Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reflections on My First Month of Medical School!

Right before my first standardized patient encounter today

I looked at the calendar today and just had to write a post. Today marks one month of being a medical student, and what a month it has been! It literally feels like I’ve been in medical school for years (but in a good way), and I am absolutely amazed at the amount of material we have covered so far. Just today, I held an actual human brain in my hands, learned how to do a complete pulmonary and cardiac exam, and I even had a chance to examine my first standardized patient in a mock primary care skills exam. I completely forgot to shake my patient’s hand and I was shaking because I was so nervous, but for my first time, I wasn’t that bad, LOL.

In the past month alone, I have accumulated TWO 2-inch binders full of notes, covered the entire back, thorax, head and neck anatomy, learned how to read and analyze MR and CT images, and learned how to do various osteopathic manipulation techniques. This is in addition to having classes in embryology, physiology, histology, and epidemiology, and it really has been a complete blur. The course load is definitely no joke, but I slowly feel like I’m starting to get used to it. I’ve also had some really cool and unique experiences like holding an actual fetus, seeing the effects of cigarettes on actual lungs, and I am now convinced that I can diagnose a person with Horner’s Syndrome or somatic dysfunction. Just don’t ask me about anything else, because that’s all I know for now, LOL! I could go on and on about what I have learned and experienced in the past month, but to make a long story short, I love everything about the past month! I can definitely see a little growth, a lot of adaptation, and new opportunity every day to learn something new about myself and the human body.

I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t had days where I have been completely stressed out, depressed, and exhausted beyond belief, but every day something happens that reminds me of the fact that I am where I need to be, and where I want to be. I think I might be a slight masochist, because I really do love everything that I’m doing right now, and no matter how hard it gets at times, I always seem to want more. Let’s just hope it stays that way!    

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Tough Week, but I Survived!!!!

I’m so sorry for the lack of posts, but it has been a super busy time! I have taken two exams since I last wrote, and I needed the week to somewhat recover. One exam was fairly short and only covered epidemiology, and the other exam was a major one that consisted of 3 hours of a written portion with a one hour anatomy lab practical that immediately followed. To say I have been stressed out and exhausted is a huge understatement! The picture below was pretty much my view all last weekend, and sleep was a luxury that I really could not afford. Since my daughter doesn’t bother me when she’s sleeping, I ended up staying awake basically 24 hours so that I could get some extra studying in. By Sunday night, I was so exhausted that I went to sleep early, but I had no problem getting 8 hours of sleep and being extra refreshed for the exam. After the exam, I came home and spent a few hours typing up an article that’s deadline was on the same day (I’m a huge procrastinator!), but after that it felt so good to finally be able to relax, watch TV, and worry about absolutely nothing!

On the constant study grind!

As for another update, shortly after my last post, my S.O. had to go back to Louisiana for at least the next month or two, so I have been following plan B of the schedule I previously posted (SEE HERE). The closest family I have lives about 45 minutes away from where I stay, so driving there would have cost me two hours of study time. I’m pretty much doing everything on my own now, but I’m used to it, so it hasn’t been too much of a shock. I’m pretty sure that I’m the only parent in my school who is balancing a child and school without the help of family, but it is still very doable. I just can’t express how grateful I am for a fellow student and mother who helped me out by having her husband watch my daughter last Saturday so that I could go take a mock anatomy practical exam at the school. One thing I learned is to never be afraid to ask for help, and I am so blessed to be at a school where pretty much everyone tries to help and look out for one another.

Bowling for Babies with GA-PCOM SNMA!

On another subject, I had the opportunity to help support the March of Dimes through an event today called “Bowling for Babies”. It was put on by the GA-PCOM chapter of the Student National Medical Association, and I am happy to finally be a medical student member of the organization (I was an associate member all throughout my undergraduate career). It was also great being able to gain volunteer hours while bowling and spending time with my daughter. I’ll probably end up making tomorrow my study day, but I definitely don’t regret it.

My daughter keeps me all smiles :-)

There are quite a few posts that I know I need to write, so hopefully I’ll be able to get to them this week. I plan on writing about a few lessons that I have learned from my exams so far, and I was asked about the format and subject matter of the exams at my school, so I will cover that as well. If there’s anything else you guys want to know, don’t be afraid to shoot me a message. I always respond even if it takes me a day or two. The current block covers head and neck anatomy, which is supposed to be one of the hardest exams (which we will have on the 26th), so most of my free time will be spent studying. So far, we have only had 4 days of classes to cover it, and it is already so much material!!!! I’m really trying my best to not get overwhelmed, and I definitely appreciate the support that I get from you all. So another huge thank you to those of you who read, comment on my posts, and send me messages because it really keeps me going. Until next time!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ready for Week 3!

The Study Grind!

Happy Labor Day! I remember when this day meant sleeping in and good barbeque, but my, oh, my, have things changed! I actually woke up at 6:30 this morning to study, and that’s pretty much what I’ve done the entire day. It was so refreshing to have an extra day to study without any new material, plus by waking up before my daughter, I received the added benefit of interruption-free study time. I still feel like I have so much more to learn, but at least now I feel slightly caught up. They weren’t lying about one week of medical school being comparable to a semester of undergraduate courses, and I have the binder to prove it! I already had to make the switch to a two-inch binder for my lecture notes alone, and if it weren’t for the fact that my lectures notes are printed four slides to a page front and back, I would probably need a larger one. Oddly enough though, I feel completely in my element and I am happy with the workload so far. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely exhausting, but I just love learning material that is geared towards my dreams. Plus, learning about the human body, clinical correlations, and everything else that comes with it really excites me! Whether good or bad, this is all just one big process to get me to where I want to be, so I’m embracing it all.

Mother-Daughter Selfie Time!

On another note, I stayed true to my “study-free Sunday” rule and had the chance to attend my little brother’s wedding yesterday. It was great being able to see friends and family that I hadn’t seen in years, and my daughter had a good time as well. I know down the road that school will probably get in the way of attending weddings and other big milestones, so I feel very blessed that I was given the opportunity to do so this time. Plus, I was happy to get dolled up, because studying has made me feel extra frumpy lately, LOL.

Anyway, this week I have an exam on Tuesday in epidemiology and then I will be studying my butt off (in addition to attending classes) for my SPOM exam next week. I’ll have to go into what exactly that is on another post later, but if you don’t hear from me until later next week, just know that is the reason why. Things are starting to get real, so please pray for me!

Ready for the week ahead (Model Style!)

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