Friday, October 18, 2013
I got through my first barrage of exams and made it out with As and Bs. I call this the gauntlet because our exams in the program are all at the same time, beginning on a Thursday and running until the following Thursday. There is definitely no time to cram when there is an exam almost every day for a week.
I learned a lot about myself in that week, for example:
1.) I have never had to study that hard in my life. I was up until 3 am several nights, and both my mother and my fiance were incredulous that I really was still studying and not screwing around. At all. I honestly made it all the way through 5 years of undergrad never having pulled a real, honest-to-goodness all-nighter, even when I had massive papers to write.
2.) I spent most of my time screwing around before this. I have always had issues working on the computer. Anytime I'd lose focus, I'd start clicking around Facebook or Spark (back when I sparked a lot) just to be doing anything other than what I was supposed to be doing. I now know what it feels like to stay on task for six hours or more, and I was pretty amazed.
3.) I never knew HOW to study. Seriously. I've always been told how bloody brilliant I am, and everyone in my family has always assumed I worked my backside off. Not so much, really. I basically winged it in undergrad, and I never really studied the same way twice. I never used flashcards and I got by just reading my textbooks once, handwriting my notes in lecture, and maybe rewriting them if I got stuck. What I discovered in anatomy is that I never really tested my recall, which is the absolute best way to solidify connections in the brain between concepts.
4.) Flashcards suck. I always hated flashcards because I felt so wasteful writing one line or two on a 3x5 card and nothing else. I don't know why I thought it would be better this time, but I used them for anatomy and they didn't help at all. I'm over flashcards.
I really learned how to study this time. I used flashcards for anatomy, like I said, and after that exam I felt like I had bombed it completely (I hadn't, but I didn't know that until a week later). I got home and sat down at my computer and affirmed that I needed to come up with a high-output, efficient method of memorizing a vast amount of information in a very short amount of time. It needed to work and it needed to work NOW. So, I opened up my lecture videos (all the lectures for the entire health complex are recorded) and a Word document and started reviewing every lecture, marking extra things on my class notes and writing myself a fill-in-the-blank, short-answer worksheet as I went. My worksheets ended up around 12-18 pages long for each course, and I tested myself on every possible detail. I ended up not having enough time to finish reviewing this way for one class, so I ended up with a B in that one, a B in anatomy, and As in the two that I successfully completed my own mini-test for. Pretty sure I've hit the jackpot.
So clearly, the method of choice for me is to self-test often, and review lectures at least twice. I'm reviewing sooner rather than later, too. No more all-nighters. Those suck as well.
Besides school, it's been... interesting adjusting to having two men in the house. I had absolutely no idea how much men ate until the Skinny Fiance and the Marine moved in. There are rarely leftovers. As a result of having two more people and more than doubling the amount of food being eaten, there are some not-so-paleo things for dinner when I'm not cooking. This week my mom made her chili, which has beans in it, stuffed green peppers, which have rice and cheese in them, and we had pizza one night, which is about as paleo as an iPhone. I'm okay with it though. I've maintained 100% good-for-me breakfasts and lunches, and I only ate the above meals for one meal. because earlier in the week I had to whip out the big guns and pull a Whole7 because my sugar and carb intake was out of control. Having no exceptions works FAR better for me than moderation. I feel much better now. I wish I could do another Whole30, but with the grocery situation as it stands, it would be virtually impossible. All I can do is eat well for the meals I control, and eat as best I can for the meals I can't control.
I'm also considering a facebook fast. I love being connected to my family and my friends, but I am seeing so many posts that are making me angry to the point that I can't articulate my counterarguments. I'm especially incensed about all the articles that are being shared supposedly elucidating the "truth" about vaccines, which are out in full-force since it's flu season. I would get on my soap box, but I'm enjoying my morning so far. Suffice it to say that vaccinations do NOT cause autism--the physician-researcher who published the article correlating vaccinations with autism was found to have falsified his data and was stripped of all grants AND his medical license sometime between 2004 and 2007, but as we all know, celebrity endorsement of an idea makes it true regardless of what science ACTUALLY says. Flu shots are NOT contraindicated for the immunocompromised, in fact, the immunocompromised are better served by flu shots than any other population. The flu virus in the flu shot is NOT active, and it is not inferior to "natural" immunity. Immunity gained by any vaccine is the same immunity you get if you catch the virus: your immune system has to recognize a virus in order to attack it. Vaccines introduce a killed or attenuated (inactive) virus to your immune system, so that it can recognize the "real thing" should you be exposed to it later. The practical upshot is that any symptoms you get from the vaccine are from the immune system attacking the dead/inactive invader, and are much milder than the destruction caused by a live infection followed by the full-on immune response.
Sorry about the rant. I get really irritated when the most health-conscious people in our society are the same ones who refuse to accept that not all medical interventions are evil, and that people used to die horrible deaths prior to innovations like vaccines and antibiotics, which as far as public health are second ONLY to sanitation and availability of clean water.
Okay, well, its time for breakfast now. Cheers!