Friday, February 25, 2011

The New Whiteboard in the Lecture Hall

There are a lot of things I love about NJMS.

And then there are a lot of things... well, read this post and you tell me what emotion I should feel.

Behind this "whiteboard" you see pictured below was once the chalkboard in the front of the first-year lecture hall. One lovely February day, we arrived at class to find a brand-spanking-new whiteboard instead! Hurray!

Until you notice the wrinkles. WRINKLES. Is it whiteboard wallpaper? I was unaware until now that whiteboards even could be wrinkled.

Believe me, these pictures from my crap-tastic camera don't do the wrinkles justice. They can be seen clear as day from the very last row of the lecture hall.

I am sure that the school had the very best of intentions - I certainly like whiteboards way more than chalkboards (because the markers come in so many fun colors!) and there was probably some study done that showed why whiteboards are better for our education than chalkboards are.

But seriously, NJMS?

No, these wrinkles in our new whiteboard won't negatively affect my learning. But come on. It's like you're asking us to make fun of our own school, and no one wants to have to do that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AMSA study break

Now that our first physio exam is finished, I have to correct my previous post. Friday tests are infinitely better than Monday tests. Especially if the forecast for the weekend is 70 and sunny with snow for Monday. Plus, our new unit starts today at 10am and I am SO not ready to jump right back into things again. A few days off (just about the length of a weekend) would be nice.

But since we knew most first years would be spending the weekend studying, AMSA hosted a study break for everyone on Saturday night. AMSA is the American Medical Student Association, and we have a local chapter here that pretty much focuses on trying to make life better for med students.

caffeinated med students are happy med students

Nationally, AMSA also focuses on empowering med students to take action on issues like affordable health care for all, global healthy equity, professional integrity, and diversity in medicine. Therefore our NJMS chapter also sponsors other student groups on campus like the Global Health Alliance and the Intro to Health Care Reform elective.

This study break was the first event of the year run by the first-years (as the second-years get ready to hibernate and study for their board exam), and I think it was a success! We provided free coffee, hot chocolate, tea, donuts, muffins, and pastries from Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to anyone who came by.
the spread

the spread part II

It was a great way for everyone who'd been in hiding studying all weekend to actually have some human contact (always important), and it was a nice caffeine/sugar booster to make it through the rest of the night. Maybe not the most exciting Saturday night activity I've ever been to, but it was definitely a nice way to break up the studying (plus I really enjoyed the looks of all the other customers in Dunkin Donuts as Larry and I attempted to carry out 9 boxes of coffee/hot chocolate with 200 munchkins and 50+ donuts/muffins - not an easy task).
gettin' our sugar fix

AMSA first-year reps

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday vs. Monday Exams

An argument as old as the five-day school week - is it better to have an exam on Friday and be able to enjoy the rest of the weekend, or is it better to push the same exam until Monday and use the weekend for extra study time?

Most of our anatomy exams were on Fridays, and I can attest to the fact that it is a wonderful feeling to have nothing hanging over your head for the weekend, knowing there's no work you should be doing (except getting ahead for the next unit, for those who are either super motivated or super self-loathing).

Our physiology exams will be on Mondays, which at the moment does not seem like such a bad thing. Especially because at this moment is when I would be taking our first physiology exam if they were on Fridays. Assuming you don't lose your mind first, extra days with nothing else going on definitely help in preparing adequately for exams (or better phrasing might be: not having those extra days with nothing else going on pretty much ensures that you won't be adequately prepared for exams).

The solution is obvious. Exams on Mondays so you have the weekend to study, but then we get Tuesday and Wednesday off to celebrate! I think that sounds both reasonable and completely feasible. Who's with me?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Too True

image from "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

Friday, February 11, 2011

Med Student Stereotypes #1

When I recently re-read my very first blog post, I realized I talked about treating medical school as if it was a new, FUN experience like going abroad (in the blog, not in real life - otherwise I'd be a total weirdo). That way, the blog would seem to be about all the cool new things I see and people I meet in this strange new land called med school.

While I've talked a lot about the things I do here, I realized I haven't talked much about the types I've people I've met. So this will be the first of many posts on some of the stereotypes of the people you meet here in med school land.

Stereotype #1: Surprisingly enough, Med Students have NO attention span.
Physiology for the most part consists of two one-hour lectures per day. That does not sound like much, but you'd be surprised at how hard it is to sit and pay attention for those two hours. And professors know this about us. Yesterday we only had one mega lecture for an hour and a half, but the lecturer still gave us a 10-min break halfway through. Really? We can't sit and listen for more than an hour at a time? Apparently not.

We've never had anything scheduled for more than three hours, and if there ever was, believe you me, there would be lots of complaints (or at least lots of no-shows).

I'm not sure how our collective antsiness is going to work out when we graduate med school and actually have to work for like, 16 hours straight (More? Less? I'm sure the hours will change again by the time we get there) and are not offered a coffee break every hour on the hour. Do residencies have class representatives and student affairs that we're allowed to complain to when we're unhappy?

(picture from "A Cartoon Guide to Becoming A Doctor")

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things That Are Less Fun Than They May Seem

1. sinus infections

2. med school

3. sinus infections in med school

note: I don't actually know if I have a sinus infection since because of my schedule and the student health doctor's schedule, I don't actually have time to see someone until Thursday - so until then I'll just complain as if I have one to be on the safe side.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Surprise Weekend Post!

A skeleton walks into a bar and asks for a beer and a mop.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Physiology Shmysiology

Math in med school? Ew. And physics? I did not think I would ever need to use that again. I don't know how I feel about this whole physiology nonsense. Anatomy was pure memorization - no previous skillz really necessary (unless you've taken anatomy before, cheaters). With physiology you actually have to thiiiink. Terrible. Who really wants to use their brain?

But on the positive side, class now starts at 10 every day - no more 8 am dissection labs, woohoo! I do my best to focus on the important things in life...

And I can't wait for the Physical Exam class to start on Monday - everyone I'm friends with, prepare to be practiced on.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Memorial Service

On Friday after our final exam for ACE, we had a memorial service for our cadavers. As far as I know, all med schools have some form of service at the end of their anatomy class to recognize and pay tribute to the donors' amazing contribution to our education. Our service was pretty short, and only our class and some faculty was present (at some schools, they invite the families of the cadavers as well). The faculty asked students to volunteer to read some remarks, about 2 minutes each, and I was one of the students that offered to read. Here is a copy of what I wrote for anyone that's interested in reading it.

I know how exhausted we all are from this long week of studying, so I want to keep my comments brief. I know that everyone is itching to get out of here and either take a nap, start partying, or start getting ahead for physiology... just kidding, I hope.

Any and all of us can attest to the greatness that is Frank Netter. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have passed this class without him and his atlas. But a drawing, no matter how detailed, can't compare to seeing and touching the real thing in front of you. How many times have we all struggled through TBLs without anything really clicking ... until you get to the lab and you finally have your lightbulb moment where everything just sort of clicks because you can actually see how it all fits together?

Without people willing to give their bodies to science, to students like us, we would never see that. If we didn't have dissections, then for every model that I would look at, I would always think, "Well how is that the same, and how is it different from in a real body?" But because of our cadavers, we know.

How odd to never know a person in life, but to know every in and out of his body - to know more about his physical structure than anyone who knew him his whole life ever will. And yet we don't really know them at all. I know that the cadavers are anonymous for good reason, but I can't help but wonder who they were when they were alive. It's hard to say thank you to someone you don't know and someone you'll never know. To someone whose family didn't get to have a burial service for their loved one so that we, 180 strangers (plus all the dental students), could have a learning experience.

Our relationship with our cadavers is really no relationship at all. And yet, I feel close enough to my cadaver to call him MY cadaver. He, and the rest of our cadavers, gave us the opportunity for this quintessentail med school school experience, and for that they will always be remembered.

info on donating your body to science