I’m…done for the night???

I have 1 and 1/2 hours until bedtime, and I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Almost.

I currently have Hitchhiker’s Guide on the TV – WAIT IS THAT BILBO??? I’ve never watched this before, and have yet to read the book. I don’t know, the title never really attracted me. But I do love Martin Freeman. This is already amusing – but what is even going on. British humor is the best.
I also have my journal next to me, and am blogging, and am planning to scroll through buzzfeed a bit, then get into bed and read Mansfield Park and call mom before bed. (I did say almost up there 😉 )

For study breaks today, I played a bit of piano, read a little, and also got a 30 minute yoga workout in before dinner. I caught a little cold over the weekend, but the workout really cleared out my sinuses and stopped the general achy-ness!

This week already feels so much better. I did some brief pre-readings/outline- makings before class today, and it made the after-school studying a LOT faster since I filled out my outlines in class. I had to catch up with the lecture from Friday, but I’ve also gotten through all the lectures from today as well as pre-reading for half the lectures tomorrow. I’m feeling excited that tomorrow will go quickly! I am planning to do detailed pre-outlines for Wed and Thurs because I have a problem-based learning session and a physical diagnosis session on those days, respectively.
I guess I also don’t feel so pressured because I know I’ll have the weekend to study. But I’m doing my best to keep up during the week so I can take Saturday off!

So far, the material isn’t as detailed as the science courses in undergrad, but each lecture squishes in half a semester’s worth of topics. It’s kind of fun zooming through my whole undergrad education. And thank goodness I’ve seen all of this before, because I’m not sure I could keep up otherwise. My classmates continue to blow my mind – we have several people in their 30s. I cannot imagine going back to school after being out for so long!

School = Bayern München; Me = Hamburg

This week felt like a finals week. That is the best comparison I have for how long I asked my brain to work, and also, it currently feels like post-five-finals mush.

Our first quiz was given today, which was the reason for the feverish studying. I want to thank all those in authoritative positions who scheduled this quiz for the first full week of classes, because otherwise, I would not currently be aware of how much I cannot procrastinate.

Once lectures hit us on Monday, I realized that no amount of googling “best ways to study” and planning intricate study plans would help me actually learn anything – I just had to go for it. So I defaulted to my personal tried-and-true: go through lecture powerpoints and make my own outlines/notes (although I did type most of these instead of handwriting them). Usually, for undergrad classes, I would take the week before a test to make my notes. Then I would have time to re-write them all from memory, and I would feel ready for a test.

But now…?

This. took. forever. I was constantly behind. And by the end of the week, I had only gone through each lecture once, which meant that I felt like the material was NOT cemented in my head.  Granted, I did not spend every single second studying because after 6 or 7 hours of class, I just wanted a nap (I understand you, high school friends!!), and I watched the tail ends of 300 and The Princess Bride on nights I could not get myself to sit down and look at notes. But also, most of the material was from undergrad science classes (admittedly from a semester’s worth of the class though). So it was familiar, but still A LOT to get through.

So I did my best to break it down, and then plan for a new way to study next week:
1. Most of my anxiety came from feeling like I was behind, or hadn’t “completed” a lecture/made notes. So I would like a more efficient way to make notes. What I tried for this last lecture was to make a VERY brief outline while in class, so I’m not puzzled about where powerpoint slides fit into the bigger picture.
2. There are SO many resources! Our profs love us! They make their own detailed outlines of lectures, then give us powerpoint slides, AND all lectures are recorded. Then review questions are given before the quiz, as well as pre-quizzes sometimes. I have yet to crack open a book, although I’m dying to be able to fit that in as well at some point. On top of all of this, an M2 gave our class his notes for the entire first year.
What to do? I’ve decided that books need to be supplementary – I will open them when I need to and/or have time (hah). Others’ notes are nice, but making my own really forces me to think about the material more. Recordings I think will also be only if I really need to go back because I’m sure I missed something in lecture. That leaves me with pwpts, detailed outlines, and my own notes, which is pretty much what I’m comfortable with anyways.
3. I hear pre-studying is the way to go. Someone advised learning all the material before going into lecture. So the lecture becomes your first forced review, you’re not scrambling to write things down, and you can more easily follow what the professor is saying. We spend a lot of time in that lecture hall, so it needs to be worth something, right? My only qualm is that I will get bored and let my attention wander. Maybe I will do a brief outline during my pre-lecture study time, and then fill it out during lecture.

Hm. I will try that this upcoming week.

I guess my goal is just to be done by 8PM most nights. Not done as in “I refuse to do this any longer” but “I’ve completed what I want to do, and can take a break without thinking about how much I still have to do.” That was the worst part of the week – not enjoying any breaks because I felt guilty. Ooh I guess that leads to one more number:
4. I can’t do it all. I need to embrace this mantra. I will do my best, and it will be okay when my best is not enough. This is especially hard because I want to learn everything, because I feel like missing anything will be absolutely detrimental to my patients later on.

I really am very excited to study because there’s a lot of diseases/clinical aspects incorporated to our review of the basic sciences, which has gotten me through this week! I would have been dreading studying, but then would sit down and be fascinated, which is a lovely and satisfying feeling. That was a weirdly confusing sentence. Sorry if I verb-ed wrongly there. Again, brainmush.

Anyways I’ll keep updating about how my weeks go! and if anyone has tips, tricks, or advice, I am all ears!!!!

Also, did anyone watch the Bayern Munich v Hamburg game??? I only caught the second half, but maaaaan…poor Hamburg. It’s a great analogy for school v me. HAHA only I still really love my school and studies – not so sure about Hamburg lovin’ those Munchies.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

So mused Inigo Montoya, and now, so muses Sora.

There are several words in question here. I’ll start with a piece of advice that I have really embraced: when you don’t know the meaning of a word (and “sort of” does not count), look it up – right then. Not “in a little bit,” not tomorrow, not during that time you have specifically reserved for word-looking-up-ness. Right now. Here are some benefits of right now:
1. I will forget to look up words at any of those other times, absolutely guaranteed.
2. Learning the definition of a word at the moment I need it helps me understand what the heck I’m reading. Therefore, the rest of my reading increases in productivity.
3. Every time I stumble upon that word thereafter (especially in the same text), it reinforces the definition.
Maybe this does not hold true for everyone, but I have to give myself this speech once in a while (aka several times a day). But here’s a good way to look at it! If you take the 30 minutes to search for mysterious words right then, it increases learning and productivity SO much more for the rest of the time you’re studying or reading.

On a more unfortunate and meaningful level – this was my problem in physics. I did not understand the scientific definition of words like acceleration, and I would assume that its definition was the one I already knew from everyday life. Therefore, physics problems baffled me, as I only had a “sort of” knowledge about the definition. This would have been a great time to look up the words that I didn’t know.
“But the definitions are made up of more words I don’t know!”
Keep looking up! Keep digging! It’ll help! And then go ask someone. People know things, and people are very helpful.

Coming back to Inigo, though. His quote has taken on a new dimension for me. Now with school, I know most of the words used in lecture (except for physical biochem – I’m still pretty bad at that, but I’m working on it!). But the volume…I did not know what volume meant before now. I had 6 hours of lecture yesterday and 4 today, and I am so behind on reviewing the material. It’s fun stuff to learn and read over, but there’s so much of it! I can’t believe I’m already agreeing with the people who told me over and over about the pancakes and the firehose. But all those people also said don’t stress and just keep plugging along, so if their analogies about the workload are true, then I will believe them about the light at the end of the tunnel!

So I better get back to marching along!

Cheers, and let’s shake off any indolence, go forth, and google all those bewildering words together!

And now Week 1

Everyone always talks about how fast time disappears. During the day (and especially when you desperately want a snack), this DEFINITELY feels absolutely false. But I already feel time slipping through my fingers.

I know I probably say it a lot, but I adore my fellow classmates! They are all so interesting and lively and friendly, and I meet someone new and interesting every day. And then, I see them again the next day, which lends itself to making friends. In college, there were so many people, that you would meet someone one day and then never see them again. So being squished all together now, it’s almost like high school, except we all want to be there. I am sure I’ll stop gushing about my classmates after a few weeks, but I am so excited about them right now!

Today marked the end of the “Art of Doctoring” lectures, and we’ll dive into biochemistry next week (crossing my fingers that my major classes have somewhat prepared me for this next month…)! I am eager to dig into the meat of M1, but I will miss this first week. Faculty, staff, visiting lecturers and clinicians, and other students dedicated every moment to making us feel welcome and a part of huge, inviting community. We weren’t inundated with material to be furiously studied. Friendships bloomed everywhere. And we discussed a lot about ethics, and the moral responsibilities of doctors. This was my cup of tea! Even though no one really wants to put it on the personal statement, this reason motivates many (most) of us to apply to medical school – the desire to help people, to be morally obligated to literally spend the rest of our lives doing as much good as possible. And even though “good” varies from person to person, I think a general consensus exists of the basic points.

It strikes me again and again, how much patience and dedication a physician needs, to care for angry or scared or even well-loved people during times of high stress in such delicate, complex ways. It’s scary to think that one day, that is what will be expected of me.

One thing that really captured my notice today was a case that is something as follows:
A young, homosexual man receives a gunshot wound. He is stabilized and sent home to be cared for there, but does not have enough money or insurance to pay for a nurse. His sister agrees to care for him. However…he is HIV+ but does not want to tell his sister because he is scared his father will find out that he is a homosexual. What are we to do?
Of course first and foremost, we want to talk to the patient and try to convince him of the necessity of letting her know. A channel of dialogue has to be made, maybe even between him and his family.
But our group looked up disclosure laws, and many states allow doctors to disclose sensitive information to third parties that may be in significant danger (so overriding confidentiality). This is called the duty to warn. At first, my reaction was indignant – why don’t all states allow for this?? But then I guess it becomes…what if the patient knew about that law, and never told even his doctor that he had HIV in the first place? This would be very dangerous to health care providers, and it would have almost certainly shutdown the chance for the patient to learn to communicate with his family.

All-in-all, it is a very grey world indeed.

For now, here’s to an eventful weekend, and more Mansfield Park!