A New Semester


I know, I know; I can’t even begin to make apologies for the delay or the time in between this and the most recent post. Apologies won’t do for my woeful negligence…instead, I’ll just update you!

The beginning of this semester is off to a hectic, but excellent start. After ringing in the New Year in style, I made my way back to the sweetest place on Earth…and CMBMP Part Deux. This semester’s coursework is similar to Fall semester in that we are still focusing primarily on biochemistry however we have had several physiology lectures in recent weeks that have made us all incredibly excited for second year…and more clinically oriented lectures and classwork. For now, a brief four-span lecture series on insulin, glucagon and diabetes will have to suffice.

We took our first exam a week ago and I was able to celebrate both my birthday and another exam completion all in one weekend! Needless to say, we managed to cram a lot into three days. Our current schedule allocates “fun” in three week intervals so when we are afforded the opportunity to enjoy a stress free weekend, there are very few who do not engage in some much-needed stress relief and debauchery. Even going out to dinner now feels like a very special occasion…and a much needed treat. How expectations change! Props to my wonderful friends here for making me feel so loved throughout my birthday weekend…I’ve included some pictures at the end as proof that medical students do have fun. Or, at least, we try our very hardest to.

We’ve started a new course this semester called Medical Humanities, a class I’ve been looking forward to taking since I interviewed over a year ago. Medical Humanities incorporates various different forms of fine art, literature, and history to provide an overarching and all-encompassing explanation of various aspects of the medical profession. From patient suffering to the history of medicine as an art form, the course encourages medical students to take a step back from the scientific and recognize the inherent artistic elements of the medical profession. From the nuanced interactions and prized patient provider relationship, to the challenges experienced at every turn, the course aims to open our eyes to the oft-encountered yet rarely discussed philosophical components of the medical profession. I love being assigned reading by Kurt Vonnegut or brief clips from “So You Think You Can Dance” of a choreographer’s interpretation of addiction. As an English major, and avid blogger (hold the acerbic jabs at my recent lack of posts), I really appreciate the College’s dedication to exploring the “Humanities” in Medicine. There is so much history, literature and art associated with the profession–it would be a shame and a real oversight on the part of all educators to not insist on exploring these topics in the classroom. Sure, this course means an extra homework assignment per week, more reading and several hours less sleep but I truly enjoy all of the reading we are assigned and I find the group sessions to be evocative, inspiring even. I’m regularly impressed by how thoughtful and brilliant my peers are–to be surrounded by such conscientious individuals, aware of the issues of patient suffering and various other philosophical issues makes me feel better about the future of healthcare. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share some of our writing assignments here and even put some of the questions we are forced to ponder to you.

Not to shift gears but I have a lot to update you all on and very little time (as always) to do such. More about Medical Humanities in my next post. For now…I’ve noticed a slight change since returning from Winter Break. Maybe it was the two perfect weeks devoid of studying or the successful end to a semester, but I find myself better able to focus now with less time devoted to distraction…an explanation is definitely needed. My 10 hour plus study days are no anomaly to the average medical student but previously, I would find myself relishing a few sacred hours on Saturdays to watch television and zone out…or attempt to write a blog. Now, I find myself allocating my time a little differently. I spend a little longer at the gym and some more time with friends but make up for what I can only quantify as lost hours (because I have a guilt complex that could rival Pontius Pilate) by rarely indulging in distractions while studying. It makes studying go even faster and the slight time pressure I impose on myself seems to have helped me become that much more efficient. So, no more Saturday television catch up for an hour or two and Facebook rarely graces my Firefox window as a quick five minute study break. Instead, those three or four hours I estimate I save go towards another mile to run or five more minutes to chat with friends. For the anal retentive, it’s all about the equal exchange. I can’t rationalize studying any less, so I simply have to re-arrange and re-allocate. So far, so good.

Now for those pictures I promised:

Was there ever a better birthday cake?

The best people to celebrate a birthday with

A truly excellent surprise planner

Little sister, Florida, and the tan I've already lost

More updates to come but for now, I’m off to try and bulk up my sleep hours…
Thanks for sticking around to wait for my posts!



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