Archive for tag: preparation

Off the Grid

There never seems to be enough time in the day. As I sit here surrounded by boxes and bags and suitcases, and wondering what in the world I'm going to forget, I'm preparing to leave on a trip. Every time I'm going somewhere like this, I'm scrambling around trying to remember what to take, wondering if it's going to fit in the car/bag/whatever, and worrying that I might forget something. It never fails that I say to myself -- "Never again." And here we are at the next round.

The same goes for finals and midterms, which thankfully are winding down for me. The day will soon come when I don't have any more of those. But until that happens, it's always last minute cramming, note reviewing, and wondering whether I'm going to forget something.

There's something beautiful about the concept of being prepared. It's been a long time since I walked into a test most assuredly and thought, "I've got this." More often than not, I don't think about it. I either have it, or I don't (or somewhere in between). That's not unlike other situations either. Sometimes we just know we're ready, and sometimes we're terrified. I find that being terrified is far more detrimental than just generally not being prepared.

In a few--not so short--hours, I'll be in the mountains of North Carolina, surrounded by a lot of people that I know and love. We'll be battling the elements and whatever we come across (including ourselves), just to experience that time together. It never fails that something happens. Situations arise, accidents happen, people get hurt--both emotionally and physically. There are people there to help take care of those instances, including myself.

2014-07-17_shadow _smThis year in particular, we're faced with an event fresh in our minds, of a friend taking their own life. The details of that voyage aren't relevant to this writing, but suffice it to say, he felt like that was the only option. As I look at my mound of boxes and bags and suitcases, I am thinking about what he is missing, what effect his decision is having on all of those around him, and what might have happened to him if he had sought out help.

As physicians, it's our job/privilege to be there for our patients--in whatever capacity they need. As a volunteer, that's my job this weekend. I take it very seriously.

I'm probably not prepared for what might happen this weekend. I never am fully prepared for these things. But I also KNOW, that whatever happens, we'll all make it through together.

If you or someone you know is thinking about or talking about suicide, please seek help. Talk to someone. People are willing to listen.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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! 

2013-04-04_sunset

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