Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lest a week go by unridiculed

I am alive, but studying furiously. Well sub-furiously because I’m going to give a brief movie review. But after that the furious studying shall return, and continue until Friday at roughly 2.

On Friday we saw Snakes On A Plane. You may be saying to yourself, SOAP (you have to admit it that it’s cool when acronyms are actual words) didn’t that look like the worst movie ever? This was the genius of Hollywood. They created a win-win-win situation. If the movie is great, I win by spending my dollar on it. If the movie is horrible, I win by spending my dollar and getting to make fun of it. And of course everyone wins by adding yet another movie to the Samuel L Jackson canon, in which he has played himself in every entry. The question is, which was it: great or horrible? Amazingly, stupendously, extremely satisfyingly horrible. We cracked up throughout the entire movie. Every aspect of the film was over the top, even the horrible music video they play during the credits. I enjoyed it approximately 30 times more than the Pioneer Activity we stopped by on the way there. Of course the movie was so horrible that I can’t really recommend it to anyone I know, lest they think that I believe it to be a good movie.

Back to memorizing coronary arteries and cardiac veins. Come hither sweet Friday at roughly 2.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ignoring lecture

I’m currently sitting in an International Health meeting. My primary reason for being here is to see if they’ll give me money to travel around the globe this summer, preferably to beautiful locals with beautiful women. A close second is the free pizza. With green olives! This meeting has already been worth my time.

Things have been pretty busy, hence my lack of writing. I’ll save the anatomy until last so you can stop reading before the end if you so desire. I’ll briefly cover the social scene, since my socializing has been rather brief. My ward is rather small, though it has been growing the last few weeks as the undergrads, dental and pharmacy students moved in. I should point out that it is highly unfair that I have already been in school for 6 weeks and the other students start tomorrow. But despite the relatively low number of LDS people in the area, they have a lot of activities. Many are rather unfortunate affairs (80’s Dance, Karaoke night, Pioneer Celebration) but at least they’re trying. I miss having my vast social network of BYU, but I’m slowly building up friends and associates in this ward. But most of my recreational activities devolve into our med school clique. There are 5 of us single 1st years and we do stuff together most every weekend. We’re not helping each other branch out much, but we have a good time.

Socializing with the rest of the med school presents difficulties. There are tons LDS students, but the vast majority are married. We went to the LDS BBQ last weekend and were surrounded by dozens and dozens of kids. So branching out to upper levels of the school doesn’t work too well. We also try to branch out to the heathen masses, but this is hard as well. The primary weekend activity of med students is drinking. It’s a bit ironic, a bit sad, and darned inconvenient. We sometimes go out to the bars with the class, but without being intoxicated the bar is only interesting for about twenty minutes, sometimes less. So we have to organize our own events to get to know people. I threw a House party a couple weeks back, and Bryce has a weekly racquetball tourney.

We’re now taking Biostatics instead of Histology, and are keeping up our Embryology and Anatomy. We spent quite some time on the arms, which was sometimes hard (there are TONS of muscles and nerves in the forearms and hands.) Not only are there tons of muscles but they all have crazy-long names. Flexor Digitorum Profundus? There must be a shorter way to say this. There was a lot of fat and fascia in the hands to clear away, but otherwise things were pretty clean. The hardest thing was when we had to pull the humerus from the glenohumeral joint and break into the head of the bone with a bonesaw. Most of the body is pretty dry by this point, but the bone marrow felt like warm snowcone. After we spent so long in the arms we did the lungs for a single day. A day! We worked with the heart for a whopping two days before working onto the abdominal cavity yesterday. It was an odd experience to hold a heart in my hands and even odder to clean out congealed blood (which once you wet it feels like red wasabi.) Try anatomy, it’s a blast.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lost Time

How could I best ruin my study time for the next test? Probably get a girlfriend. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened! But the second worst thing would probably be start watching Lost. Guess what I did this last week?

But after some less-than-productive late night sessions I polished off the second half of season 2 and am now ready for season 3 to start in a couple weeks. This show is pretty amazing people. Not worth flunking out of med school for, but close. Did you realize that the Sprite commercials with Sublymonal advertising link back to Lost? Somehow they’re connected to the Dharma Initiative. How crazy is that?

My Tivo is currently set to record the following shows:

The Office
Family Guy

If only I had time to actually watch them all.

Monday, September 11, 2006

No longer testy

I finally awake from my social hibernation.

I had my first exam of med school on Friday, which completely monopolized my time for the week beforehand.  Really it should have occupied my time for the four weeks beforehand, but I’m a crammer.  I always have been, and this is the first time that I’ve really needed to change my ways.  I think I did alright on the exam, but that week before was a rather unpleasant experience.  In order to avoid that experience I need to implement the steady discipline study regime that they’ve been advocating for the last ten years.  

Although some law school students may disagree, med school is dang hard.  This fact hadn’t really hit me until this test.  Each individual lecture seems reasonable enough, and I felt like I was taking in the information.  But then I started to review what we’d been learning.  The major difference from undergrad and med school is that they don’t give you much time to digest the material they present.  They just keep pouring out tons of information, day after day, reviewing very little and expecting you to not only understand, but memorize everything they say.  The material isn’t necessarily much harder than college, but you really have to have it mastered.  Knowing everything about everything they’d mentioned in class, plus things mentioned in the course packet, and familiar with hundreds of pages of textbooks, along with several recommended computer programs takes A LONG TIME.  

I started studying hardcore over the Labor day weekend.  I soon realized that I was nowhere near knowing all that I needed to know.  At this point I cut back to four hours of sleep per night to fit in more studying.  By Wednesday I cut back to three and Thursday I cut back to two.  I realize that getting two hours of sleep before a major exam is a death sentence for some people, but it doesn’t affect me too much.  Hurray for slow metabolisms!  Even after all this I wasn’t really prepared.  Luckily I have amazing multiple choice skills, so think I made it through that portion alright.  But the practical exam was another matter.  The hardest thing about this exam for me was that I couldn’t learn everything I needed to from my text books.  I can handle having to know everything about the brachial plexus (where all the nerves of the arm originate.)  It’s very hard for me to identify one of the dozen branches hidden in the arm of a cadaver.  This practical experience is almost impossible to cram and definitely where I need to focus for the next exam.

But the test is over.  I survived.  I probably even passed.  It was kind of a mind-boggling thing for me to think that I could study more for this exam than any other I’ve ever taken (I studied more for the MCAT, but not by that much) and am still not positive that I passed.  Be thankful that your doctor made it through all of this.

Song of the moment: “Chelsea” by Stefy.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Andre the Giant

With our first exam approaching, I really don’t need extra distractions eating up my day. But unfortunately Agassi didn’t consider my needs.

In tribute to my time in England I try to catch a bit of Wimbledon each year. But otherwise I don’t watch any tennis. This isn’t so much a statement against the sport, since I don’t watch much of any sporting event. Except the Lumberjack Contest on ESPN2, which is awesome. But my superficial viewing of Wimbledon has kept my eye on Agassi over the years, and he is definitely my personal favorite. I think you’d have a hard time arguing that he’s the best player ever, though 8 tournament wins certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at (who sneezes at anything? The expression should really be snort at.) But Agassi is just plain cooler than any other player. Tennis is not a cool sport. It may be popular, it may be internationally viable, but it is not cool. I suppose it’s just too associated with preppies to ever be uttered in the same breath with the likes of basketball and football (not that I like these sports more, they’re just more acceptable in our American culture.)

For years Agassi was the lone island of cool in the ocean of tennis preppitude. Kournikova and Sharapova are certainly adding to the popularity of tennis, but not in the same way Andre did. I’d say he’s like tennis’ Happy Gilmore, but that distinction probably goes to McEnroe. So when I heard that this US Open would be his last tournament, I had to watch his last couple matches. Tivo has helped me cut down on the amount of time this occupied, but again Agassi has complete disregard for my schedule. He kept playing five set games and even added on extended tiebreakers. But they certainly weren’t boring matches.

Sadly Agassi’s career ended today. The fact that he’s an old man finally caught up to him and he wasn’t able to fend off his youthful opponent. But the crowd loved him anyway and he seemed genuinely happy ending it like he did. Kudos to you Andre and enjoy your retirement. Now I can finally get back to studying.

Song of the moment: “Terrible Angels” CocoRosie