Monday, September 6, 2010

Out of the harbor and into the hurricane.....

When we were in orientation, we were told that this first month was the equivalent of the harbor. So then of course the question comes up as to why. Well we are not fully in all of our classes yet, we only started dissecting in gross anatomy last week and are not fully invested in that as of yet. We also have not really started Biochemistry, which when we begin this week will be more hours per week. And of course Intro to Clinical Medicine has also been off of our radar screen and that starts on Friday morning. The test schedule also ramps up, we will have a Biochem quiz/test every week on Friday starting next week along with the OMM weekly workshop quizzes. In addition to those, by the end of September I will also have the second Histology written exam, the second Histology practical exam, the first anatomy case quiz to do, the first anatomy quiz, the first anatomy mini practical, the first OMM written, the first OMM practical, a paper to work on for History of Medicine and of course the White Coat Ceremony to attend. Phew, I am tired just considering all of that, much less doing I guess that is why they told us to be prepared for the hurricane that is coming after Labor day....well ladies and gentlemen, I say bring it on!! I know I am crazy to do so, but having worked for such a long time to even get here to this point I am trying to relish everything and embrace these challenges.

So, what has my experience been and the lessons I have learned from this harbor period that I will have to incorporate going ahead into the infamous hurricane.....

1. A stand alone chest or upright freezer is going to be a must.
We have a side-by-side fridge/freezer combo in the kitchen, which unfortunately does not leave much room in the freezer portion. I wanted one of the fridge/freezer combos that has the fridge on top and the freezer beneath in a drawer but we could not find one that would fit underneath our cabinet above the area where it is in the kitchen when we were looking. On a complete aside, why put a cabinet there to begin with, it is not like anyone actually puts anything there much less can reach that unless you are using as tool. But I digress. So we used to have an extra fridge/freezer in our garage but after many years of loyal service it went kaput on us. We have to this point not yet replaced it, but we have reached the decision that we need to do so in fairly short order. The commute home has been not quite fun (more on this later), which is leaving me struggling to have dinner ready at a semi decent hour. So to not have to rely on take out and fast food so often, we are going to invest in a stand up freezer to stock up with various items from Market day and ready-to-make items from the store to easily be made in short order as well as to have stuff on hand that I can place in the crock pot in the morning that will be ready in the evening and also to store extra casseroles, etc that I can make on the weekends.

2. The commute sucks and I need to figure out how to make more productive time of the 10-12 hours a week I am spending in the car.
It is times like this, when roads are under heavy construction, that I wish I either lived closer to campus or I was attending a campus where taking public transportation. I will say one thing and one thing only...road construction sucks!!! I do not know that I will ever be as happy to hail cooler weather and snow as it means the end of this road construction and the reversion of my commute time to an hour rather than the hour twenty to an hour forty five it can be right now. I have tried going various side roads but the commute time is either the same due to the presence of stoplight or in many cases increased. I think for now the best thing I can do in the morning is get off a few exits earlier since the exit where I normally get off is really kind of crazy in the morning, especially with the new lane divisions into an "express" (one lane) and "local" (two lanes). Needless to say I will be very happy to see snow and hail the end of the construction season here in Chi-town. So I need to figure out how to maximize my commute time. I do record the lectures, but I am used to looking at the words on the page while I listen to them so I can follow along. I have found through the years that I am neither a strictly auditory or visual learner but rather a blend between the two...I not only need to hear but I also have to see at the same time for my brain to make the maximum number of connections between material. I think I may try to listen to them by themselves or perhaps recording myself reading the material or guidelines or something. I have to figure out a way to make this time not a waste. Although it is nice to relax and not think about school sometimes, I think I can put some of it to use.

3. I can do this.
This, I think, is the most important lesson of the past 4 weeks. Of the tests and quizzes I have had so far, my absolute lowest score was an 84% and that was in the first Histology writtem (multiple choice) exam. Other than that, every test I have taken has been in the A range so I have to say I am pretty satisfied with myself. Whatever doubt I have left gets slightly smaller with each grade, with each success.

So while I know I have some adjustments to make, and I am slightly glad that I have had this introductory period to determine what those adjustments may be, I have to say that overall the first month has been an overwhelming success.
I love where I am....I know that I am where I am destined to be, doing what I am destined to do. That word gets thrown out a lot....destiny. But I know that I am now doing what I am supposed to be doing.

So here is to surviving the harbor....and facing the hurricane head on.