The week from hell: it’s only Wednesday

It’s the final week of my Community Health Rotation and that means exams, exams, exams. We’re graded by way of oral presentations and multiple choice papers. I have four such presentations to prepare and deliver between Monday and today. On Thursday and Friday I have to sit two papers  for Paediatrics and Comm Health.

What all this boils down to is a remarkable lack of time to scratch my butt. I like scratching my butt. It’s a welcome distraction from the gargantuan piles of work looming over me. My one saving grace so far is that I apparently haven’t failed my Paediatric OSCE (read: practical) since I wasn’t asked to contact the course coordinator like some truant schoolchild.

Regardless, I still have to study my socks off for what is allegedly the hardest exam to get good marks in. Not that I’m overly concerned with good marks. I’m more interested in hanging on by my fingernails to this sham of a medical education. Which is why at 11:11pm on a school night I was in someone else’s dorm having a group study session instead of catching up on my well-needed beauty sleep. (Yesterday I woke up with dark circles under my eyes. Dark circles, you guys.)

The other people I was studying with are A students. Well, at least one of them is. If I was a self-motivated student capable of studying effectively on my own, I would definitely not not have subjected myself to that kind of sleep deprivation.

Why must I always be surrounded by over-achievers?

Exam Week Take 2: med memes

Last week we had the ‘hard exams’ – Clinical Haematology and the second part of the Urogenital System. This week we have the ‘easy ones’ – Human Nutrition and Understanding Research.

With subjects that are less clinically oriented, and which place less emphasis on memorizing anatomy or physiological values, we tend to slack off and ascribe them much less weight. But in medical school, all exams are challenging in their own right, despite the subject matter. This is because the lecturers are out to get us.

But my classmates continue to be awesome because they always manage to find the humour in every situation, no matter how statistically insignificant it may appear. Here are some of the memes we have come up with when late night studying has addled our brains.

Well, I sort of do.
And then the 104 slide lecture came along and kicked HIS ass.
True story bro.
While reading Nutrition lectures…

I should probably expect more as our semester advances. I love my classmates sometimes.

Studying is not a pre-approved summer activity

I got 3-4 hours of studying in today. That’s in between the comics and the blogs and the Facebook (we are all slaves to the Facebook). 3-4 hours is a reasonable amount of work time. Jenny Lawson spends 4-5 hours writing, and she makes a living doing that. I’m not getting paid to study. I’m paying to study.

I spent so much time reading from the laptop that my eyes started to hurt. So I started reading The Bloggess (and almost every one of her recommendations) instead. And you would not believe it, but my eyes stopped hurting. Then I go back to studying and my eyes start hurting again. That’s positive reinforcement. I think we learnt about that in first year. Maybe this studying thing does pay off in the long run.

But in the short run it sucks pretty bad, lemme tell you. It’s not that I mind accumulating new knowledge, I just hate the way it’s forced on us. A little less shoved down my throat and a little more all-you-can-learn for only a buck would be nice. But is probably too much to ask for from the same university that shut down its network while paying students are still enrolled in courses*.

Despite UWI’s efforts to thwart my education (at half a million dollars a year this will not be over quickly, U-double-u-I) I still managed to learn about leadership theories, motivation and team work. All of which would have made excellent presentations while I was Director of Professional Development in the campus Rotaract Club. This course is a year too late to further my Rotary ambitions. But hopefully it will help me get a Rhodes Scholarship. I hear they’re pretty keen on leader-types. (Totally serious about that Rhodes. Look out for my name in 3-5 years).

I also learnt that Canada’s doing a bang-up job in the health department, despite the complaints about wait times. Apparently they’re a pretty big deal. Wait times turned up a couple years ago in my project on the Risks/Benefits of Free Health Care as well. I should speak to my Canadian friends more on this topic.

The moral of the story: studying = skiving off studying to read The Bloggess = much improved writing. Q.E.D. studying is actually a good thing.

Oh dear god.

* UWI’s network may or may not be down due to power failures.

{29} Exams, what exams?

Exams are around the corner, and my Facebook feed is buzzing with frustrated status updates and calls to religion. The academic world is stressed and it’s not just the students. Lecturers are cramming in last minute tutorials, tutors are trying to get the thickest of skulls to understand the most complicated concepts.

And me? I’m blogging in class one week before my first exam.

Pictured here: model student.

Exams should come labeled like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m talking FDA mandated black box style warnings here because, frankly, life-threatening side effects are likely to result from the misuse of this drug.

A good healthy dose of panic is all well and good, but in the long run all it guarantees you is hypertensive heart failure. And possibly tin foil hats.

I’m guilty of the same things as everyone else (wittily expounded on here in this article from Cracked) but I like to think that as a professional procrastinator stress won’t kick my butt (too badly).

In the past I’ve done nothing differently when exams got closer. I’d been looking at past questions and reviewing my notes from the year started. And those exams didn’t ask you to remember much anyway.

Medical school is an entirely different kettle of fish. I do nothing for the first half of the semester and then suddenly wake up a month before the exams to a wonderland of gargantuan titles, obscure diseases and complex pharmacology. Joy.

Like this girl. Except with less LSD.

But I’m still not stressing (much). I have to completely rearrange my schedule, rethink my study strategies (invent study strategies, more like) and really really try not to fail this.

It’s a working progress and we’ll see the results in about two months. Crossing my fingers.


P.S. I owe Project 52 and entry from last week! I’m behind on everything but I’ll get to it soon.