Friday, October 26, 2007

Already Sick of Step I

I forgot to mention on Wednesday that you should never tangle with a psychiatrist, because they will always get the last word. When Dean Franco was giving one of our coma seminars, I asked her how she could tell if the patient actually wasn't paying attention due to delirium versus for some other reason. She said if they weren't paying attention for any reason, then it was an alteration of consciousness. So I said, "No, I mean, what if you're asking me where I am or the date, and I just don't want to answer your questions?" Much to the amusement of my classmates, she replied, "Then it means you have a personality disorder!"

Yesterday wasn't terribly eventful. I had my MS class in the morning, though it was kind of hard to get up, and I spent the rest of the day working on my learning objective and trying to catch up on some reading.

Today we had a really good PBL session, probably one of the best we've done all block. The learning objectives were good, and the discussion was good. But no one from the administration came today to see us! Our seminars were on brain trauma and brain tumors. They were good too. I can't believe how much more I'm enjoying neuro this year versus last year. I don't know if the seminars are really just that much better, or the pathology is just more interesting, or I'm just feeling more comfortable with the material because of having studied neuro over the summer, or what.

Our ARM session today was, to put it mildly, simply awful. The school has decided to have us do little research projects where we come up with hypotheses and objectives and who knows what else at various points throughout the year, and today was the first one of those sessions. So we met in our PBL groups, and we were supposed to come up with an experiment based on our PBL case from this week. That has to be the most ridiculous way to come up with a research idea that I've ever heard. If you're wanting to come up with a research project and write a grant proposal, you don't start by thinking up methodology and making up a hypothesis! You start by reading the literature in that area so that you even understand what the current issues are in that field! On the bright side, I have a whole week to think of a way to give constructive criticism about this before we fill out the feedback sheet next Friday at the end of PBL. :-P

Dr. Prayson, who is a neuropathologist and also our new Assistant Dean of Students, invited anyone who was interested to go over the the CCF morgue and look at some brain pathology. About ten of us went this afternoon, and it was really awesome. We saw tumors, infarcts, hemorrhages, all kinds of interesting stuff that we had been learning about this week. One of the brains belonged to a young child, which was a little sad though. But overall, I got so much out of it in terms of learning the anatomy and pathology that I asked him about coming in to see an autopsy some time. He said that we were definitely welcome to do that if we wanted, and that some of the upperclassmen had done it in previous years. I don't know when I will have time to go, and it's kind of hard to set up a time anyway because patients don't exactly die and require autopsies on a set schedule. Maybe I can do it this summer after I take Step I.

Speaking of which, we got an email earlier in the week about attending a session this evening by some of the upperclassmen to give us advice on preparing for Step I. It was from 5:15-6:45 today. Although I felt kind of bad because of how nice the third and fourth years were to do this for us, I decided not to go. I was just too tired, and I also have come to realize that I really don't want to hear a single thing more about Step I at this point. It's bad enough that we have to register for it now, in October, when we aren't even taking it for another eight months. (The reason why we have to register now is that the Case UP students take the test four months earlier than we do, at the beginning of March.) But it's making me feel more stressed and anxious to be talking about studying for it now, when I don't have time to study for it and when I haven't learned enough path yet to even make it worth studying for it. I'm planning to start studying in January, and I don't want to think about it any more between now and then. Please, just give me my last two months of USMLE ignorant bliss!

For those of you who are premeds, don't complain about how much the MCAT costs, because the registration fee for Step I will set you back a cool $480, and Step II is even worse. For those of you who are CCLCM first years, start saving up. I didn't realize that we were going to have to register this early, right before the holidays, and I did not budget that $480 for this semester. :-(

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