Archive for tag: students

Life's Kaleidoscope

The trimester is coming to a close, and I can honestly say it's flown by. We're all scrambling to meet deadlines in the clinic: this many of this, that many of that. It hardly seems that about 12 weeks ago we were terrified we'd be horrible at this. Truth be told, I didn't think anything about deadlines and numbers and paperwork (OK, well I did think about paperwork a little bit). That's probably why I'm scrambling now.

The last couple of weeks have been discussions about who is transitioning to the other clinic, and some talks about where we'll end up. Half of our crew is moving to the other clinic. It's unlikely that I'll see them very often. Perhaps we'll have seminars or training sessions of some sort, or get together outside of school (although we don't do that now). But in a few weeks, there will be another big transition for all of us. Some of us have been together, nearly every day, for about 3 years. This will be something really new.

Newness. It reminds me of my theory about Maslow's Hierarchy from last week. Incidentally, I've been working some more on that, but I'll spare you all the details. I had the pleasure to discuss it with two of my fellow interns today, the concept of new ideas. We were talking about my theory, and about other theories -- things in medicine and science that seem to have been left behind. We were discussing the idea that there are no new ideas.

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Image by http://mladavid.deviantart.com

Mark Twain said:

"There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages."

I grew up not far from good ol' Mark Twain's stomping grounds, but between you and me, his writing always made me crazy. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't understand the dialect he wrote. I'm not sure that I agree with Mark; it seems we're discovering new things all the time. From god particles to medicines, we strive and learn how to change, adapt, and understand the world around us.

If the last 12 weeks in the clinic have taught me anything, it's that we have no standard approach to treating anything. We have to be willing to come up with new ideas, or at the very least, new applications for old ideas. For every patient that comes in, even if they have the "same" diagnosis, what works for each one of them is likely to be something completely different.

I'm fairly certain that our discussion today came to the conclusion that there has to be something new. There has to be a pursuit of Science that crosses boundaries into new territories, that bypasses the need for a randomized controlled trial of everything, and simply embraces discovery for the sake of discovery, and implementation for the benefit of the whole. Perhaps we're all idealists. I see no problem with that. Being idealistic just promotes my love of the field and my hope for making a difference.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, in his series "Cosmos" said:

"To make this journey, we'll need imagination, but imagination alone is not enough because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine."

OK, Neil. I'll take that one to heart. The greatest theories come from crazy idealists.

I wish you all many great new discoveries. May your kaleidoscope always look just a little bit different.

Thanksgiving Week

I can't believe this week is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! A few of my classmates are heading out of town, up North, over the river and through the woods, but most of us are staying somewhat local. Those that are going up North are getting ready to be bundled up. I understand there are record lows -- especially up in the Northeast. We're actually expecting a brisk temperature of 66ºF on Thanksgiving. Everyone will have their parkas and snowboots on.

Turkey Bowl

Friday night was Turkey Bowl. If you've never heard of the infamous NUHS Turkey Bowl, here's where you'll become indoctrinated in this time-honored tradition. Students, alumni, faculty members, and significant others launch themselves onto the football field to non-violently duke it out to compete for (starting this year) the Stiefel Cup [named for the president of NUHS and former dean of the College of Professional Studies - Florida].

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This year, the victors were from Tri 1 and Tri 6 (including our own Antoinette Stewart and Lauren Domanski) and our MVPs were Dr. Chris Arick and Danielle Spratt. It's my understanding that no severe injuries were met and no one went to the hospital -- so it was a good game.  

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We had a HUGE turnout of people! A lot of the faculty came out -- including some professors that I haven't seen in a really long time. I saw new students that I'd never seen before. I met spouses and kids that I didn't know existed. It was just a really great "family" environment. There was really amazing food provided and the people that weren't playing just hung out. It was really cool and made me wish that I'd gone last year. The funniest thing was to see our professors and Assistant Dean (Dr. Daniel Strauss) don shorts and T-shirts and blend in with all of the "kids." We really couldn't tell the difference between them.

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Impending Finals

So, this is the last week before finals start. Next week is practical week and the following week has all the written exams. I'm not looking forward to either -- but I'll be really glad to move on. I've already taken the Marketing final, the final practical for Rehab, and the Phlebotomy written final is this week. I'm checking off boxes and crossing things off my list (and trying not to go crazy).

Well, that's it from me. I hope everyone has an amazing holiday -- that you have just as much dinner as you want, just enough family dysfunction to seem OK, and just enough tryptophan to have a really good nap. And of course, in true medical student style -- dissect the turkey -- don't carve it.

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!

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

Summer in Florida

Here we are. Summer is upon us. Memorial Day is over and we're headlong into the throes of the tri and Florida summer. I'm sure it didn't get below 85º during the day here this weekend. More than a few times I thought to myself, "Man, this is going to be a hot and miserable summer." And yet, I always make it through (hydration is key!). 

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Friday night was the Tri Mixer! We had a great turnout at Ten Pin bowling. Strikes and spares were made, gutter balls were thrown, and a good time was had by all. It's always great to see students from other tris--especially now that my tri is in the Annex all the time. I miss many of the students that we used to have classes with/around. It's also great to see those tris ahead of us that are now in clinic, including those that are just about to graduate. It was just good to see everybody! Drew organized a fantastic event. I wonder what next tri's mixer will be like.

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On Saturday, I participated in the March against Monsanto through downtown St. Pete. The controversial topic of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) has been near and dear to my heart since I was in high school, and I felt strongly about voicing my opinion. About 500 people--young, young at heart, and everywhere in between--descended on downtown St. Pete on Saturday afternoon to express their concerns about the growing threat of genetically modified organisms in our food supply.

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Several different organizations participated--Seeds of Change, Good Earth Market, We Are Change, and several others. People had great signs, and while rather vocal, the march was peaceful and with the support of onlookers and drivers-by. My good friend, Jacqlyn participated in the March in Sarasota, where they had a bit fewer people, but their presence was just as strong.

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For more information about GMOs:

Have a great week, everybody!