Archive for tag: finals

Happy Week 13

Have you made your study schedule yet for Finals? (You know they actually start next week, right?) My schedule is somewhat made; exams, practicals, and last minute assignments have been entered, and from this point I just have to get busy! I'm on a brief reprieve from the Master's, until next quarter starts (during Week 15 here), and I've had off from Acupuncture for the last 2 weeks, so the Universe, and school, saw fit to give me some time. Of course, I still feel behind and also am a little bit panicked (as always happens). Right now it looks like 6 exams for me next week, and 7 the week after that. I'm already ready, but will definitely be more ready for a break.

Photo of sunset at Treasure Island beach
Sunset at Treasure Island Beach

Last week's Cadaver Workshop was AMAZING! I was, admittedly, a little nervous when I found out I'd be going over the musculature. After all, other than diagrams, I hadn't been back in the lab since I left basic sciences. And I hadn't worked on the back or limbs since first and second tri. I'd forgotten how much I love being in there. I suspected that would be the case, but I was actually thrilled and surprised at how much I remembered. I loved it so much, that I'm going back this week to do it again. We did a bit of show and tell, and also asked questions and quizzed the students that showed up.

We had students from the undergrad program, PA program, nursing, and EMT at St. Pete College. I'll be interested to see who comes this week. It's absolutely invaluable experience. It also reminded me how much I enjoy teaching. Back in undergrad, my internship was TA-ing biology for non-majors. THAT was an experience. It's frustrating, sometimes, to be teaching people who aren't always interested in what you have to discuss, or to approach things from a manner that everyone can understand (or that encourages clarification).

I have been planning, for about the last year, to spend at least part of my career teaching. I'll be honest; I'm really looking forward to it. Who wouldn't want the opportunity to geek out on a regular basis, and get paid to do it? What would you teach? Biochemistry? Physiology? Functional Medicine? Nutrition? Yeah, I could really get into that. The tough part will be finding a location that will allow me to practice, and has opportunities for teaching.

Last week, I did a Rehab demonstration on therapies to use for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I learned a lot in prepping for the demo -- like how the joints in RA patients can be hotter than normal, and how heating the joint itself can be damaging (but heating the muscle is fine). I learned how important it is to protect the joint -- even to the point of how the patient sits. The "point of relaxation" for the knee, for example, is full extension. This is the position that is least likely to promote joint degeneration. There are other positions for other joints. This week, I'm giving a presentation on Raynaud's Phenomenon (which I've had since I was a teenager) and therapies for treatment. I fully intend to go get my thick wool gloves for the demonstration -- just for effect. Although, if they continue to keep it so cold in this building, I'll have to wear them all the time. It does make it difficult to type and take notes.

Photo of sunset at Treasure Island beach from another angle
Sunset at Treasure Island Beach

There haven't been any other events going on for the last week or so, other than a ROCK tape seminar this weekend (that I didn't go to). But if you remember back, not that long ago, when I volunteered at the St. Pete Beach Classic and met Mr. Incredible, I have something to share. Mr. Incredible found ME! Last weekend, I received an email out of the blue, from Mr. Incredible himself, who found the blog and wrote me. (I do answer all of the messages that come through here, in one way or another.) He's starting on a new adventure with his training. Feel free to check out his blog: Superheroes on the Run.

All right kids, have an amazing pre-finals week! Remember to keep going to the gym, keep sleeping, and keep eating good food. You'll be glad that you did.

Taking a Good Look

Have you ever stared at something so long that it looks completely different? I do this with words. I think that's a new level of zoning out. Sometimes when I do this, it completely changes my perspective. Not all that often, mind you, but it does. Lately, I've been getting hit with a lot, that's been altering my perspective.

2014-03-14_pier

I've been spending a lot of time in downtown St. Petersburg. It's not as if I haven't lived here for 8+ years, and it's not as if I haven't been downtown nearly a million times. Because of friends living downtown, I'm seeing parts of it that I've never seen before. I'm always amazed at what exists, right under my nose -- but I just haven't taken the time to see it. So now, it's starting to look completely different.

Like many downtowns across the country, ours has had its moments. There were department stores downtown, factories, big business. I've always wanted to research some of the buildings downtown, especially the Studebaker Building, which I used to drive by nearly every day when I lived on the other side of town. And then there's the nation's first open-air post office, which, honestly -- these pictures don't do justice. The inside of the post office reminds me of old time banks and Westerns -- loaded with beautifully stained wood and remembrances of teller windows. Some of these buildings have been standing for a long, long time -- constructed not long after the turn of the century, which for this area is nearly ancient.

Also, like many downtowns, St. Pete seems to constantly undergo some form of revival. New places move in; old ones move out. Things get rebuilt or renovated, torn down, and new life comes in to change the look and feel of it all. The more time I spend down there, the more I like it. There are old bars and restaurants, beautiful scenery, and the old stately architecture. I've posted pictures of the banyan trees, the Dali and Mahaffey Theater, the Pier, and a few of the marina as well. I'm running out of time to explore here -- at least while I'm still at school. I've set a loose goal for myself, of visiting every building between Beach Drive and 34th street on Central Avenue. I wonder how close to that I can get with this crazy schedule.

2014-03-14_pelicans

We're in Week 10, which means midterms are over here at National, and I'm looking at finals for Western States. I can't believe how quickly things have passed. I keep going back and forth about jobs and locations and being excited about being out in practice and clinic and a million other things. I was forwarded a list of job openings all over the country, towards the end of last week. I couldn't help but look -- thinking that it was all very premature, and yet I'm being told that I SHOULD be looking right now. I'm still thinking it might be a little presumptuous.

And of course, this week I have to turn in a sample business plan. It's hard to anticipate things like that when you have no idea where you'll be. Of course, I could go anywhere. The question becomes where, and when, and how, and why. We've all talked about setting up our own practices -- well, most of us have. Some, I think, are planning on joining practices and others might just associate for a short period of time. When I thought I had a clear plan before, now I'm not so sure. Life sometimes gets in the way of plans. John Lennon said something like, "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." For right now, I'm only making immediate plans, with the rest in the background.

2014-03-14_sunset

Maybe I just need a change in perspective.

Motivation and Inspiration

It must've been sometime around my sophomore year in high school, when I was taking World History, that I realized that if I had motivation to do something, anything, it would get done. It wasn't that World History was all that difficult; it was that I had absolutely no interest in it. I had no motivation--whatsoever. 

Finals are the time when I have to find the motivation to keep going--when I have to find things to keep me motivated to make it through. So, below I am listing a few things that are giving me motivation.

  1. As of the writing of this blog article, I have approximately 625 calendar days until I graduate.
  2. In 9 school days, Tri 5 will be over.
  3. Tomorrow, I'll learn something that I didn't know today.
  4. Both of my kids will soon be on the same school schedule (High School -- yikes!).
  5. Part I of Boards is the first week in September (good and bad -- but a milestone, nonetheless).
  6. In less than 2 weeks, I'll be on break, which means I can refocus and take time (even though I'll be studying for boards).

This is just a smattering of things floating around in my head.

Sometimes, we need a little inspiration. This morning I heard board pass rate statistics (Go National!), which are not too shabby. I've caught a few videos on YouTube and Facebook encouraging me to keep going (a little bit of inspiration never hurts). I've been sent a million cute pictures of cats and maybe even more quotes superimposed on beautiful mountain scenery.

The best motivation, however, is the desire to know. I look at most of my classes as a tease. We're exposed to some small snippet of factoid about some condition, some biochemistry, some physiology, or some treatment. It might be enough to pass the boards. It might even be enough for some people to use in their practice later on. But for most of us, it's just a primer for what we need to know. Every time I come across someone that has an issue that I don't know the answer to, it encourages me to learn--the more obscure the issue, the greater the learning opportunity. These opportunities fuel me.

Finals start this week. Adrenaline keeps me moving, but inspiration keeps me going. What motivates you? What inspires you?

I wish you great fortune on finals, everyone. See you in a few weeks.

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!

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