Archive for tag: studying

How to Deal When the Trimester Blues Set In


During your tour here at National you will indefinitely come across many different journeys and maturity opportunities. As I write this blog for students and perspective students, I enjoy giving you some ideas and tips from some of my experiences to make their journey smoother.

Freak Out, Depression, Burnout Cycle

One thing I've noticed while attending is the impending Week 5 and Week 11 "Freak Out, Depression, Burnout Cycle." (I 1000% made that term up.) Let me explain. At the beginning of the trimester, everyone is excited for the new classes but still hasn't gotten into the rhythm of studying again after a satisfying break. Come Week 5 you are freaking out that you haven't studied yet, but also depressed that you let this happen again (my 7th time now, haha). The good news? Just buckle down and grind it out for 4-5 weeks through midterms and learn the material and you will be fine, all else held. It's merely the feeling of unknowing exactly what to expect and being underprepared in the material, so your brain's natural reaction is to FREAK OUT.

The "burnout" part of the cycle is located at the end of midterms and before finals. Your brain and body is exhausted from burning the candle at both ends and you're dreading the impeding sleep deprivation that takes place for finals. Wow, that sounds terrible!! You can do it! The first step is accepting! The next step is writing down your tests and printing out/gathering the material on those tests, and the final step is cranking it out until you've learned it! Rinse and repeat! You're not alone; you're human!


Physical Diagnosis Class

On a class note, Tri 6's staple class, Physical Diagnosis has many lab practicals split throughout the trimester. It feels like the finals week of your earlier tri E&M classes all trimester long. Despite the nerves on being put on the spot to perform exams, I love that we are getting great practice on examining patients and getting out all the nerves now before we actually have real live patients that depend upon us. I am completing my Regional Lab Practical on Monday. It includes a variety of different regional exams: Cranial Nerve Exam, Peripheral Nerve Neuro Exam, Vitals, Head and Neck Exam, Eye Exam, ENT Exam, Cardiac Exam, Pulmonary Exam, and Abdominal Exam. The hardest part of those is that Dr. Gidcumb expects it to be done in exactly the order that he lays out in the notes. So you may evaluate and examine everything in the section, but still fail because you did it out of order. I've prepared well, but fingers crossed I remember. :)

Food for Thought

Have you ever thought about your position on drug prescription rights being incorporated into Chiropractic Scope of Practice? It's an extremely interesting topic of debate. I encourage you to look up a few articles and decide what you may be leaning towards. It helps hearing both sides of the argument, however chiropractic's one glaring problem is our profession is so eclectic that nobody agrees on anything across the board! Oh well. :P


How to Survive Finals Week

Hey Cygnets,

Happy Easter Weekend to all and hope everyone who celebrates it was able to spend time with family and friends. Week 14 is upon us and the following 2 weeks are littered with anywhere from 7-11 finals depending on your trimester. If that doesn't boost Starbucks' profits, recede your hairline, or wreck your circadian rhythms than you're probably a mutant. Or you read this article. Probably the first one. ;)

Me and the dog in an Easter food coma at my house. Ha ha.

This article is about How to Survive Finals Week. I Googled that phrase and literally got THE MOST BORING article after article of "Sleep more...Double Check your Exam Times...Study Hard..." Ummm… Tell me something I don't know! Here's the "5 classic tips" with my own spin on them.

1. Do Better On Midterms: When 2+2=5 and How to Take Advantage of it.

Ha ha. Duh, but hear me out! It has literally taken me 5 trimesters at NUHS to FULLY appreciate this tip. This tip works disproportionately well at NUHS. Why? Because we don't give 'Pluses' or 'Minuses'. That means, according to this fine institution, that a 100 = 90. An 89=80, 79=70, 69=60. In other words, there is a TON of leeway for grades. I was planning this out with my buddy Kendall: I have an 85 average in Pathology 2 through two exams, which means I can basically get a 75(ish) on my final and still get above the 80 threshold I need in that class to get a B. Remember 80=89. For many classes, the difference in studying to get 9 points higher on an exam is another 6-8 hours of time on the grind (TOTG as my buddy in college would call it). Now, it may sound like I'm cheating myself, but I am using that opportunity cost of studying for more Pathology 2 to apply it to my Renal Physiology final for which I do need a much better grade to get my grade up to the NEXT level. So, it goes both ways. You just have to plan it out and study accordingly. Don't hate the game; hate the system. 

2. Don't Worry About GPA, APPLY IT.

GPA is NOT that important anymore. 99% of you are in the last school you'll ever apply to. I'm going to open my own practice when I get out of here. I'm not giving myself a raise if I get a 3.5 instead of a 3.0. I'm not saying don't try hard! I'm saying KNOW the information in respect to APPLYING it to your future patients and the real world. If you get a 4.0 and you can't treat a patient (which can happen), do you think your patient cares what GPA you have when you're adjusting their occiput? Nope. There's so much minutiae you will learn in plenty of your classes that you will never use in the real world and if you get that question wrong, who cares? Don't freak out. It saps the energy you need to study for the next class. Stay even keel and keep the bigger picture in mind. Like the British in WWII, keep calm and carry on. 

3.  Caffeine Physiology and the 'Off Switch'.

Sometimes you get into a rut and the wall of information overload sets in. Just give up. Ha ha, just kidding, here's a chance to take a break and multiply the benefits of caffeine.

  1. Leave your notes on the desk
  2. Drink a cup of coffee.
  3. Lay down and close your eyes for 30 min. (It takes about 30 min for caffeine to get into your blood stream and to your cells. By then it will start working its magic...just in time for you to wake up and be ready to blast through that previous information overload barrier.)

Hint: Don't Overuse. Be Strategic.

4. Blood Sugar Drives Human Behavior.

Hydrate. Eat protein. Eat low glycemic foods. The experience of most students during finals is Manic--sugary snack-filled highs followed by hypoglycemic, insulin-driven lows. These lows are the part we need to keep an eye on. The low sugar blues are often just that, slightly depressing and one can easily feel overwhelmed by the workload as your brain efficiency plummets, starved of glucose availability, as your adrenals work hard to drive gluconeogenesis.

Eat protein at each meal for optimal satiety between meals. Eat every couple of hours for stable blood sugar. Optional: Talk to an ND student and consider taking an adaptogenic herb for stress management.

5. To Music or Not to Music.

When you walk into the library during finals week its almost a cliche' how many people have headphones. Did Steve Jobs possibly foresee taking over all the study rooms with his Apple gadgets? God Bless America. Anyways, I have found that during cram time I cannot study very effectively with music. Whether it's bobbing my head to dub step, crying to the country song, or rapping with takes me 2x longer to absorb information with music. Maybe Dr. Darby could explain the left/right brain activity or maybe it's just too much input into my nervous system, but I've tried to be 'cool' for 5 straight trimesters. This time I'm gonna be the weird guy in the corner cubby without the trendy white headphones that fall out of your ears on a run. ;)

On an NUHS note: This is the last blog of my basic science track!!! Woo hoo!! See you all after break. My 24th bday is a couple days into break and I'm sure the first blog of next trimester will have some stories. :)

Take care over break.

Later Gator,

Midterms, Lifting, and Your Bubble

Hope Everyone is having a great week!

This week is off to a sleep-deprived start! Although Monday was a school holiday (sweet), we have 2 midterms Tuesday (E&M cervicals and Medical Genomics) and one Thursday (Pathology 2). 

I feel pretty good about all the midterms. I've been preparing hard and we have a bunch of good study guides from past trimester students that have been passed down that help IMMENSELY. 

My sister and me.

One great perk about making lots of friends in your trimester (my no-brainer Tip of the Day) is that information sharing becomes life saving, at least for me. I'm HISTORICALLY a TERRIBLE note taker. I'm also the equivalent of a 5th grader with class organizational skills. Every trimester I buy notebooks, folders, open a Google calendar... bla bla bla; it doesn't work for me. After 2 weeks, my notes are literally closer in relation to a tornado than my backpack. And for reasons that aren't yet clear, it WORKS for me? Sad. Monk (TV show) just rolled in his grave... 

This Friday, in our Diet and Nutrition class, we have a 'design-your-own lifting supplement' project. I LOVE this project. In fact, I've been working with a manufacturer on just that! Over the past trimester or two I've been teasing the idea of starting a side business that leverages the success I had with the rapid body redesign case study I did last February (gained 20 lbs. of muscle in 30 days). I digress. 

This project will be fun and it gives me another opportunity to become better at public speaking (we are presenting). In case you don't know this about me, I'm always looking for ways to 'increase my comfort bubble'. The more you challenge your limits, the less you sweat the stuff that used to put a roof on your potential. As a future doctor, one of my goals is to be a very effective public speaker. Why? Our society places a disproportionate emphasis on "talking equals knowledge". Whenever someone is in front of the room, people assume he's the smartest guy in the room on that particular subject. Subconsciously, you do this. You respect it. You also realize that there's probably dozens of people who are smarter than that person on any given day, but today this person is the 'content expert'. Instead of hating, why not just learn how the game is played and employ them in your favor? My .02. 

Take care till next week,

Going Home

This will be the final installment of my 3rd trimester here at NUHS. The end of the summer semester has brought a bittersweet taste to my mouth. 

On one hand, I'm totally stoked that I get to move on and go home to spend time with family and friends and recharge. On the other, the end means that fall and cooler temperatures are on their way. A small confession, I love the warm, sunny days. No surprise there! With that said, I think that I was able to find a solid balance of fun, schoolwork and side projects/interests this trimester.

The beginning of the tri took me way of out balance as I was still so burnt out from the Neuros of Tri 2 that study mode didn't kick in till later than it usually does. However, I was able to kick it back into gear at the end of the trimester with a lot of things including my side projects all coming together nicely.

What Are You Doing This Break?

I know I am going to try to do a bunch of things. I'm most likely going to be doing some nerdy studying of biomechanics and gait analysis because I don't think our school gives us enough of this valuable tool. I plan on going to a Red Sox game, chilling with family, going to NYC to see my old best friends, as well as relaxing at my grandparent's house at Cape Cod. I can't wait! 


One thing I will absolutely recommend when coming out to Chicago if you're not from the area, is make lots of friends and participate in the variety of activities the school offers. Whether its joining clubs, going to tri games, rounding up friends for a cookout, going out on a weekend, all are vital to your sanity here at NUHS. That may sound a little funny, but with the workload it's easy to get caught up in the grind and not have a balanced life of laughter, fun activities and great friends. Great friends end up becoming your family away from family so choose wisely, laugh often and don't judge! 

Have a great break!

Burnt Out!

Top -burntout

Hello Everyone!

This past week finally was the last week I had to study for midterms. It's been a long 2.5 weeks and I'm about as burnt out as you can be, which definitely cost me a few productive hours of studying for neurophysiology. Nonetheless I'm uber excited for the upcoming St. Patty's Day weekend. A bunch of us are going into the city to do something called the 'bar crawl'? I believe it's because they expect people to have to crawl from bar to bar at the end because all the green frothy beverages caught up with them. I'm really just excited to share some laughs and see the Chicago River colored GREEEN! 

This week was the first time I've ever been to the naturopathic clinic on campus; it's always good to expand your borders. They bring another view to the world of medicine and one that DCs should be trying to understand more because I believe in the future they will cross paths even more than in the past with integrated care catching on rapidly in the States. My purpose for going in was to have my diet analyzed from a ND's perspective to see if they caught any obvious things that could have dropped my hormone production. They didn't notice anything super dramatic, but the intern wanted me to retest my testosterone levels this Thursday before we do anything else to make sure that it wasn't a bad lab test or something erroneous.  

I've also come to the conclusion that I'm going to rehaul my time management skills. I want to start recording how long I study for certain tests, how much free time I allot myself during the weekends, etc., etc. It sounds rather OCD and will therefore be really hard for me because I have a problem with data entry and minute tasks, but if I'm able to optimize my time I could get even better grades and have even more fun. Let's face it who wouldn't want that? 

In addition, I would have less stress knowing that for a "B" I need on average (X) hours of studying and for an "A" I need (Y). Then I can plan my finals appropriately without feeling stressed and always asking myself, "Did I study enough?" Of course this might take a trimester to figure out but it will be a personal growth experiment that could pay dividends for years to come. I'll have more on this in the coming weeks.  

That's it for me this week. I'll recharge and hopefully have some good stories and pictures from Green Chi Town next week.