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November 29, 2020, 08:55:49 pm

Author Topic: Just a guy in med school  (Read 4356 times)

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justaloser

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Re: Just a guy in med school
« Reply #45 on: October 25, 2020, 08:38:52 pm »
+7
Weekly update. I cannot believe there are two weeks left of the first year of university; the sun's staying out for longer, the end-of-year fatigue is settling in, there's talk of exam revision all over the place. Summer is looming near and hopefully with it, eased restrictions and a bit more freedom.

Decent week this week.

I had a chat with a faculty member, who ensured me my mental health was fine and advised me to review some past exam questions just to make sure I'm able to study with a direction (she suspected that I'm studying more than I need to, which I agree but also disagree with). Funny that -- in VCE I had a very good idea of what to revise, maybe because of the study design system and ubiquity of past exams/commercial exams, but now I'm completely thrown off. That's just the HS-Uni transition at work, I suppose.

I've gone through one past exam for Semester 2 and one for Sem 1 without having revised first, just to check my knowledge. Semester 2's past exam was fine -- I was surprised that I could get almost all the answers correct. Sem 1, not so much -- I went through it in a call with other classmates and we had an extreme amount of difficulty with immunology, which happened to be 90% of the paper, literally. At least it's good that I know to spend time on immunology (never understood the MHCs, I forgot the complement system components anyway) University exams are so much simpler than high school, really...

In terms of content, the past week was asynchronous and focused on the heart; I've learnt a lot, like how to read ECGs, the coronary arteries, atherosclerosis, hypertension, reading arrhythmias, heart attacks, taking the cardiovascular history.. phew. Anatomy's also thrown at us a myriad of lectures (I htink easily >3 hours?) which were a pain to get through, but more tedious than difficult -- the embryology of the heart, the thoracic cage and diaphragm and the adult heart's anatomy. But at the end of the day, it's still satisfying to get closer to viewing the body as an intricate, interwoven "whole" rather than isolated systems and areas; compartment syndrome makes more sense when you can understand how fluid can get to the place where it starts compressing stuff.

Thank goodness for textbooks; Katzung's pharmacology and Hampton's The ECG Made Easy have been really great for learning about alpha/beta blockers (for this week anyway, it's always been a stalwart source of info) and learning how to read ECGs. In fact, The ECG Made Easy was better at explaining some other stuff than the faculty notes.

Take care, and good luck with your exam revision!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 09:53:41 am by justaloser »
2019: 99.00
2020-24: Monash Uni MBBS (Bonded)

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justaloser

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Re: Just a guy in med school
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2020, 12:19:31 pm »
+9
Short update

We are almost at the end. Half of pre-clin is about to be over. All the tutes are over -- there's just one last goodbye tomorrow morning.

Continued studying the cardiovascular system. We've gone through so much -- there's a myriad of drugs to combat hypertension, high cholesterol, arrhythmias ... and I actually learnt how to spell rhythm for the first time in my life. Some fun things I learnt about this week included spontaneous coronary artery dissection, where your heart arteries basically burst without predisposing risk factors and it imitates a heart attack.

Studying for exams has been a bit tough. I've attempted about 4 so far as a diagnostic tool and have gotten passing marks, but have still been beating myself up over it just because I feel like I'm really behind in a lot of aspects. That's one of the constants of med school -- you think you're on top of things but you really aren't. You know nothing. You can score an 80% on one quiz and barely pass a practice exam. And that's immensely frightening yet awe-inspiring -- there's just so much to learn. I suppose it's made me more humble too -- I'm not anyone in particular, just someone trying to grow and learn.

I've also been heading down to uni to salvage what little of the first-year experience lockdown took away from us this year. It's been good -- splashing my money on coffee (uh oh), seeing friends in the flesh, studying together. Although I usually only spend an hour or two actually focused on studying at uni, those hours feel a lot more focused and well-directed.

Moving forward, my main areas of attack will be biochemistry, revising clinical examinations of the lower leg and population health, which in particular I cannot remember the formulas to. Very grim -- I hope that I can scrape by and make it past the 50% mark. But those are the main areas I've failed to recall for my practice exams, alongside HLSD, HEP and neuroanatomy. I'll also write a email thanking my clinical tutor for the support she's given me when I reached out for help.

Medicine truly is the intersection between science, the humanities and simple interpersonal communication. I'm glad that I'm learning what I am. Good luck with your exams
2019: 99.00
2020-24: Monash Uni MBBS (Bonded)

My DMs are open if you want to ask any questions about Eng/Econ/Med stuff.

My Med School journal

justaloser

  • Forum Regular
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  • Posts: 59
  • I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
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Re: Just a guy in med school
« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2020, 12:10:27 am »
+7
First year's done.

Exams were over a few days ago but I've been awash in the freedom (that somehow only first-year medical students contrary to stereotyping) of no class. Perhaps I should be happy; our tutor told us to enjoy our break because it'd be one of few we'd get in medical school. How ominous.

The exams themselves were alright -- the first (sem1) was definitely a bit 'out-there' with the questions asked, but then again I definitely neglected that content for sem 2. Speaking of which, semester 2's exam was definitely better -- a lot of very accessible content (I've read about the Trendelenberg test in practice exams so much that I've essentially memorised the positive sign) but also a few obscure questions I was puzzled by. Nevertheless, I'm just satisfied/relieved by the fact they're over. And the faculty has been overwhelmingly kind to us with our assessments -- it's almost concerning given that we're probably being coddled too much before future years.

In the past few weeks I've been going to university to study with friends, meet people, even just see people physically and trees and the sky (oh, what staying indoors for three months does to a man). How crazy it is, that one year ago I was and only now I'm getting a taste of the university life that I was told so much about. A pre-exam detox from social media served me well and gave me the chance to read The Death of Ivan Ilych -- an absolute BANGER of a read (lol), highly relevant to medical school (the concepts of illness and suffering, life and death, the coldness of medical professionals) and probably my gateway drug into Tolstoy.

In terms of my goals for the year, I've at least met 3 -- got a negative COVID-19 test, have gone for kebabs with friends (not exactly -- I was peer-pressured into getting a HSP to share) and I have maintained a 70% average (a bit above that actually but hey, Ps get MDs).

I'll write a full review of the whole year soon.
2019: 99.00
2020-24: Monash Uni MBBS (Bonded)

My DMs are open if you want to ask any questions about Eng/Econ/Med stuff.

My Med School journal

justaloser

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  • I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
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Re: Just a guy in med school
« Reply #48 on: 4 minutes ago »
0
Okay I'm going to chunk this reflection up into parts because I don't think I could write it all in one go.

Reflection on the year pt. 1
When the Monash medical faculty moved all of our classes online, before the other faculties did, I was quite saddened; many plans for the year such as joining clubs, having nights out and simply just meeting new people seemed to completely disappear. It felt quite unfair but, at the same time, I was still quite awestruck by everything – the online portal, the new way of doing things, the initial novelty of online classes – so the idea of losing out on the “jaffy experience” wasn’t completely occupying my mind. Even the first week’s content itself seemed so mystifying although looking back, it was VCE Bio 3&4 (and it sucked).

Now, I can confidently say that although this year was certainly unprecedented and uniquely challenging (I’ve gotten to the point where I resort to buzzwords), I’ve still had the jaffy experience. Although I have yet to push a revolving door or even attend a single O-week event, I’ve still managed to grow as a person.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, this year has really highlighted the importance of mental health. Perhaps it’s been all the time alone, or maybe it’s being around students who have had similar experiences to be able to openly talk about and reflect on mental health issues.

Impostor Syndrome - the elephant in the room
Keep in mind this is all anecdotal.
It’s highly relieving and yet concerning to realise that there are indeed so many other people that suffer from constantly comparing themselves to others. There's a prevalent problem where one idolises someone who they’ve only seen one facet of; just because someone can come up an impressive differential diagnosis in a tutorial with doesn’t mean that they have their own weaknesses and insecurities.

I say this because I’ve been in both situations and it's not ideal: to be held up higher than you are makes you feel like a fraud or put excessive pressure on you to perform, and to hold up others based on small interactions unnecessarily hurts yourself. It's also quite isolating; you might not want to approach someone who seems intimidating or "too good" for you, which only results in a potential friendship being cut short.

When meeting a high school acquaintance again as a friend (our only interactions together were in an English club), we both admitted that we each thought ourselves “too nerdy” or “too dumb” to be each others’ friends, even though the two of us have so much to appreciate about each other. It’s interactions like these that make me realise that first impressions often lie.

To talk about this stuff is definitely sobering, and usually takes a silent, calm night somewhere and the implicit consent of the other people you’re with. But whenever people have been able to share their experiences such as those of impostor syndrome, I feel like all listening do benefit from knowing that it’s more of a disease of perception rather than reality. After this year, I’ve realised that it’s not about whether someone is better or worse than you in an absolute way; someone may know more about one topic than you, but you might have better studying technique for example. There’s always things in certain fields or areas to learn from someone and vice-versa.

That being said, I must say that this is not meant to belittle people, it’s about being realistic and realising that others are often not omnipotent. 

Another note:
I also appreciate the university’s acknowledgement that medical students do suffer from a lot of issues. I know that personally, the staff I have talked to have been extremely supportive of mental health issues and insecurities, even being able to take time out to talk to students (not just me) and counsel them and encourage seeking help.
2019: 99.00
2020-24: Monash Uni MBBS (Bonded)

My DMs are open if you want to ask any questions about Eng/Econ/Med stuff.

My Med School journal