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Friday, September 12, 2014

A Day in My Weird Life

Listening to: All about that bass - Meghan Trainor. Or all about that base pairs no mutations we know that transposition aint cool so come on isomerase and make it stop. I am the suavest person you know, aren't I?

A lot of you have been asking about my day to day goings on so here we go! Today was a pretty typical day so I'll just chronicle it. First, let's set the scene. It's 95 degrees but I'm pretty used to it so it only feels like 92 or 93. Now, picture the brightest sun you've ever seen in your life and we're set!

The program is divided into two sections: basic sciences and clinical sciences. The first five semesters are basic sciences and are spent on the island learning all of the theoretical concepts in medicine. The remaining two years are spent somewhere in the US, Canada, or Europe depending on your preference. There you learn to apply the knowledge you've learned. The basic sciences semesters are further broken down into blocks. Each block usually features a different professor, sometimes several different professors based on their areas of expertise, and often different classes. As a first semester we only change a class once, histology will be switched for molecular embryology after block III. Our first block is quickly approaching in 10 days. From what I've heard block exams feature your lab practical followed by your subject exams to comprise a full day of examination. Alright! That's the general program, here's a day to day:

I wake up most mornings between 5:00 and 6:30 depending on how much preview work I was able to squeeze in before bed. This morning was 7:00 because it's Friday, ok? My morning is spent previewing the lectures ahead and defining terms I'm unfamiliar with. I've come to realize that big part of medical school is learning a new language. Our professors don't say "A patient presents with a stab wound in their right lung" they'll say "A patient presents with a stab wound 2 cm lateral to their T7 spinous process. What nerves are affected?" Using exact language seems to be very important because a wound to one part of the back could have very different repercussions than another. Then I scadaddle (is that a real word?) on over to pick up my notes for the day. That probably needs an explanation: AUC offers a note service where you can buy a semester's worth of the professor's presentations that you can then take notes on. I decided it was much more efficient than me trying to scribble a picture of the pleural cavity or something. After picking up my notes I head off to the auditorium where the first semesters live.

Our first class is MCB, which is comprised of molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry begins at 8:00. Weirdly, it's my favorite class. It's also our longest and has had the most interesting professors thus far. It ends anytime between 9:20 and 9:30 and then, depending on where the end falls before 9:30 we have a break.

At 9:30 Anatomy begins. The professors are very good about beginning class exactly when it's supposed to start but are terrible at ending on time. Anatomy is a really interesting class. It's sort of like the ocean falling on top of you and someone telling you to catch it in a dixie cup.

Then we're supposed to have a break which never happens and histology begins at 10:30. Histology is... difficult. Not because it's hard but because we've had a crap ton (official unit of measurement, 1 crap ton = 10 cubic meters) of information thrown at us already and histology is so. dull. I'll give you a preview of what histo is like "Here is a slide. That is a cell. Yes it's all the same weird pink color because we stained it all with heamatoxcyin because it's basophillic. That blob in the cell is this structure that does this. Next slide.". For 50 minutes straight. It's great. Histo ends at 11:20 but never actually ends before 11:30. Also great.

Following histology we're supposed to have a break for lunch but that is a rare gem. We have three options for how break will go: 1) our professors will vie for a second lecture 2) Some third party will come talk to us about something we don't care about 3) We will get a break.

Then my favorite part of the day: anatomy lab. Because our class is so huge we have two sections of lab split into three groups each. I'm in blue (refers to the body bag color) group C. All the group indicates is that every third day your group will be in dry lab and not dissecting. Each day gets better because each day we get less like butchers and more like anatomists (at least that's what our TA says... I started out as a pro surgeon soo....). Today was SUPER cool. SUPER DUPER! Mainly because we flipped our cadavers. We prossected the skin and fat (official terms) and began to resect the muscles of the thorax.

After anatomy lab you shower. YOU SHOWER. Some people don't but you shower. I can't emphasize that enough. If no one is carefully guarding the chemical spill shower get in there. Don't be modest, there are 22 naked bodies around you. The smell of formaldehyde and death are piercing and have some serious staying power. Did I mention you shower after anatomy lab? I can't remember.

I spend the hour or two after lab studying- anatomy usually. Today I met with an upperclassman to discuss MCB and make sure I was studying the right things. All is well- I'm supposed to study everything. After I headed to anatomy review. Every day there is some sort of review held by the various TA's- they're pretty helpful.

Finally we got to the part of the night I had been looking forward to ALL week (I write all in caps and immediately think anterior longitudinal ligament. Who am I.) There was a welcome party at one of the bars but my friends and I are too cool for that basic b behavior so we got thai food and were home at a reasonable hour to study instead. We're referred to as the wild group on campus. I cannot tell you how much promising myself a few hours off to get thai and just hang out with my friends motivated me throughout the week. It's weird! If I wanted thai I would just go get thai- it was never an event before. But my life is very scheduled now, I have to schedule in times to talk to people (I need a week in advance for my secretary to fit you into my schedule, just a heads up). It's weird! Did I mention that? I guess this is adulthood? I am so much more aware of the image I project and am constantly wondering if I'm being "professional" or "exemplary" because people are watching and actually care what I do now! It's WEIRD. Anywaaaaay- after we ate we went to the Sugar Cane (afore mentioned rocket power restaurant) and had milk shakes and it was magical. And now I am prepping for the anatomy lab mock exam tomorrow in between paragraphs. Now you know why this paragraph is so lengthy; if I stop I have to identify 20 more things. You say they're nerves, I say they're little specks of something. Probably fat. When in doubt, assume fat. In other news people have a lot of fat and it is incredibly gross, I'm not squeamish but when you find a lob of someone else's fat in your scrubs you get a little uncomfortable.

Other updates: I signed my first solo lease! I have been living off of granola bars because I ran out of sandwich supplies (SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOS I HAVE TO LEARN TO COOK SEND HELP). I bought a sweet potato. I couldn't tell you why. All is well, I will go grocery shopping after blocks next monday and buy like 5 loaves of bread and freeze them. Do not fret my dear friends, I will once more be able to eat my turkey and pickle sandwiches. Yes, that's really all I put on them.

I don't think I'll be able to post anytime between now and blocks so fingers crossed I pass them all! If you're feeling like you've got some extra voodoo power in your fingers go ahead and cross for honors but I'll be pleased with straight P's for my first blocks!

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