May 21, 2008

Perhaps more clarification is in order

Heh, but man oh man, a week of exams is exhausting!

So a bit of a breakdown...

Last Monday was the path exam, as mentioned, and it absolutely lived up to its expectations of being grisly, long, and taking students' hearts/minds with it, which makes it an absolutely perfect way to start off the week, because nothing encourages people to continue cramming for the relentless mental stress of three more exams like gut-punching them with the first one.

On the plus side, thanks to a lot of awesome lab groupness keeping from being the Jill McProcrastinatey that I *normally* am, I managed to drag through path with enough of a safety net that I have some wiggle room with finals.

Some unfortunates got the unique pleasure of having their Physical Diagnosis lab exam on the same DAY as the path exam, which approaches a level of evil that can't be contemplated because mainly everyone wants to go home, sleep, study, or cry. Fortunately that day, from rumor, the graders were kind, because come on... it's hard to question and test a patient when the morning's activities left you questioning whether you want to continue on at all.

I got the 9 am lab exam the next day, and scored vitals and rapport before drawing a complete blank on my archnemesis, the eye, and ended up standing there trying not to fall asleep in exhaustion and frustration or just cry that I wanted a nap (I hate 9 am; I do) as I got barraged with questions and my patient defended me (I did ask him if he usually needed corrective lenses, dang!). I also want bonus credit for noticing the patient's eyes were a little icteric despite having no known pre-existing condition which, after getting drilled on what I meant by "sclera appears yellow but not necessarily beyond the limits of normal findings" (nothing sucks more than being inexperienced and getting a borderline symptom, since you want to get a diagnosis if there is one, but don't have enough experience to defend your diagnosis, and if you make one, you're going to have to), led to the patient getting genuinely asked if he was feeling all right.

I think finding pathologies in patients not known to have any should get extra credit, right? Fortunately, the grading was still kind, and I shuffled home to spend the next day and a half cramming micro flashcards into my gullet until I spewed ETEC, EHEC, EIEC, and EIEIO from every orifice. Gods, I hate E. coli and its multiple-variant diarrhea-ness. It's not inflammatory! It's inflammatory! There's no blood! There's blood! There's no blood and then there's blood! It's self-limiting! It's fatal! It's everything that makes you appreciate why there are so many species of microorganisms because learning 5000 species is easier than learning 5000 variants of shifting pathologies on a single species that is the same species as stuff that's *normally* found in your colon. Gah.

I felt pretty decent going into micro. I did a lot of work on it despite being bludgeoned by path study, and knew full well that almost everyone in fourth term was in exactly the same position of path overkill with micro dearth and they can't fail everyone.

Secondly, thanks to the initiation of the much-reviled TBL sessions based on our need for diversity (riiiiight), we got the 5% that's part of our grade no it's bonus no it's part of our grade. The TBL is to the course curriculum what E. coli is to the course material in that it's something with a shifting presentation that is nearly impossible to pin down without specific training.

Since we couldn't get a solid answer on what the TBL was worth (though the quizzes were always bonus), I treated them as a part of my grade and actually read the 20 page articles so I could take the IRAT (individual quizzes) and TRAT (same quiz, done as your group), and do decently well on them, because I figured if I didn't, they were DEFINITELY going to be part of our grade, and I was going to miss it by a point because of them.

Well, due to the announcement screwups and the general ire of the class at having the whole point of the IRAT/TRAT to teach us that we do better on exams when we collaborate on them with five other people (duh), and taught us to conspire against the department on peer evaluations, they got made bonus points! Which means micro became a gimme.

Even with this announcement prior to the final, I was first of all, afraid they were going to still yank it back, and second, afraid they were going to take out *their* ire on us by making an exam entirely consistent of drawing the specific genome of all 900 types of E. coli.

Exam was fair AND we got the TBL and quizzes as bonus points, bringing the class average to a spanktastic 86% and me to a very happy Ishie indeed. Well, it did today, when we got the results. Friday I mainly felt tired. As did everyone else. Though the responses coming out of the exam were markedly different. Coming out Monday I thought "Well, I was prepared as I was gonna get but DAYAM" with people's reactions being pretty grim, while on Friday, the reactions coming out of the micro exam were pretty much "Well, that was not half as bad as it could have been."

Friday also marked the day every person on campus that wasn't in fourth term got to go to their respective homes, filling the campus and streets with partiers, people carrying suitcases, and grim fourth termers. We slated Friday night for partying, which largely consisted of me lying down on the dock at Prickly Bay so I wouldn't fall off the earth before crawling through a pizza someone had placed on the ground while managing to not get a SINGLE drop of sauce on my clothes. Pure talent, folks. Jay celebrated his victory by playing Pretty Woman on his trombone while standing on the top of his apartment complex. Some of you may have noticed that...

Saturday, I spent the day in St. George's with David helping him shop (or bumming around town; take your pick), ate at Creole Shack and enjoyed the whole bittersweet "this is fun, but you leave tomorrow" thing.

Sunday, Dave left, so I spent the day doing my path slides for Monday, sulking, and frustratingly trying to study for the PD WRITTEN midterm bright and early Monday morning. Oh, the evil. Nothing screws up your weekend like having an exam hanging over it while 50% of the people you know take off.

BUT, the PD exam was way more fair than I thought it was going to be with little on there that wasn't in the notes except for hyper/hypothyroidism stuff which we'd been repeatedly told was going to be on the test, and again, left me a happy Ishie, so for getting completely bear-smacked by this last week, I made out like a bandit.

The thing is on Monday, they had path lecture immediately scheduled after the PD exam. Two of them, in fact. I'd tell you how poorly attended they were, but per usual, I certainly wasn't there. I was in a sleep deprived daze, that I was trying to clear back before the path lab ALSO scheduled that day.

Yeah, so for those keeping track the schedule was exam Monday, exam Tuesday, exam Friday, exam Monday, path lab Monday, slides due Monday.


Adding to the excitement was that they picked that day to switch the lab times around on path, so those attending path at 3 would now be attending at 1. Those attending at 1 would be attending at 3. They announced at the beginning of the term that this would be done *sometime* during the term, and it would be announced as to when.

It wasn't.

Anticipating this, a friend and I went down to the path office to specifically ask if the lab times were being switched for Monday's lab, because if so, I needed to print my slides and lose a nap. If not, I could go to the mall, get a smoothie, take a nap, and head back for lab.

"No", we were told. "That's up to the C/S department and they'll announce it when the change is made."

So, I went home and collapsed down onto my sweet sweet comforter. Only to find out at 1:15 or so (ie 15 minutes after my new lab time started) when my friend frantically knocked on my door, that the lab time had indeed been switched, a fact that had been announced on Angel in the preceding hour.

Yeah, that zoo of lost people must have been exciting. Not that I'd know since I figured the time it would take me to stagger into my clothes, run for the bus, catch one, get to the library, print the slides, and make it to lab would probably eclipse the time allotted. D'oh.

Not not not cool.

So now most fourth termers are wandering around in a stressed out, no real break, too much work, too much mischeduling grim daze with any other-termer friends absent daze that does not preclude people to being on top of things. As a result, I am well aware that I am not the only one that has being at least six lectures behind ALREADY to celebrate. Yeesh.


And since I'd missed my lab time already, my nap was sufficient that I primarily needed to wake up to go see the turtles, as noted. And, as noted, it was an amazing experience that cannot be suitably be put into words except to say, you guys have from April until June, and do it do it do it do it!

So what now? Well, I need to find initiative and get caught up just in time to blow it on Saturday where I'm torn between scuba diving, the hash (thanks Dr. Bob!) or both. I'm leaning towards 'both'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on not being thrown off the island (surviving exams). I've not yet seen the turtles. Been busy working on an additional lecture for Term 3 in August. When are you off to Prague? Hang tough!