A Black Female Medical Student

Archive for October 2008

Hey…

 

Just checking in a few moments before I take off for Homecoming.

I am so happy to be going back and also to be getting the heck outta here!

I am in such a good mood… I may post pictures. *wiggles eyebrows*.

Or not.

 

 

 

Have a safe (and HAPPY) HALLOWEEN!!! And don’t forget to send in those absentee ballots!!!

Sitting in the computer lab, semi-studying, semi-contemplating my last day as a 20 year old.

20 was a big year for me. I finally broke up with my ex, graduated from college, lived by myself for the first time, learned to cook really well, got my first car, moved to Chicago, had my first real spring break (went to Miami… it was AWESOME), and STARTED MEDICAL SCHOOL.

It was definitely a fun age. I’m looking forward to 21 though, I can finally stop sneaking into 21 & over clubs! I know my friends have been annoyed, because its always some huge escapade to get me in. I mean, I know every trick in the game to get in where I really don’t fit in lol.

Still, it was fun.

I also have a Chicago winter to look forward to… I really don’t look forward to that. Its already BLISTERINGLY cold, and I SWEAR I saw some snowflakes yesterday. However, fall/ winter fashion up here is just TO DIE FOR!!! I never knew you could look so cute in the cold! These Chicagoans have opened my eyes up to new things.

Not to mention, I have a whole bunch of new friends. Of course I miss my old ones, but my new ones are amazing too. They are some of the smartest, funniest, kindest people I have ever met in life.

Despite the fact that medical school has taken over my life, I still think my birthday weekend is going to be extra fun. Not only because its Halloween, but also cuz…. ITS HOMECOMING WKND!!!

Yeah, 21 will be fun.

And, YES, I will be able to experience life as a 21 yr old on a college campus after all. Even if only for a weekend. 🙂

I am very excited, not only for the parties, concerts, old friends, etc., but BECAUSE I AM GETIING OUT OF CHICAGO.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. But it’ll be nice to get AWAY. I’m going back to the undergrad, and please believe I will be acting bad.

But not too bad of course… don’t want to compromise this new pre-professional image I got going on.

But anyways, there is this HUGE party happening this Saturday, and I bought the dress for it. Believe me… its sleek. Maybe a little too sleek…… lol.

Still it is my 21st, so its all about the grown and sexy, right? I got the sexy down, but the grown is still a few hours away….

Anyways, let me stop being silly.

I have to take a Biochemistry test before I leave (life of a med student, the work never, EVER stops), but after that… gameover.

So once again, its back to studying for me…. TATA.

Oh yeah… here is a song that has been playing in the back of my mind this whole week.


Cupid… doesn’t lie
But you won’t know unless you give it a try
Oh baby, true love
won’t lie but we won’t know unless we give it a try

Luuuuuuuv it!

I didn’t know what to expect as far as drama was concerned when I came to medical school. I went to a fairly dramatic undergrad, and I definitely experienced my own share of drama. In fact, looking back, I feel like it was ridiculous and quite problematic to be honest. Drama followed me everywhere.

Since coming to medical school however, I’ve managed to stay relatively drama free. There was one instance, though. One of my classmates is dating my roommate and he is completely SPRUNG. Its so cute. Anyways, he came over and I happened to hear him cleaning her bathtub while she was just hopping around the place singing at the top of her lungs. I thought it was pretty funny, so over the course of the day, I texted the information to my personal buddy in the class, who is also homeboy’s roommate.

Well, he being a the man’s man that he is, was utterly dismayed by the news, and let it slip during a study session he, his roommate (and my roommate’s personal housekeeper lol), and some other guys in my class were having. Of course all the guys laughed at him and teased him mercilessly, and I heard through the grapevine that he was mad at me.

I know, I know, fairly juvenile, but I cleared everything up the next day by bringing him a muffin for breakfast. 🙂

I like guys cuz they forgive so easily. If it was a girl, she probably would have thrown the muffin in my face. Lol.

Anyways, that’s probably the most dramatic instance that has happened since coming here as far as I’m concerned. Of course the majority class members have all kinds of crazy stuff going on. Cheating girlfriends, one night stands, just medcest all over the place. Its cool, though. Keeps me entertained. I feel like the black students in the class tend to be a little more low-key and laid-back so what we have going on PALES in comparison to the majority students.

Of course there is a little boy-girl drama going on, but its all fairly innocent and all goodie.

Yours truly is behaving herself of course. I don’t have any boy-girl drama going on, so I tend to put more of my energy into community service work and looking pretty. 🙂

Anyways, I’m going to go over a couple more lectures and then see about getting some sleep.

Good nite all, and thanks for reading.

Okay… So this…. this video had me in stitches all weekend and provided me with some much needed comic relief on my various (and frequent) study breaks.  I had tears in my eyes the first time I watched it. I promise you, it is one of the funniest videos you will ever see in life. Its starts off slow (really slow, actually), but its definitely worth it in the end. You can watch on silent, but it’s funnier if you put your speakers on max.

P.S. I promise, I am not a mean person, but this was just so funny…. gotta watch it again….*giggles*

I had my Biochemistry test today. I think I’m going to shoot my undergraduate Biochem and Cell Bio professors a thank you e-mail because if I hadn’t taken those classes in undergrad, I would probably be feeling a lot different. Not that I really retained very much information from those classes in undergrad, but my Cell Biology professor’s testing style seems to be very similar to my current Biochemistry professor so I wasn’t too freaked out on the exam today.

Its a completely different type of class from Anatomy, and I know I felt frustrated the night before. I was going over old exams with one of my classmates, and they were hard! We had the book, lecture notes, lecture sildes, and reading notes all laid out in front of us and it was still hard! For the life of me, I could not figure out some of those problems.

Our professor will give you a whole bunch of information by way of lectures and a note set he prepared, but will not tell you what to do with it. He does expect us to read the book, and while I didn’t for this exam, I think I will for subsequent exams because its the only study source with all the information he may choose to cover. I have found it to be an easier read than his note set, which has grammatical errors, incomplete sentences, and is just poorly worded in some areas. The lecture slides fill in some gaps that were left in the note set, but I feel it would just be too easy for me to miss something, especially since I retain very little from in class lecture. I do much better by reading. I can sit in a class for an hour maybe only pick up like 30% of what they’re trying to teach me.

For example, last night, my friend and I were trying to understand the reaction mechanism of aspartyl proteases (HIV-protease is a example of these), and I stared at the picture for about a minute to no avail. He picked it up a immediately, but I didn’t until I read the notes, and then it was like a light bulb clicked in my head. He couldn’t believe it and called me weird. He said it was akin to him showing me how to open a bottle of Gatorade or reading out the instructions like: “Grasp the bottle at the neck and at the cap…” Lol.

Okay, back to Biochemistry. So we do have access to past exams, but he never repeats questions, so the exams are just a huge test of your problem-solving ability. My classmate said, it’s just a test of your ability to make up “plausible explanations”, a statement which I agree with. I probably came up with at least 3 or 4 different answers to each question before I settled on one.

Anyways, the test was okay. I don’t know if I got that 90% I was shooting for, but I should make it into the 80s somewhere. I think. I hope. 🙂 I don’t even know how our class felt about the test overall. There was little to no discussion afterward. Generally, after our Anatomy tests, that would be ALL people would talk about for the next  hour or so. I think its because in Anatomy we have definitive answers, while in Biochemistry there are definite concepts. Memorizing doesn’t really serve you as well, it most about understanding the how and the why and applying that to whatever random scenario he throws at you.

Our last Anatomy test is coming up this Monday, THANK YOU JESUS!

I am not a big fan of Anatomy. I like Biochem so much more. I don’t know how I feel about Physio yet, because I haven’t been to class. 😛

What I do like about having taken Anatomy is that my memorizing skills have increased like… 100-fold since coming here. Anatomy was just a test of how well you can memorize massive amounts of information and then regurgitation of those details on the test. Also, I know a whole bunch of just really random stuff! I’m glad we got it out of the way first though, I cannot fathom having to look forward to 3-4 more months of lab. That would be horrendous.

Okay, I have to get back to studying. Have a great weekend!

So I have decided to get to work on building my own mini- support network. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have one until I started encountering some issues in my anatomy class, and I didn’t really know who to talk to about it. I have made some friendships within my class, however, generally they are just as clueless about stuff as I am. It may be a personal thing, but I think having a support network has been one the most important factors of my success as a pre-medical student and will have the same role as I matriculate through medical school.

Its more than just having friends in your class. I have found that other medical students can be some of the best and the worst people to decompress with. On one hand they know what you’re going through and can identify with your frustrations, but on the other hand, we can be extremely narcissistic, stressed out, and annoying, not to mention tired all the time. Its like you can vent out stuff to a fellow med student, but really all they can say is “You better just go ahead and suck it up… cuz I am.” :-/

Medical school is extremely stressful, much too stressful to go through it alone. Since Ichose to attend medical school 1/2 across the country from my alma mater and home, I am fairly isolated from old friends and family. I’m working to reconstruct my support network now.

First off, I’m looking for a new church home and I do think I’ve found one. I’m a Christian (flawed though I am), and was raised in the church. As for my personal walk with Christ, its been difficult to find time to commune with the Lord on a daily basis, but I’m working on it. I have to, for the sake of my sanity.

As always, I am striving to maintain a close relationship with my family. We’re scattered all over the country (and at times the world since my parents travel so much). Its hard, and I have a large family. I have 5 sisters, and I have decided that I will try to talk to at least one of them everyday.

I’ve also been trying to maintain a relationship with my old friends. I guess I got caught up in the new people, the new city, the new  experiences and the massive amounts of studying I’ve been doing on a daily basis, because I didn’t realize that I was losing my sense of self. Personal growth is good, but for awhile I kind of forgot who I was. I plan on going back to my undergrad for homecoming (omg…. I can’t wait. The Midwest is cool, but I need to get out of here!!!), and I text my old comrades on the daily. Of course time is limited, but you make time for who/what’s important.

I’ve gotten to know the Dean for Colored Folk. These people go by many different names at different institutions. This person could be a Dean/ Asst. Dean/ Director of Diversity/ Minority Affairs/ Multicultural Affairs… they have a lot of different aliases, but their purpose generally to make sure that minority students are adjusting well. They are generally very busy, but try to seek them out. You definitely want to come to them before they have to come to you. If you’re struggling will want to have an advocate if you every have to come before the review board for whatever reason.

I’m trying to move out my comfort zone and talk to my non-black classmates more. As it is, I have gotten very close with my fellow black classmates, it cannot be denied that my class as a whole is awesome. I was talking to someone today, and they said that our school is the 3rd most diverse medical school in the country (outside of the HBCUs) and I was not surprised. Even though sometimes my classmates do things that make me raise an eyebrow, I must admit they have taught me a lot of things and introduced me to knew experience. Who woulda thought this chick from MD woulda have every tried out for an a capella group or intramural football?

So thats pretty much it in a nutshell. I have 2 tests this week, both Biochem and Anatomy so I probably won’t be back here for a few days. If I do, it will more than likely just be to vent lol.

Best wishes!!!

I go to a Top 20 institution, and most of my classmates came from prestigious undergrads; I have quite a few classmates from Harvard. I definitely felt intimidated when I first got here, because I went to a small HBCU in the South. I loved my experience, and if I had the choice, I would do it again. Still, my undergraduate experience was very different from a lot of my classmates, some of whom had no idea what an HBCU is.

I had a conversation with the Dean of Multicultural Affairs, and he told me that the medical school had not had very good success with graduates from HBCUs, leading me to think that the small representation of HBCU here might be intentional. While they have had students from HBCUs in the past, they have not had many, and I believe I am the only student they have ever had from my undergrad.

Anyways, I do feel some pressure to do well here, because my performance here could very well influence their attitude towards HBCU students in the future. I would hate for a talented and hardworking student’s application to be called into question because of my performance here. So I tried to work a little harder this week. I think it paid off, because I scored higher than the class average for the first time on the test this week.

Unfortunately we’re almost done with Anatomy so it doesn’t mean much, but I hopefully will take this attitude with me through the rest of the year. I came in here with the expectation that I wasn’t as competitive a student as the rest of my classmates, and that’s wrong. While there is a steeper learning curve to step up to, that is the case for anyone who enters med school. We’re all new at this lol.

My lack of confidence in myself and my abilities isn’t new. There was a point in my life when I had a very low self-esteem and was always putting myself down. My self-esteem isn’t low anymore, but many people do disparage the education at HBCUs, and I think I allowed myself to internalize that.

We may have come from different places, some of my classmates may have come from prestigious backgrounds, some from lots of money, some from exotic places, but we’re all here. My experiences may be different, less glossy, but it doesn’t make them any less relevant. I forgot that, and I think it showed in my grades.

Either way, I’m on an upward trend, and I believe it will continue. My goal is to score above 90% on my next 2 exams. I mean, above average is cool, but not cool enough.  I have one next Friday and the other a week from Monday so I have quite a bit of studying to get through.

Oh and in response to that last comment, in the words of Eric Cartman: “Whateva! Whateva! *snaps fingers*, I do what I want!”