Posts Tagged ‘university’

how to write a form (or “the clinical years”)

September 6, 2011

I should be recording the events of this year.
This ridiculous, ridiculous year.
This year that started on the 10th of January, with one week holiday in June and 47 something weeks of uni with early starts, late nights, being stuck in surgery, being humiliated, being triumphant (in the smallest of things), being crushed, being humbled, witnessing the slowest of deaths, the swiftest of deaths, the slowest of births, the swiftest of births, the phelgm, the blood, the tears, the families (oh god, the families), the residents, the registrars, the consultants, the nurses, the hospital food, the free lunches, the hilarious patients, the sad patients, the angry patients, the stitch cutting, the blood taking, the holding of surgical instruments, the firsts, the moments of clarity (with their emphatic promises that you will NEVER go into that speciality/do that procedure/watch another one of those/do another one of those ever again), the learning. The godforsaken learning.
So much learning.
The fevered collection of tips and tricks scrawled onto scraps of papers, or hands.

How to organise your day as an intern, how to tick all the boxes, where to put the Xray form in, who to call when the login won’t work for the blood results, where to find staff phone numbers on the intranet directory, how to write a request form, a consult form, a *insert anything* form, where to get a coffee at any hour of the day, how to request an MRI or angiogram and actually get it, how to answer a question without actually answering it, how to look interested whilst mentally doing your shopping list, how to actually say something other that “um… increase in squiggly lines” when interpreting an ECG, how to placate to angry famillies/coworkers/patients/cafeteria staff, how to avoid killing someone.
That last one is reaaaaally tricky.
My expectations have shrunken so that instead of aiming to be super-mega-doctor. I’m going to start with “Not killing people” and then build on that.

I’ve noticed that all this learning, accumulating has become addictive. If I spend too much time off, wandering, floating through op shops, visiting family or reading books I actually start to get down. I get itchy, feeling like I should be doing more. Overwhelmed by this guilt of “Oh god. I could have learnt SO much in this day and I frittered it away”. There is something unsettling, unnerving about becoming aware of the potential of a days learning. What a day wasted can mean.

Despite this, there are days (often concurrent) when I live in my pyjamas, eat over the sink, forget to brush my hair and don’t go into uni at all. The perfect antidote.


Putting in the hours.

October 25, 2010

A pearl of wisdom found in this post from “The long road to medical school”

there is this myth that you have to be “smart” to do well in hard science classes. The truth is that they just require more solid knowledge and practice than social science/humanities classes and leave very little room for BS. But in the end, I think hard science classes are easier in a way because you won’t get a B+ if your professor disagrees with your interpretation of the text. You either know the material or you don’t, and that is completely within your control.


You just have to put in the hours.

I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been putting in the hours. Neuro, psych and musculoskeletal hit me for six. Despite putting in the hours I had to sit a supp.

So, I put in more hours.

(passed the supp)

Now, we have three weeks until our last exams for the year. There is a computer chair in the library with the exact impression of my butt from the hours I’ve been putting in.

Last year I had no concept of the hours required to learn this volume of information.I think emotions and a sense of entitlement to some form of creative-god-given-freedom hindered my ability to be a solid studier last year. I would get upset about the idea of spending all weekend in the library. It was unthinkable. Torture. A huge sacrifice.

I even printed off Albert Einstein’s quote “Never regard study as a duty, but as an enviable opportunity to learn” in an attempt to boost my productivity. But it was only recently that I “got” it. It isn’t a duty at all. It is awesome to study this stuff. It’s amazing I was able to dissect a body part this semester. It’s incredible that in two years this “torture” and “sacrifice” has turned me  from someone who couldn’t stand blood into someone who strokes non-med friend’s hands at dinner and says hypnotically “you have great veins…I’d really like to practice cannulation on veins like that”

Last year I was fearful of exams, anxious about results and full of self doubt. I felt like I’d scraped through to second year without deserving it. This year with this weird enthusiasm that’s started to bubble up, I feel like I want to put in more. Study more. Spend weekends reviewing. It makes me feel a little more in control and less likely to periodically fall in a heap.

I just can’t believe it took nearly two years to realise what my mum has been telling me for years.

Just go to the library. And then study. Repeat.

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.

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.

Excuse me while I spew forth my brain

February 2, 2009


OOOH! I know the answer!

OOOH! I know the answer!














This afternoon I experienced for the first time medical terminology diarrhoea (MTD). It seems to affect a very small minority of students with biomedical science backgrounds. Symptoms include: extreme seriousness, a penchant for sitting in the front row, inability to be concise, + spasms of the arm causing it to raise above the head after any question, however simple or rhetorical, is asked. 

While I’m sure I will find it annoying in the near future, today I was thoroughly entertained + informed. I had (normal) biomed grads either side of me to decipher.

SCENE: Lecture theatre, afternoon, student with MTD babbles endlessly

me (picking up the only word I could pronounce): *whispers* what the frick is a lipid?

grad: fattiness..stuff… like, in the blood…

me: oh. 

Student with MTD continues to babble before winding up with a smug smile.


Lecturer: Um. Yes. That is correct, but I would have accepted the answer “He’s overweight”.

Impending first day of big school

January 27, 2009

polka-dot-school-backpackWhen I buy nice shiny dresses shop assistants ask if I’m excited about my year ten formal. If I dare to accompany my mother somewhere on a weekday I’m asked why I’m “so lucky to be having a day off school, dear?” 

Yes, when I’m forty I’ll be grateful, but at the moment all I’m cracking is a slightly amused fake-smile through gritted teeth. Those of us small in stature can get sick of being treated like we’re prepubescents. On the upside I am used to cheaper movie tickets. On the downside, I’ve contemplated tattooing my ID on my forehead more than once as, evidently, jumping up and down, huffing to the club doorbitch “I’m twenty effing three!” doesn’t make one seem any more mature than club doorbitch assumes one to be… 

So it’s the understatement of the century to say that my excitement at the prospect of being able to casually drop that I’m doing a postgraduate degree is up there. 

Despite how rad the bag in the photo is, I think I’ll give it a miss lest I be shooed out of the med school grounds and frogmarched to the nearby primary school. Ahem.