Archive for tag: studying

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

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! 

Finals are Upon Us

This'll probably be my shortest blog to date. I'm convinced that if I don't spend nearly every waking moment studying, I might miss something. There are 3 finals this week (including the E & M practical) and 6 next week. There's some switch that happens in my brain around this time. It's a cross between "panic" and "drive"--and it vacillates between the two of them. 

I always rethink what I've done over the trimester and how I could've planned just a little bit better (so there's less panic and more drive). I will always be compiling notes at the last moment. I will always be reviewing until right before the exams. I'm not sure how I could do things differently. Perhaps it's reading more, earlier, or writing notes sooner. I will probably ALWAYS wonder if there's something else, unless I come up with the "perfect" way to study (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). 

But, as it stands right now, the schedule is set. I am behind in some things and ahead in others. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. Trips to the store for fresh, healthy food have been planned. Gym visits are on my schedule. Notes are being compiled and edited. Checklists are being made (man, I wish I'd ordered that ink!) and things are getting done. 

I had the GREAT pleasure of reviewing for the E & M practical with Alid and Julia from my class, and Jacqlyn from another tri. It was good to review things that I've done before, and also good to get the critiques of my classmates. I think we'll be aptly prepared for Tuesday (when we all have our practicals) and then that will be one more thing to check off of our list; one more accomplishment; one step closer to graduation! So, special thanks to all of them for lending their expertise, their brains, and their support (and Julia for the use of her gorgeous home). 

As you're all studying for exams (and boards), remember to sleep, focus, eat healthy, and drink plenty of water. All of this will be over before we know it. 

I'm "off" for a few weeks. I promise I'll be collecting great pictures of my adventures over the break and hopefully be rested and revived for the next tri's adventures. See you all soon!