Archive for March, 2009

Thoughts on Neuroanatomy

March 22, 2009

1233850636_wallpaper-brain1My brain does not like learning about itself. 

It does not like drawing diagrams of sulci, gyri & fissures.

My brain & I have decided reading Chris O’Brien’s book “Never Say Die” is more interesting. 

Novel is about having brain tumour. 

Thus, book counts as study. 


Things that make you go hmmmn?

March 16, 2009

quizzical1Recently I attended a fundraising night. It was a great event, organised extremely well, with a decent band, food, camping + costumes. Pretty awesome all up. However, something happened that made a few of us first years decide not to go next year. 

In the early hours of the morning, a group of bogans gentlemen a few years ahead of us thought it would be rad to get undressed, beer dripping down their bellies, + greco-roman wrestle. Which, is fabulous, because I’m all for every man exercising his right to get semi-naked + entwine with another man.

Hooooowever, they collectively staggered their sweaty bodies to where most of the first years were camping. They set about breaking two first year blokes tents, one students camping chair, + charged each other into the flimsy tents + swags, landing hard on sleeping first years.  No-one who was injured or had stuff broken will complain. No one really cares that much. You can’t get cranky at drunken mob of underwear-clad bogans gentlemen because…well…it’s unAustralian. We celebrate that stuff, apparently.

But something about being a few years ahead in a course makes those below look up to the ‘older’ years (even when we’re the same age, or actually older than them). Especially those involved with Do-gooding. We had do-gooding crushes on them. They were charity fundraising, save-the-children touting superiors. They were saving the world, dammit. At least I believed they were. 

But everyone looks different at 4am,

with a beer in hand,


in their underwear.

There must be 50 ways to leave your lover…

March 10, 2009

copyright Peter Walker

When one changes from deep discussions about whether or not to go serif or sans serif on a particular font for a campaign, to learning different ways the human body can malfunction, it can be a bit of an adjustment.

I was trained in communication theory + practice; to persuasively argue any point (whether it was correct or not), + to sell any product (whether I believed in it or not) to a profiled, segmented target market. Lord, I wrote an essay on a SKYY vodka print commercial that received a high distinction whilst actually including the sentence “The values connoted by way in which the lime is sliced are different than if curled lime rind had been used (connoting femininity) or a thin slice had been placed on the rim of the glass (connoting relaxation).”  

I was in a delightfully, indulgent world where people gave a damn about semiotics, shades of colour + originality.

This new world of physiology only gives a damn about facts. 

Facts shown in flowcharts. Flowcharts that break the disease process down to show how hypoxia of a certain area leads to anoxia which leads to cell death which leads to tissue death which can cause enough damage to lead to…well, death-death. 

So, I find myself humming this song, getting my head around the fact that there are more ways to expire than I have ever imagined possible.


I’d like to be…

March 10, 2009

australie-2008-nr-2-202 …under the sea. In an octopuses garden. In the shade.

I am, however, above the sea. In my study. In the heat.

I know there is a floor, as something must be holding up the piles of clothing + boxes I’ve strewn everywhere in a mad fit looking for something that seemed very important at some stage. I know I have a desktop, otherwise my piles of paper + textbooks are simply levitating. I know that being here, in my paper-filled, chaotic study is good for me, but it doesn’t have the same immediate pay off that guerilla gardening does.* 


As this is supposed to be my journey through med school I will start actually blogging re…er…med school. 

So here be it. My 10 tips for a non-science students:

1. You are not what you are not. By that I mean, do not start defining yourself by what you don’t have. I had never thought of myself as someone with a deficit before, yet nearly everyday I’ve been reminded by other students that I am from a non-sci background. Sure, it’s an excuse to ask stupid intelligent questions, but I try not to say “non-sci”. Instead I’ll say “my undergrad was advertising” or “I haven’t studied that before” or just ask the damn question without a precursor. Chances are a few other people in the room with science undergrads haven’t touched on it either. I am NOT a non-something person! *empowering music crescendo* Rather, I am a person with a broad depth of experience in other fields. This depth of experience is evident when I help other students to use the binding machine…or the guillotine. 

2. Which reminds me…BIND. Everything. It will make you feel like you are in control of the paper mountain that is steading increasing at an alarming rate. My undergrad was all online media. This course is all about printing millions of trees. For every PBL case I have a thick wad of bound notes from that topics lectures, readings, notes + learning objectives. I have more notes in six weeks than I’ve had in four years. Also, the binding machine makes a soothing, crunching noise which is a quite nice pick-me-up at 8am.

3. SOCIALISE. Go to every social event possible. Make friends. Get very drunk with friends. Take incriminating photos. Then friends will be obliged to help when you need to understand physiology. or pharmacology. or histology.

4. ASK for help. People do go out of their way to help you understand a concept (even without photographic ransoms). Ask the guy sitting next to you to explain the drug mechanism diagram. He just might turn out to be a pharmaceutical science undergrad. 

5. Do a vocabulary list for each topic. Your course code may say Medicine but you’ve actually just signed up to learn four years of Latin + Greek. 

6. Ebooks.  

7. YouTube. There is a guy called hyperhighs who I would like to bear hug. His clips are clarifying. Much more, than say, a lecturer talking a high speed on a Friday afternoon at 5:3opm. 

8. Fun + learning = Flearning. So Flearn. Make nerdy jokes. Write dirty acronyms. You’ll remember the concept better if you can use it in some way to insult someone. 

9. Embrace the visual aspect of anatomy. Weirdly, I’ve found anatomy to be great. Colours, textures + relationships. The human body is an intricate sculpture. If you think of physiology as it’s narrative it all becomes clear to the humanities brain. You can start to deconstruct the topic in a way you’re trained to. Art + narratives. Simple. 

10. Study groups. Uber nerdy. Uber necessary. 

* on Sunday night I replanted my ailing herbs from their balcony pots into the shared back garden of my apartment building + am hoping the body corporate gardener guy doesn’t notice or mistake them for weeds…shhhh