Wednesday, August 27, 2008

musings of med school

it's 2 weeks in and we just began anatomy and real class.

they said at MIT that education was taking a drink from a fire hose, med school is like taking a drink from a REALLY BIG FIRE HOSE.

we have class at 8am every day, end around 5. since this is the beginning of school, everyone shows up, more or less on time. We had 4 hours of lecture, 4 hours of lab- WHEW, and if you fall asleep for 5 secs (not that I do or anything...) you almost always miss something important. Pitt med does a great job- they have stripped anatomy down the the absolute essentials, but it's still a heck of a lot of material. Today was our first day dissecting our cadaver (we named her Edna), an alien experience at first, 150 students with lots of protective gear and gloves with our cadavers in white body bags on metal bed stands. Our group is lucky because we are under a huge air vent meant to remove the slightly harmful formaldehyde quickly from the room air. The entire room is COLD, like we are in a huge fridge- meant to keep the bodies from decomposing too fast. We first met Edna yesterday- she died at age 83 of heart disease and the preservation process makes her look very different from a live body. She is very pale, stiff to the touch, and her skin (especially on the stomach) is hard, almost looking like a paperbag. Her face is covered for now, something we are all grateful for since we're squeamish as it is. Anatomy... is a discovery process with a little learning sprinkled in. Structure are hard to identify, most of the time is spent cleaning or cutting to get to what we are trying to find. Tiring but my dissection group is a great team :).

I feel now that my profession is truly being a student. To even prepare for class I need to read A LOT of material every night- almost 2 hours of prep just to GO to school in the morning with some clue of what's going on. Review is really necessary (we learn almost 50+ new terms everyday) and fills whatever spare time I have. And I'm not even that anal of a student...yet. There are many kids in my class that buckle down right after our 9 hour day and study in our library for hours. I've never seen so many people so driven to learn, an interesting environment for different personalities.

I'm really happy to be surrounded by people who care about the same things I do. We took personality tests- Myers Briggs- before we came to school. 23% of the class are the same classification as me. 17% of the class is vegetarian or vegan. Everywhere I turn I find people who I can really connect with and who I really admire. Naturally, med school draws a lot of "type A" people- and it's really amusing to me that you can have a dinner party and people arrive EARLY. People help you clean up without you asking and are super considerate and willing to colloborate. Of course, there are exceptions, but I'm confident I've found an environment I'll be happy with for a long while, if not my entire life.

Here's hoping that I feel that way after anatomy test 1...

the beginning of my dream career...

Hi Everyone!
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the rest of summer or the start of a new academic year! I just wanted to send you a facebook link of my album so far of pictures I've taken at med school- it's not quite as good as a blog but I thought you'd all appreciate seeing my views of Pittsburgh, my new condo, and the new friends I have made here.

http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2061893&l=81324&id=702648

We just finished up our first two weeks- first we had a week of orientation (filled with logistics and diversity training during the day, and fun social events at night), and then a week of "Introduction to Being a Physician" a light course where we got to hear panels of physicians talk and learn about a new disease each day and meet patients in our small group sessions to interview them. We got to wear our white coat almost everyday this past week, it was pretty nice to get a taste of what we have to look forward to the next four years.
The most recent highlight was today, when Mirat (my roommate) and I hosted a big dinner party for vegetarians/vegans/and our allies. Our medical school class is actually 17% non meat eating, which is really neat- so about 25 or so of our classmates came and we had a really wonderful potluck. :) Tomorrow our class goes white-water rafting, something I'm really excited about! Monday we dig in and begin anatomy!

I would love to hear about what is going on in your lives, so please keep me updated!

Love, Jessica