Archive for February 2009

Best In Show

February 21, 2009

I’ve had some really interesting thoughts over the past week about the quality of the education I’m receiving, the nature of education in general and what it is that makes a teacher a “good” teacher – what it is that sets apart the ‘teacher’ from the ‘lecturer’ and what it is about them that makes one actually want to go to class everyday. I suppose I have a unique perspective on this, having been a teacher (and tutor and facilitator) myself in a past, pre-med school life. Even now, I wonder how cool it might have been to TA anatomy (had I managed As in semesters 1 and 2). There’s a distinction between a person who knows their material as in one who is well-learned, lauded even, for his research, brilliance, etc. and a person who may not be as celebrated but can effectively transfer her knowledge to others. It seems that either of these hypothetical people can get a position teaching. The question is, whose class would you like to attend?

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If only, if only…

February 18, 2009

…more exam questions were like this:

A woman presents with hemorrhagic enterocolitis… of the ass. Which of the following is the most likely cause of her rectal bleeding?
a) A succulent, juicy New York strip.
b) A tender, grilled lamb shank with mint jelly.
c) A Morton’s gourmet hamburger, hand ground from rump meat.
d) Duck L’Orange.

Last week, I was hit with a bit of post-Mini malaise. Between the crisis of the exam center sending out incorrect scores twice (which nearly gave one of my pals a heart attack), the reception of my actual scores (2 As, 2…not As), and the clash of the classroom and real life, I was feeling really drained. However, once Mini I rolls around, there’s barely any time to lick wounds before Mini II is upon us, so I really needed to get back in gear. Luckily, I have awesome friends who know how to cheer me up and a ruthless internal drill sergeant. I really need to step up my game in pharm and from here on in, micro needs special attention. Let’s hope that the Lippincott textbook I ordered a month ago comes in one of these days…

Oh, by the way, the answer is c. Stop by this hilarious blog for some “medical tragicomedy”.

Bugs, Drugs and Chocolate Agar

February 10, 2009

Being a third semester is quite a bit like being a first semester. Even though we third semesters theoretically know the ropes, we embark on new courses of study in subjects we may not have had previous exposure to so for us, there’s a level of excitement but also a level of uncertainty as we approach Mini I. Yesterday afternoon we were tested on everything we’ve covered since the semester began a month ago, 4 weeks of antiadregnergics and antimuscarinics, pharmacokinetics, medical ethics and law, inflammation, tissue repair, T cells, B cells, complement and cocci. Even if it sounds like a lot, I assure you, that’s not the half of it. Out of 126 questions, I was only certain about my answers to maybe half? A third? I suppose the results will let me know just how well I learned the first block.

Today we begin the second block. I’m currently sitting in a microbiology lecture, learning about haemophilus and other nasty infective organisms. I wish I could focus but after an exam, I can’t help but castigate myself, wishing I’d studied harder and more efficiently from the beginning and fervently vow to improve. Perhaps if I’d started making my drug flashcards earlier, I wouldn’t have had to rely on the song I came up with to remember Atenolol (to the tune of Disturbia) the night before the test (unfortunately, there was not a single question about atenolol). It’s not too late to turn my micro notebook into a book of bugs or buy pre-made pharmacology flashcards.  It’s early yet and at least 75% of the grade in each class is still in the air. Maybe today will be the turnaround and I’ll actually do what I mean to do.

Chocolate agar is not actually chocolate. It’s just slowly-heated blood, perfect for plating haemophilus cultures. Happy Valentine’s Day (in advance)!