Archive for August 2008

How to Survive Semester 1 – Part 1

August 29, 2008

Now that I am safely set for Semester 2, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I’ve learned with the incoming first semesters. Some of these tips are in the ‘do as I say, not as I’ve done’ category but hopefully, someone will heed them and use them to rock the term.

 General Study Tips

  • Pre-Reading is Good

Abandoning my pre-reading routine is probably what caused my disasterous downfall on Mini III.

Here’s what I Used to Do:

Prior to a given lecture, I’d go through the lecture handout and make my notes (this would usually take forty-five minutes to an hour for a two-hour lecture). During lecture, I’d follow along and make notes on my notes, highlighting anything the lecturer emphasized, amended or edited. Then, sometime later in the day, I’d read the notes again.

Here’s what you should do:

My routine was a bit more involved than what is generally recommened but any amount of pre-reading is beneficial. Ideally, pre-reading is only a part of your process (same day post-reading and weekend review round it out) but it is critical. If anything, it allows you to multi-task during lecture beacuse you know what’s being covered (so you can catch up on email, chat on Facebook, etc.).

  • Study Groups are Better

Once Mini I scores come out, people generally have a good idea of where their strengths lie and who’s extra-clever in which subjects. If someone is talking about how they aced biochem while waiting on line at Subway, don’t be afraid to ask them when they study and if you can study with them. Have no shame. Don’t worry that you’re being a leech. Small study groups are beneficial because they allow exchange of information and by explaining concepts to others, one can crystallize one’s own knowledge. Study groups work especially well for biochem and physio. 


終わりの始まり第2 – The End and the Beginning

August 28, 2008

Perhaps I’m a bit over-dramatic.

Dear readers, I have survived my first semester of med school and will be returning to Ross in September as a second semester student. The good news is that I actually managed bring histology up high enough to offset the disaster that was Mini III. The bad news is that I only managed to pull one A. Because of this, I may not be able to take the SGA position (Student Health Rep) I was elected to. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it won’t be the end of the world. It’s far better than the fate I feared, having to repeat the entire semester.


The Valley of the Shadow of Death

August 18, 2008

(or Weeping May Endure for a Night…)

These have been dark days and there’s yet another battle to be fought. We just got the results of Mini III today (yes, a day before the final) and while it wasn’t an unmitigated disaster, it puts me in a very precarious position. Here’s the sitch: if I don’t score above 70 in every section of the exam, I will have to repeat my first semester of med school.

I need to pause here, the dread is nearly overwhelming.

Prior to receiving my Mini III scores, 70 wouldn’t have seemed like a big deal. I thought that I’d be able to finish with a pack of As. Now, my fate rides on histology. Even if I get an A in every other subject (which would be a miracle at this point), if I don’t score above MPS on histo, I will have to repeat THE ENTIRE SEMESTER. The first repeater I met here was slain by histo and I vowed that that wouldn’t be me. Now…

The air is thick with desperation. Today in the fishbowl, a girl fainted, or had a seizure, I wasn’t close enough to ascertain – I just know that the atmosphere had one of us laid out on the floor and the rest of us frightened for our futures. One more night remains. By this time tomorrow, it will be over. Wish me luck.

終わりの始まり – The Beginning of the End of Semester 1

August 4, 2008

After an insane amount of hassle and confusion that made me wonder if it was perhaps some sort of divine warning against air travel, I have finally managed to book flights to return home for break. Initially, I thought I could make it until December but, as lovely as Dominica is, it’s no paradise – I need to come back home, even if only for a couple of weeks. So, I will be back in Queens from August 20th – September 7th, spending time with friends and family, clearing up health issues and stocking up on island essentials (school supplies, snacks and cute cotton dresses!). Extra special thanks to my father – I take it for granted that not everyone’s dad is there to help out when one is essentially frozen out of one’s funds because of assorted issues to do with living abroad and banking domestically. I’m extremely lucky that even though I am technically a grown woman, I can still count on my parents to come through in a clutch. If fathers were graded, they’d have to come up with a new letter to convey my daddy’s awesomeness.

This may be the last update until after I’m back in Queens, or at least, until I’m waiting for my flight to board at the airport. This Thursday, we have the anatomy and histology lab practicals (back to back). Mini III takes place on August 14th and the comprehensive final will be held on August 19th (that’s right – we get 5 days to study 4 months of material). In fact, I should be studying right now! Okay, I’ll get back to work. Wish me knowledge, confidence and luck – I’ll need them for these final battles.