Archive for tag: exams

Week 5

Happy Week 5 Everybody! This week is the first exam week. I'm a little scared (not really -- but maybe I should be). I have 4 this week (3 here at NUHS and 1 at UWS). From Botanical Medicine II to Evidence Based Nutrition, there's a lot of material to cover -- and I have a lot of work to do. 

Last Friday was our Tri Mixer. We had Trivia -- Chiro style, food, and all kinds of crazy fun. I was told that the "Five Sphincters" Trivia team was the winner. I'm not sure how the other teams fared. But I know we were all having fun. It was good to get to meet/see some of the younger Tris. I'd met some of the new students at Club Day or previous mixers, but since we're all so separated, it's rare that we get to see each other. There's a good crew of people coming up. I'm excited.

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So, last night was the Super Bowl. I didn't watch it and I don't know who won. This morning on my Facebook news feed are random people posting random statements about the game, ads, different players, etc. Lots of people are talking about the commercials (I didn't watch) and how much they cost. It's my understanding that a 30-second ad costs approximately $4 million.

Here are some things that we could do with $4 million, instead of buying a Super Bowl ad:

  • Fund NIH Alzheimer's research for 1 month (NIH spends $480 million/year on Alzheimer's research)
  • Run a free clinic for 4+ months
  • Fully fund 12 medical students' educational careers ($325,000/student)
  • Buy 66 modest homes ($60,000/house)
  • Fund all Medicare breast cancer screening for 1 month ($410 million/year)
  • Clothe, feed, house, and educate 16 children (cost to raise a child $241,000)

Rather than getting a pizza, or watching something cute for a few seconds, we could buy people well-being, cancer prevention, health, and basic security. I realize that this is a bit of commentary, and may not be popular, but I feel like we needed a little bit of perspective. We support businesses with our money and our attention.

Let's go make a difference this week.

Have a great one, everybody!!!

Busy Week

This is one of those times when writing the blog is tough, because I can't remember all of the things I've done over the last week! I'm to the point where I'm keeping daily lists so things don't fall through the cracks. There's just so much to do and so much to study for.

Last week I had 2 exams, and this coming week, 2 exams and 2 quizzes. Next week (brace yourself), there are 5 exams. I've always wondered why we do things this way. Five exams in one week are too many. It's just as if it were finals. But, here we are.

I was able to join some of my classmates out on Friday night. It seems that a good time was had by all. We were able to meet some of the first trimester folks that I'd missed from the First Tri Mixer. They all seem really great. One of the drawbacks to the way our campus is set up here is that the students are spread out to four different places. We have the basic science students in one location, the clinical science students in another, and the interns in two different clinic locations. So, once someone crosses over into a different area, we don't always see each other again--unless we make an effort to do so. So that's why the mixers and impromptu get-togethers are really important. It gives us a chance to meet some of the other students from different locations.

I like how cohesive our group is in particular. I've mentioned this before, but we really do become somewhat of a family. After all, we spend five days a week, together, ALL day. If we don't love or hate each other by the end, there's something wrong. Those that have joined our original four members have been welcome additions. And of course we miss those that have left us--whether they transferred campuses to Lombard, or decided to slow down. Most of my original class is now in the same building. It's good to see them every day again. I've missed them.

As if I didn't have enough going on, last week, I started the Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine through the University of Western States. The program is all online and we have students from literally all over the world. The program there is a wonderful complement to the program here. Since my goal is to have an integrative, functional medicine practice, it's a great fit for me. My goal is to complete the master's about the same time I finish here at National. I'll let you all know how that's going.

Time management and prioritizing are absolutely key to maintaining some semblance of sanity with all this coursework. I'm not sure I'm there yet--but I'm working on it. Of course, anyone that knows me knows that I'm at least partly insane, so I must have lost something somewhere. Calendars, schedules, lists, planning, and keeping track of everything that has to be done is extremely important. On top of that, checking all of those things off the list is extremely fulfilling. I have to remember to ONLY put things on the list that HAVE to be done--no lofty ambitions, week-long projects, or 5-year goals. My lists sometimes get out of control--admittedly, and sometimes they end up with the weirdest, most random thoughts written on them--like philosophical questions. And THAT could go anywhere. :)

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(Image source: redlandrambles.wordpress.com)

I took a few minutes out of studying on Saturday to go to a ROOTS seed and plant share event. We grew a lot of our own food when I was growing up, and as I've had space, have tried to do the same off and on. Now that I have some yard space, I'm working on it again. Let me just say that this event was absolutely amazing.

People from the local area bring seeds they've collected, cuttings, plants, trees--you name it--and they just give it away. I took some Aloe seeds that my plant had put out last year. I'd been saving them for quite a while. I honestly didn't even know that Aloe seeded; I'd only seen people plant Aloe by cutting. The Aloe plant that produced the seed was gifted to me a few years ago from a fellow student, so it only seemed fitting that I gift its progeny. In return, I was gifted pumpkin seeds, stevia seeds, loofah seeds, and heirloom squash seeds. I was hoping for loofah, but couldn't believe how much was there!?! A lady tried to send me home with a bag full of about 500 seeds! People were so generous. I'm eternally grateful, and hopefully my garden will be booming here in a couple of weeks. Since I've never had a fall garden before, I have no idea what to expect. We shall see.

Happy Studying and Organizing everyone! Have a great week!

Student Stress

Hey Everybody! I've had several great emails come in with questions. Thanks for contacting me. I hope that all the information that I've sent back has been helpful. I think there's one outstanding email left. I'll be getting back to you shortly. For those reading, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

I find myself struggling with what to write today. At some point, I feel like I've said everything--and then again, I couldn't even begin to list what all I've done in the last week. It would take me 7 days. I'm losing track of the days as we pass midterms and look towards finals and boards. I seem to get more and more busy when I have less and less actual time. There are really only a couple of weeks before finals start as the summer winds down both quickly and slowly.

As of Wednesday, I'll be childless for a few weeks. The boys will be visiting their grandparents in the Midwest, and the house will be VERY quiet. This should be time to prep for finals, and start studying for boards. Maybe I'll get the rest of the house unpacked or just sit quietly in the middle of the living room doing absolutely nothing. As their summer comes to a close and they try to drain that last drop of freedom, I start looking forward to those two weeks off between tris.

I've talked to several of my classmates, and some in the other classes. All of those great plans for starting to study for boards have been replaced by trying to keep sanity and study for midterms and finals. Board review starts this next week. During our tri break, I'm sure we'll all be studying for boards. But right now, I've only dusted off my question book. Just for fun, I flipped to one question, answered it, and checked my answer. Then I closed the book and went back to something else.

The last exam we have this week before finals is in GI/GU and then there's a paper in Botanical Medicine next week. I can't believe how little time there is left.

I've had some ideas about students' behavioral health after receiving an article from a friend that was written by an anonymous Harvard student. Here's a link to the article: "In Sight, Out of Mind."

I keep wondering what our capacity is for counseling, or dealing with behavioral issues at all. As physicians, I know we'll be faced with people in a lot of trying situations, but two questions/issues came to mind after reading this article: Taking care of each other, and taking care of our patients.

Just like the author of the article, so many of our students could benefit from counseling or at the very least peer counseling. Going through medical school is tough. It seems that more people have problems with their personal lives that cause difficulties with their studies--than have difficulties with their studies alone. I'm not sure that we have the resources here, yet, to set up some type of peer counseling--but I think that we'd benefit from it. While we have the clinic in place, I'm sure that few people attend our clinic for behavioral health issues. This brings me to the other question--what do we do when we have patients that come in with a behavioral health issue?

Are we equipped enough (or confident enough) to work with patients with conditions like depression, anxiety, neurotransmitter imbalances, schizophrenia, and others? I've heard time and time again that we should probably refer these patients, but we're in the unique position as trusted providers to help. Can we? Will we?

Feel free to write me with your thoughts on this. I'd love to read and hear them.

Until the next adventure, have a great week! 

Oh, the Things You Can Do

The sun was not shining. It was too wet they say.
So we sat in the classroom during lunch on that day. 

I sat there with Dave, Ricky, and Danielle, too.
And then we said, "We just don't know what to do!" 

It was too soon to study for old ECGs,
too early for Neuro, or WBCs.
We'd already had coffee, and water and lunch.
We all just sat there, our shoulders did hunch.

Then something went "Thwap!" In the corner we looked.
My rainbow umbrella no longer was hooked.

I'd carried it in to avoid my own storm,
to keep me nice and dry, so I would stay warm.
That umbrella it had the most greatest of power,
and because of it, this is what we did for the hour...

The storm we did weather, the damage was done.
So sorry for all that mess has become.
It was not my purpose to cause such turmoil;
I'd rather be wearing a hat made of foil. 

Exam time has started, insanity ensues.
We all are now paying, our most diligent of dues. 

Miss Lauren, and Julia, Annaliese, Antoinette--
we all seek our studying quotas be met.
Alid, Miss Lexxi, Theresa and my Self
are looking to each other for all kinds of help. 

Our Classmates--the greatest, we always take care.
Through storms we will weather, through struggles we bear.
We help one another with notes and with guides.
and sometimes with excuses when one of us hides. 

We'll make it through all of this educational mess.
and help one another prepare for these tests. 

We'll pass all the boards and study real hard,
and in the end we'll come out with a card,
a license, a paper, more knowledge than known,
and after all of this we'll start practices of our very own. 

(Special thanks to those that participated in our educational/recreational efforts, to Jordan for his contribution, and to Dr. Seuss, for being a large part of who I am.) 

Happy studying for midterms everybody,

Andrea

Preparation for Finals

I hope everyone had a great Easter, a festive Ostara, and a Blessed Passover. It was a low-key weekend at my house. We didn't even make Easter baskets. Peeps were procured and cupcakes were made, but that was about it. I spent the whole weekend working towards finals. 

Finals start next week. Let the panic commence! NO. No panic! We will not panic. There will be NO panicking. OK. Now that that's done. Given that this is the last week before finals, it's time to get all my ducks in a row - practicing, note writing, memorizing, preparing, and everything else! 

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Sometimes the organization and preparation for finals is just as stressful as actually taking them. The last week before the tests begin is when all the notes must be finished and the hardcore studying takes place. For me, I learn more in the last week than I do in the 14 weeks before. I know that it's not supposed to work that way, but that's how I work. There's something about solidifying everything and repetition, repetition, repetition. I will, actually, be studying up until I walk in to take each test.  

I'm doing my best to not repeat the events of last tri's finals. I existed most of the last finals week on caffeine and very little sleep. I don't remember whether I was eating or eating anything remotely respectable, but I suspect I wasn't. So, that will not happen this time. Here are a few suggestions that I'm pulling together for this tri's finals for myself--and all of you. 

Andrea's suggestions for finals preparation: 

  1. Make sure all equipment is in working order. Charge those batteries. There's nothing worse than having to show up for a practical and your equipment isn't working. It's happened to me before. Not good. Also, you want to make sure you can use your own stuff. It's also difficult to try to walk in with someone else's equipment and do a timed exam. So. Charge 'Em!
  2. Make sure that you have printer ink and paper. Inevitably, there will be a study guide that's about 50 pages long (what class is this for, Tri 4 kids?) and I'll need to print it out and write all over it. The worst thing EVER, is to have it be the night before an exam or the afternoon before an exam and not be able to print my notes. This reminds me. I need to order ink. It's so much cheaper that way.
  3. Go to the gym. Every day. It's really easy to convince myself that I don't have time. I know that once I get home, there's no way that I'm going out again - it's like working a miracle. I know that I feel so much better when I go. It clears my head and gets me focused.
  4. NO CAFFEINE. NONE. I don't drink coffee. Coffee + Andrea = SCARY. I've given up on Coke (New Year's Resolution still holding strong) and I don't drink anything else with caffeine in it. I know that I can exist for weeks on caffeine and no sleep. NO GOOD. Not gonna do it. (Don't do it!)
  5. Food. Light. It's easier to focus (for me) when I don't eat anything heavy. That means lean meat and fruit pretty much exclusively. This is, of course, Paleo friendly and super easy gluten-free.
  6. Sleep. At least 6 hours a night. I've done some all-nighters. I did one last tri (well, less than 2 hours of sleep pretty much counts as an all-nighter), and even though it worked in my favor THAT time, it's not something that needs to happen on a regular or semi-regular basis. We also know that less than 6 hours a night promotes inflammation. Inflamed brains don't work. So, I'm shooting for 6 ­hours during the week and as much as I can get on the weekends.
  7. A bit of downtime for whatever. DVR exists for this reason. Pinterest (if you're not already on it RUN AWAY), Daylight. Check it out. It's good for vitamin D, too. 

OK. Enough of that. So I wish you all a happy finals preparation and a happy spring and all of that other stuff. If you're getting antsy while you're studying, take a break. It really will make things go smoother. See you all on the flip-side. 

Andrea