Posts Tagged ‘exams’

Resting station

November 13, 2010

Woke up with a dry mouth, throbbing positional headache and faint nausea. And then it hit me:
No stress.
Even the pounding in my head couldn’t take away from the feeling of post-exam-freedom. End of the year post-exam-freedom. End of pre-clinical-years-post-exam-freedom. Free-fucking-dom.

I spent four hours making a cake for my niece because I can do that kind of shit now. I’m on a resting station until early January.

A resting station in exam terms is the seat that you get to sit on thanks to some gracious examiner who decided people would perform better in exams if given a little bit of time out. Our anatomy exams have rest stations every two or three specimens. A little seat with a picture of Monets, van Goghs, or my favourite, “The Scream”. Its really hard to sit at a rest station without laughing at people. We are in ridiculous predicament. The buzzer is buzzing every 90 seconds. We are scratching our heads, moving our legs to myotome dances and pulling “wtf” faces.

The OSCEs are not much better. We get kind of delirious after one and a half hours of anatomy and then the prospect of 3.5hrs of OSCEs. The seven minute resting stations are spent trying not to laugh at each other. Which then makes us laugh.


Wanna be best friends?

November 6, 2010

The single most important thing you need in medical school is not the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (although I highly recommend it).

It is not an unlimited account at Officeworks.

It is not the brain of a ninja mensa prodigy child.


The single most important thing you need in medical school is friends.

If I could urge new med students to do one thing, it would be to make friends with as many people as you can. Get your nice face on. Go to every social occasion, party, drinks after pbl. Channel Jim Carrey in that B-Grade movie that I never saw but could get the entire synopsis by watching the trailer – “Yes-Man”. Say yes to everything. Be NICE to everyone. Don’t write anyone off as weird or creepy, or boring. They’re probably just shy, or tired or on drugs or poorly socialised as a child and kept in a box under the stairs. That doesn’t mean they can’t be your friend right? EVERYONE is going to be your friend.

Why? These people will save your life one day. They will send you an amazing flow chart. They will offer to explain blood pressure regulation. They will bake. My god, will they bake. They will swap notes with you even when yours are terrible. They will explain things in anatomy through song. They will forge your name when miss sign on for a compulsory class. They will go crazy with you during study week and think it’s perfectly normal when you walk into their study room, touch their arm and exclaim desperately  “I just need human contact”. They will kill themselves laughing at your ridiculous musculoskeletal exam and then teach you how to do it properly. They will silently place a hot chocolate in your library cubicle. They will go with you to exam feedback meetings and sternly argue your case. They will conspire to ‘acquire’ as many cannulas as possible to facilitate extracurricular learning. If they’re in the year above, they will give you all their notes, past exam papers and genuinely enquire how you’re doing with each block (and you will do the same to the year below you). They will make everything about this workload, this course, this shitload of note taking and struggling, easier. They will save your life.

And you will find yourself willing to jump off a bridge for them.

If you’re not sold on the warm and fuzzy angle consider;  mathematically, the more contacts you have, the larger your resource pool, the larger your board to bounce ideas off, the larger your support network and the larger your tequila-appreciation circle.  If you want to really step it up, get friendly with the staff. A friendly face as an OSCE marker can be enough to calm your heart rate so that you don’t kill the resus dummy.

Maybe it’s my perception of the culture  in our particular cohort. Maybe it’s the emphasis on our course being ‘non-competitive’.*  Maybe I’ve been reading too many “Buddha’s Tips for Life” pocket books and am slightly delirious at the end of an epic study week. Whatever the reason, I would like buy most people in our school a drink.**

I kind of love you.

*we don’t get given our marks, and are not competing against each other for glory, high ranking places or anything like that. It is US vs Medschool and we are eternally bound together by our incessant fight against admin.

**uh, and I totally would, except my funds from Julia Gillard et al are not quite sufficient right now. raincheck?

Path of least resistance

October 28, 2010

or “How to easily climb a hill”…

I have been climbing hills the wrong way. I’ve been trying to sprint up the highest points because that path looked the quickest, but it ends up being in full sun where I get horribly sunburnt and out of breath in no time with a hideous red face (uh, hills in this case being exams).

No more.

It seems paradoxical that the ‘easy’ path of least resistance is to study every day but it is. There is less stress. I’m not trying to cram things. By taking time to try and understand each concept I’m no longer having anxiety-filled sleepless nights. Its taking longer and requiring more rest stops, but its nicer. Climbing the hill, slowly and steadily but without breaking into a sweat.

Although that’s not to say I look beautifully calm and peaceful.

Au contraire.
I look homeless.
(But maybe leaning towards a homeless buddhist…)

It is possible…

May 22, 2010

Holy mother of god on a stick, it has been done.

I passed a block of exams.

In one go.

Without opening the ‘you will be sitting a supp’ email.

Without the quiet waiting outside the office moment.

Without the knotted gut feeling.

Without the hugs, reassurance and supportive study sessions from friends

Even though that was the only part of the failing process I liked,

it was really quite nice,

not to need it.

A few weeks on and I’m still pinching myself. I have passed something and that’s really all I need. Even if I fail every single block for the next two and a half years and sit every supplementary exam available…

I passed GIT, Endocrine and Reproduction.

Food vs Study

March 29, 2010

Food eaten:

2 x wholemeal toast with baked beans

+ sliver of vegan butter

soy blueberry yoghurt.

Cup of tea.

Half of last nights mushroom stroganoff, rice, green peas, zucchini + snowpeas

Small reward of handful of potato chips in a portion controlled bowl

Soy strawberry yoghurt.

Small bowl of grapes.

Small bowl of watermelon chunks.

Large handful of potato chips.

Hot chocolate

Fruit pole snack fruit thingy

Handful of rockmelon chunks

Another cup of tea.

Orange juice

Microwaved leftover indian with chopped up tomato (added from guilt induced by watching Biggest loser)

Remainder of watermelon chunks eaten out of container

Remainder of rockmelon eaten out of container

Stray grapes eaten off carpet

Piece of freshly baked chocolate cake with sliver large dollop of vegan butter

Smaller piece of chocolate cake.

Spoonfuls of chocolate icing pooling at bottom of cake plate.

Remainder of potato chips from packet

Vegan mayonnaise sandwich.

Scoops of chocolate icing. With fingers.

Large glass of merlot.

Study completed:

One case.


December 6, 2009

I wish I lived in a colder climate so I could wear more clothes. Dutchboy + I were discussing this yesterday. He used to have contempt for the way Australian’s dressed saying that we always wore our clothes a touch too baggy, exclaiming “doesn’t anyone in this country know their clothing size?”. After this “spring” thick heat he finally gets it. Clothes touching your skin are just horrible reminders that you’re not naked. Or in a pool of ice.

My supp was mediocre. Some of the questions were too easy + I feel like I over-answered them in an attempt to show I really did know stuff, even if it was unrelated. Other questions were really hard. I under-answered them. There didn’t seem to be an in between.

Cest la vie. It’s sprummer.* The broadwater is calling. Cold apple cider is waiting.

…and I have a wedding fiesta to plan.

*spring that doesn’t realise its not summer yet

OSCEs + Anatomy + tequila

November 5, 2009

Yesterday was interesting. We had 6 OSCE stations: 3 were focused history taking (one presenting complaint of dyspnoea, one medical/surg/pyscho history + one gynecological pain), 1 was a respiratory exam (just the chest + back), so far so good. Then BAM! random infection control + give first aid to a pulseless dummy electrician, please.

If it wasn’t for me hearing the defibrillator voice through the door while I was waiting, or the student ahead of me mouthing “DR ABC, two breaths, 30 compressions” when he saw my look of terror, I would have totally failed first aid.

The infection control station was hilarious. Firstly because I vaguely remember doing infection control on our first day back of semester 2 + being really tired, yawning + thinking one of the demonstrators had a bit too much bling jewellery + duckbilled masks were cool. That was the extent of my memory of infection control. Secondly when we walked in to a room there was an arm on a trolley covered in blood that we had to pretend was a person, + chat to for 5 minutes while we put on all the protective equipment we would if we were preparing to inspect the wound. There was also a trolley with all the protective equipment on it. Which would have been really awesome.

If I’d seen it.

Idiot-features that I am, I just washed my hands, struggled for 2 minutes getting my gloves on because my hands were still wet then kind of poked the arm + said classic gems like “oooh. That looks…er…deep. um. does it hurt? um. lets take a look at that a bit closer, hey? hmmn. um. soooo…”

I even thought, as I was inspecting the big drawn-on-texta-wound, “Wow, that probably would be squirting me in the eye. I have imaginary blood in my eye. Right now.” It was only as I was leaving I saw the big freaking trolley of PPE behind me. Aprons, goggles, masks etc.

Anatomy was fine. A couple of random things but mostly stuff (I thought) I knew. Made up a few nerve names for good measure. There may be an External Urethral Sphincter Nerve. You never know.

You also never know when your bogan-binge-drinking-alter ego is going to emerge. Mine is called Debbie + she can drink straight tequila without wincing. Even the trusted vegemite on toast didn’t stop the toilet hugging session this morning.

It was worth it.

Admin Strikes Again

November 3, 2009

8:30am Arrive at campus for ‘exam briefing’

8:30-8:45am am hang around outside wondering what the eff we need to be briefed about

8:45-9:00am Get ‘briefed’ on exam & leave more confused

9:10am get seated in exam room ready for exam to start at 9:30. Start chatting to people nearby.

9:30am notice lack of exam papers on desk + confused looking exam monitor people. Keep chatting.

9:45am announcement that exam papers are “coming” soon. They’re “just being printed.”


you know,

that couldn’t have been done at an earlier point in time.

10:00am Announcement made that exam paper are definitely “coming” in twenty minutes. Cue: laughter, mass exodus from room, people buying food, cigarettes being lit, generalised bitching about why on earth we though this time would be different.

10:25am start exam.

At least it broke the nerves?


Déjà vu

September 17, 2009

Six weeks to go until exams:

One more week of Respiratory block.

One week of break

Three weeks of Renal block

One week of Exam study…


Is there some vortex where time goes? I’d like to find it + slip inside for a while so I can catch my breath a little.

How to tell its Study Week:

June 22, 2009

I just attempted to open my front door by swiping my uni access card over the keyhole.