the other girl in the room (she had finished her exam already, but stayed as a “witness of fairness” as is done in most exams) and said, “If she was heading up from a 3 to a 4, then you were¬†heading down to a 4 from a 5. Oh, Bianca, Bianca.” He sat in thought for a few moments¬†and finally said, “Ok, I’m going to give you a 5, but with a little side note: needs improvement.” I joked that I was on probation and would make sure to be better next semester. We are examined by our own teachers for the semi-final, but at the final exam, we are examined by one of the other professors.

I got home around 13:30, ate and then crashed for a couple of hours. Now I’m off to bed, with sweet dreams of my weak, probationary 5, so that I can wake up fresh and ready to cram for Saturday’s surgery exam. Will be easier knowing that I have this monster one behind me!

P.S. I have a FitBit (an activity monitor) that measures my heart rate throughout the day. When I looked at it this afternoon, I burst out laughing. Check out my heart rate this morning! Me? Nervous? ūüėÄ

IMG_1767

Pathology: CHECK!?

May 20, 2015 § 6 Comments

Yes, you read that right: I AM DONE WITH PATHOLOGY! I had made such peace with the idea that I was going to fail and it didn’t happen!

The exam is split up into 3 parts, two practical and one theoretical:

Part 1: Autopsy

When I entered the locker room, I was told, “We’re all getting Dr. X”. Dr. X is probably my favorite lecturer, but I had¬†been dreading getting him at the exam because I’d heard that he really likes to drill the students. He told us in lecture once that at the final exam, we should¬†be able to do things like group all the tumors by their color. He is extremely systematic, a feature I love in a teacher and fear in an examiner. Having a systematic method while studying is great, but being forced to be systematic on the spot, in the context of a final exam, can be difficult.

I was so resigned to having to retake the exam, that I didn’t feel nervous at all. “I’m going to go in there, give it my best and really learn from the experience,” I told myself, “then I’ll know how to prepare better the next time around.”. We were called into the autopsy room in groups of 5. Awaiting us was a similar sight: the autopsy examination table displaying the different organs.¬†I was actually able to find photo of the room online. The picture is quite small, but at least you get an idea. Usually, there are two or three mobile metal tables with the cadavers on them in the middle.

We were each assigned an organ and I ended up getting the one I wanted the least: the urogenital complex. It includes the kidneys, the prostate and the rectum of the patient. We were allowed about 5 to 10 minutes to look over the organs and note any changes. I got a little nervous at one point but quickly calmed down and told myself to focus on the pathology and not the outcome. Dr. X called my name and asked if I was ready. Now or never!

I described the morphological changes and answered any follow-up questions he asked. The organ complex showed pyelonephritis, nephrosclerosis and cystic lesions on the kidney, benign prostatic hyperplasia (I had to explain how I knew it was hyperplasia and not carcinoma), with compensatory hypertrophy of the urinary bladder (trabeculated) and adenocarcinoma of the rectum. There were some things I fumbled on, like the term hydropyonephros, but other than that it went very smoothly and I ended up with a 4/5.

Part 2: Histology slides and Specimen

For this part, we moved on to the histology lab. The room was full with students and examiners, so I had to wait for a few minutes outside. We were only 11 English students being examined that day and maybe 30 Hungarian.

I was escorted to a computer and the technician helped me log in and open my slides. My heart dropped a little because I hadn’t reviewed the slides I ended up getting. Rather than letting that get me down, I reminded myself yet again to focus on the pathology and not the outcome. In our last histology practice, our adjunct professor told us, “We know how hard the histology is, trust me. Sometimes, we don’t even know the diagnosis when we first see it. It takes a lot of time and a lot of practice. What we want to see is that you know how to use proper histological terms to describe the changes and that you can use your pathology knowledge to properly diagnose¬†the tissue sample”. We have covered 121 slides in these two semesters and get 2 at random at the exam. The only information we are given is which tissue the the slide came from.

I ended up with one from the colon (coincidentally adenocarcinoma, just like I’d had in the autopsy room) and one from the lymph node. When I felt I was ready, I raised my hand for one of the examiners. Once she had seated herself beside me, I began describing the tissues, first describing how the normal tissue should look, then describing the morphological changes and finally linking those changes to my diagnosis. I made sure to sort of guide her through my thought process while showing her the slide at the different magnification levels. (These are screenshots of the slides, with notes written by the fantastic Charlotte.)

For my specimen (we get 1 out of a possible 60 or so), I got this beauty: the hydatidiform mole. It’s a tumor of the cells of the placenta. When I saw it, I actually got quite excited because it meant that a new study trick of mine had worked. For the past several weeks, I have kept a google image search of whatever disease I am covering theoretically open on my screen. That way any time I look up, I have a visual association with the disease. I remember this one well because it is so creepy looking. It looks like a bunch of grapes! If you want to see another tumor with “bunch of grapes” appearance, check out the female genital tumor: sarcoma botyroides (be warned!).

10433860_10153269651618390_5004690945385099437_n

Everything went very smoothly, save for some little fumbles, and I ended up with a 4/5 for the section.

Part 3: Theory

This is the part you have to worry about. You can fail the other sections and still pass the exam, but the theory is the big one. We ended up having to wait quite a while before we were called in to our exams. I don’t think I was called until around 12:30 (and the exam started at 8:00). During that time, I tried reviewing some topics and keeping calm. I just wanted it all to be over!

I was assigned to the same examiner I’d had for the semi-final. Her topics (each of the professors have their “topics” that they are especially adept in) are hematology and oncogenes. For the semi-final, I’d struggled with my topic on oncogenes and it ended up being the reason I’d gotten a 3. That was an experience I was hoping not to repeat at this exam.

When I pulled my cards, the smile quickly dropped from my face: (A) Autosomal Dominant Diseases, (B) Oncogenes and their role in carcinogenesis, (C) Inflammation of the Trachea and Larynx. (A) and (B) were both topics that I was not looking forward to having to answer Рand (B) was a serious deja vu!

For topic (A), I talked about Huntington disease and Marfan syndrome in detail and then mentioned osteogenesis imperfecta and adult-type polycystic kidney disease. She wanted me to describe the genetic alterations, pathological consequences, clinical manifestations and treatment for each and then wanted me to mention familial hypercholesterolemia and its complications.

Topic (B) was where it went downhill. This was one of those topics that I kept telling myself I needed to commit to memory, but really only¬†superficially covered. I’ve watched videos on it, taken notes and even have a chart hanging up in my study area. Still, my brain was coming up with very little of what I should know. I tried to recall everything I could, but she was quite picky on the topic. Had I memorized this table, it would have been perfect, because this is exactly what she wanted:

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 12.12.12

From Pathoma (board review for pathology)

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 12.11.50

Biancafied!

 

Towards the end of this topic, she seemed pretty disappointed and said, “Ok, let’s talk about lung cancer”. My teacher is the “lung” expert among the professors, so I had no problem listing out the classification of cancers of the lung. But then she asked me about the oncogene related to adenocarcinoma of the lung. When I couldn’t answer, she got a bit upset and told me that she is sure my teacher has mentioned it before and that I should know it. This is what she was referring to:

20150520_130856

She shook her head, waved her hands in the air and told me that the 3rd topic would determine my grade. No pressure! Topic C was easy, but that was it’s problem…it was too easy! It’s one of those topics that feels so unimportant that you kind of jump over it. Luckily, I’d looked at it the day before. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a juicy enough topic to showcase my knowledge. Here is the topic I got plus another one just to show how much of a difference there is between them!

20150520_132456

 

My topic above, versus another respiratory topic below. Which would you prioritize? ūüėČ

I ended up with a 3, again. I’m a 50/50 mix of excited to be done and disappointed¬†in myself. But I’m not going to dwell on it. I worked hard, I’ve learned a lot and I have a lot to learn. These topics will be repeated over and over again during the next three years, so I will have plenty of time to get them down.

A lot of growing and self-reflection accompanied this exam and I am stronger for it. I have some improvements to make but appreciate that I have the opportunity to do so on my own time.

Skjalg’s pathophysiology exam went well, so we celebrated with some wine down by the river.

Here are some snapshots from this past week:

My study cave :D

My study cave ūüėÄ

Joshua (the teddy bear that my mom got at my baby shower - yes, he's that old!) helped me review topics. Needed someone to explain everything to ;)

Joshua (the teddy bear that my mom got at my baby shower – yes, he’s that old!) helped me review topics. Needed someone to explain everything to ūüėČ

20150517_17160220150517_171610

Spent the last day before the exam studying outside at Starbucks

Spent the last day before the exam studying outside at Starbucks. Nice to get out every now and then!

Our celebratory wine and snacks by the river ūüėÄ

Bye, bye patho!!!

Hello, pathophysiology!

20150520_114408

 


Pathology, oh, pathology…

May 11, 2015 § 4 Comments

One week out from my first final and I can feel it in my entire body. For the past three days, I’ve done nothing but sit in my little study spot and push myself through topics. After so much work, I find myself already completely exhausted. And tonight, is the pathology competition.

I should be doing everything I am to cram for it, and trust me I will, but only with the time I have today. Last week, I had a goal of finishing 90 topics (we have 191 total), which I then had to adjust down to around 60, and I even fell short of that goal. Yesterday, I had to make a decision: give it everything I have for the competition, with what time I had left, or aim at finishing my topics. With the stakes for the competition being so high, I decided to go for the latter.

The competition will consist of 8 cases with 10-15 questions each. One teacher told their group that there will be 6 more normal cases and 2 really strange ones. Only the top three will get a prize: the first gets exempt from the entire exam and the second and third get exempt from either the theoretical or the practical portion. There is also a rumor going around that anyone that makes it into the top 10 will have a “nicer exam” based on their performance.

I really, really wanted to go for the competition, but I didn’t want to put everything I had into it and then fall short, leaving me with only 6 days to prepare for my final exam. In the beginning of the semester, the head of the department mentioned a book of cases available only in Hungarian that they soon would be translating into English. A couple of weeks ago, I heard that the cases for the competition would be taken from this book. I bought it (in Hungarian)¬†and sat down with a plan to go through 20 a day for 20 or so days. The first two: took me 5 hours! I remember that night well because Skjalg and I got into a big discussion about my beliefs about what is possible or not. Even though I knew it was impossible to go through 290 cases in Hungarian in just under 3 weeks, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling like I’d failed.

We ended up finding someone who was willing to translate the cases, but that plan fell through. So, the cases have just been waiting there, taunting me.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 07.45.24 Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 07.45.33

I’m feeling so scattered at the moment, so I really don’t know if this post is making any sense. The reason I started writing (rather than sitting down to start cramming) is because I felt the need to mentally prepare myself for today. I am so used to giving 100% of myself to my tasks that I have a really hard time when I can’t. The hardest of all is when I’ve made an active plan not to. My natural instinct is to feel like I’ve failed, so I need to work against that and look at the good. I made the decision to prioritize topics over the competition. Studying for it today will be a benefit to me – no matter the outcome – because I will have to apply my knowledge in a different way than I have been doing. It will allow me evaluate the practical use of my knowledge and give me an idea of where my focuses need to lie in these next days before the exam.

It’s hard to put so much work into an exam and not be assured that it is going to go well. For the past few weeks, I’ve done nothing but study patho. The idea that that still may not be enough makes my stomach turn. Still, this is a mountain and the only way I’ll climb it is my taking it one step at a time.

This is what my weekend (or life) looked like this past weekend. I really enjoyed the clouds – as you can tell!

20150509_18514520150509_202756

20150511_070205

So strange that this much time, work and energy can still feel so inadequate…

Whenever new students ask me for tips, the first thing I say is, “Evolve, constantly.” This is actually something that I have struggled with myself quite a bit. I never really know when enough is enough and rather than thinking “they seriously can’t expect us to know all this”, I think “why can’t I get all of this in my head?”. My friend Amir said something really good that I’ve been repeating to myself, “I’m a medical student, not a parrot”. I like that way of thinking and believe it to be true, I just need to figure out how to gain confidence from it.

The reason I brought up the “evolve” idea is that my notes for this exam are a perfect example. I’ve gone from doing 1 topic a day to having to cram in maybe 10 or more. I’ve had to sacrifice doing the topics the way I would if I had all the time in the world for progress. In the end, I’ll never have all the time in the world, so might as well learn that lesson now.

In the beginning, I typed up lecture notes and topics in my iPad.

2015-05-11 07.11.03

20150511_070717

Then I started writing them all out by hand, making sure to make plenty of charts or diagrams to make the information more fluid (at least for me):

2015-05-11 07.10.22

Then I thought I should go back to doing it on my iPad – but this time print out the notes. This ended up being too time consuming and honestly, I can’t afford to pay for that many color copies!

20150511_070507 20150511_070535

Finally, I found something that worked. There are two sets of “notes” made my previous students. One is by a girl who recorded the lectures and has created topics based on those, while filling in from the book. She’s squeezed most of them onto 2-4 pages, so sometimes I have a hard time following the structure. The second is by a guy who made summaries based directly on the book, with some input from lecture. What I do now is read the topic in Robbins, while following the summary and adding in my own notes, then check the organization of the topic in BRS and then create my own little summary page of the topic. Finally, I look at the first set of notes to see if I’ve missed anything. While I’m preparing the notes for a topic, I’ve also started a habit of googling the disease and leaving up the image search on my screen, so that I look at it while I’ve coming the topic.

For this one, I was still writing out too much info

For this one, I was still writing out too much info

20150511_070249

My summary page…

20150511_070307

…and an example of the typed summary with my notes added

20150511_07033720150511_0704292015-05-11 07.09.47

Ok, getting too anxious now! Off to cram, go to lecture, go to class, cram, then finally challenge my knowledge. It’ll be great no matter what happens ūüėČ

 

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with notes at Buda-B.

%d bloggers like this: