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15 July 2008 @ 12:56 am
a mind on tap  
I quite like my life - now. Okay. That was the happy part of this post.

Yet at the same time, I sometimes feel that my life is nothing more than a footnote to other people's lives.

Please note that I am pretty distant friend. It comes of being uprooted a lot at a young age, I think - note to parents on the flist, don't do that if you want your kids to be well-adjusted and not, you know, MAD. At the back of my mind there's always this little refrain that goes: well, in five or six (or two, now) years you'll have left anyway. Bottom line: if my friends are crap, it's at least half my fault.

USMLEs are pretty stressful. Mine are in a month. I won't even go into that. Just imagine the most stress you've ever experienced distilled into eight hours in front of a computer screen - that's it.

So one of my friends texts and asks if we can meet up this week - I say no, gotta study, will be hibernating till exam is over. I've told her at least twice the date is the fourteenth, but she asks again. Then she blithely suggests that she'll send me the article she's writing for some journal, so I can read over it for her.

Um. What? I studied from eleven am to nine-thirty pm today, and that still wasn't enough to stop my eyes from going prickly at the thought of how much I have to do. So yeah. Footnote.

I mentioned to my dad that I was pretty stressed, especially since finding out I really need to get 80% or more to compete with actual Americans for residencies. His solution? I need a holiday. Well actually, he wants a holiday. Hmm. I wonder, would that have anything to do with his suggestion? Also: I have no yen for travel. Not one. (Do yens come singularly or in plural?)

I told him if he was really that worried, he should buy us satellite broadband.

O.M.G. THERE WAS A BIRD IN MY STUDY! IT WOULDN'T FLY OUT I THOUGHT IT WOULD EAT ME I HAVE TO GO TO BED SO I LEFT THE WINDOW OPEN DO YOU THINK IT WILL DIE?
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: smokers outside the hospital doors (editors)
 
 
 
The Fancatus Bureau of Incestbalefully on July 15th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
You're going to get licensed and have a residency over HERE?! Are you CRAZY?! aodsginsodgnisdogihn TRADE PLACES WITH ME PLZ.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: frangipaniscoradh on July 15th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
THAT INSANE HUH? But Ireland's pretty bad too, and with worse weather and no Netflix!

Okay sure, knock me up a green card. (You won't need one, they let anyone in the EU.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on July 15th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
Hang on - residency is internship, right?
The Fancatus Bureau of Incestbalefully on July 15th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Yes! Residency can mean either the period following the internship year or include the internship year as the first part of residency, but YES THAT IS WHAT I MEANT.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: deerscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am spectacularly uninformed about my chosen career path. (I was mixing it up with registrars - I think that equals attending - at first. Because they start with the same letter.)
trichinopoly ash: sirius: why so sirius?aldehyde on July 15th, 2008 01:40 am (UTC)
wait wait, what the USMLEs? are they the american version of med school exams? in canada we call 'em the MCATs and they rape your arse quite badly. my bf went through them a summer ago and he was a zombie.

i can understand the footnote feeling, sometimes that happens to me as well. i'm not a consistent friend though, i don't think so at least, so i blame the footnote periods in my life on that. sigh.

and as for the bird, is it okay now? once a bird came in and wouldn't leave my room and i was very scared but then it got bored and left. i know, i'm a wimp.

:(

BUT! GOOD LUCK ON THE EXAMS! i am sure you will rawk :D
daybreaqdaybreaq on July 15th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
The MCAT is the medical school admission exam. It's the standardized test a student takes in undergraduate college and the score becomes a big part of what medical school use to consider accepting a student.

The USMLE is the standardized licensing exam. Every graduating US medical student must pass it as part of the requirements to be licensed to practice medicine in any state.

However residency programs also use the score earned as a major part of their consideration in accepting new physicians for their programs. So naturally, the majority taking the test are looking to do much better than pass.

For me, the dentistry equivalent was the National Boards. And yes, they were stressful but I must admit not as stressful and competative as the USMLEs must be since (at least when I graduated) the majority of dentists don't do residencies while the vast majority of recent medical school graduates are competing to get into a residency program.
trichinopoly ashaldehyde on July 15th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
aah, thanks for clearing that up! i wonder if canada has something similar? i haven't heard of any licensing exams here so not sure. i guess i should ask the bf to find out :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: socksscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
As far as I know - there are a lot of Canadians in my class - there's some kind of registering exam to be taken at the end of the medical program. Kind of like our finals, I suppose. So most of them are scrambling to get USMLE step 1 done this summer, USMLE step 2 next summer or Christmas 09, and their Canadian exam after Christmas 09 before we graduate in summer 2010 and start work.

Yup. Wouldn't want to be them!
trichinopoly ash: confession: intellectaldehyde on July 16th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
god, it's such a lengthy process *shudders*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: fishscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
I've heard of MCATs. There is no equivalent here; you just need to get 590/600 points in your leaving certificate school exams to gain entry. It's AWESOME. And despite the lack of interviews and ass-raping exams we still manage to produce pretty ok doctors.

I think I could be a much better friend if I had more time. But that might be just an excuse. Also, I'm not sure my friends are worth it.

He was gone in the morning anyway! Now there is much debate about whether it was actually a bat.

THANK YOU!
trichinopoly ash: hufflepuff: jesusaldehyde on July 16th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
a bat! or a bird?!
haha it's cute that you're unsure now :P
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on July 16th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
It's my brother's fault. I figure it's unmanly to be scared of a birdie, so he made up the bat story as a diversionary tactic.
mrsquizzicalmrsquizzical on July 15th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
oh poor bird! i hope it flew out ok.

and yeah, people often don't realise you mean things because they don't mean things... or something.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: sunflowerscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it did. Up the chimney, I'm guessing.

I do take that into account, but inevitably I end up getting pissed 'cause THEY never do.
somehow socially inept...: batman and robin!differente on July 15th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
good luck with the usmle. it's probably going to go fine! :)

(and i'm not sure if it's the right thing to say but it's probably going to get worse and worse after that. but also better in a fashion... and grooming friendships is hard when you don't even have time for yourself!)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Pretty shoesscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
Heh, if I manage to drag up my score average from 68%. I may have to forego sleep.

This is true. Still, other people manage it. I'm just a slacker.

YOUR ICON. OMG. *dies*

somehow socially inept...differente on July 16th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
(i know!!! isn't it GREAT? :D)

actually, i'm a terrible friend who can't manage to keep in touch. i was thus also making myself feel better telling you it's okay to be lazy and otherwise busy... :P

good luck again!
daybreaqdaybreaq on July 15th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
I think it's totally natural to feel stressed, frustrated and a rather miffed at your friends and family who don't seem to get what you are going through. I doubt you are *really* a footnote. It's just your mindset at the moment which again totally makes sense.

Your dad's suggestion isn't totally off the mark. If travel isn't your thing, I do suggest you attempt to take the time do something YOU find completely fun some time between the horrible monster tests and before your residency starts. From what I've heard, the first year or two of a medical residency program are the most difficult of your career.

Just out of curiosity, what speciality/ies are you considering?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: rose petal bowlscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
I can understand my dad not quite getting it - I mean, he read some of my notes once and didn't understand anything. But my friend is also a medical student. It's just ... GAH. I never bother getting mad at my friends, in the letting them know sense, but I fume a lot in private.

Oh, I'm not starting residency/internship till 2010. I'm taking the first step exam now because it's recommended you do it while the core sciences are still fresh in your mind. Providing I pass - and even less likely, with a decent score - I'm going to try get an elective in the US next summer and do my second step USMLE then. After which, there's the Match and visas and LOTS OF FUN. The ice-cream better be worth it.

Histopathology at the moment - but I haven't done paeds, obs and gynae or psych yet. While I doubt any will appeal, you never know.
daybreaqdaybreaq on July 16th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, I see, it makes sense to take the step one exam around the same time US med students do.

I can't imagine you'd prefer any of the other specialties you mentioned either. Particularly since Pathology is such a lifestyle friendly specialty (as in you can actually have a life outside of work) and those others aren't so much. (Well, maybe psych depending on the subfield.) There really is a lot to be said for regular, stable working hours and being able to go home and know you're done with work for the day and full weekends off etc.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: socksscoradh on July 16th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
There really is a lot to be said for regular, stable working hours and being able to go home and know you're done with work for the day and full weekends off etc.

You are NOT WRONG.

Also, histopathology is - not popular? Like at all? Which leads me to believe I may have an easier time getting placements - in general, and in America in particular - than if I were going for, like. Surgery. Or dermatology. WHY SO POPULAR, DERMATOLOGY?
daybreaqdaybreaq on July 16th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
Dermatology? Also one of those lifestyle friendly specialties. A patient isn't likely to have you paged at 2:00am with a major acne breakout. Nor will you be called to the hospital Sunday morning for an emergency nevus removal.

Seriously, even serious skin related conditions (Melanoma? Pemphagus?) are not going to create after hours unexpected emergency situations ... not for the dermatologist anyway.

Plus, in the US at least, dermatology has become quite lucrative. Many dermatologists now pretty much focus their practices on elective, money making cosmetic procedures (and never deal with stuff like melanoma and pemphagus.) Stuff like botox treatments, chemical peels, laser hair removal, tattoo removal, and hair implants. No insurance submissions, cash up front, happy, healthy patients who want the services provided.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Twins playing keyboardscoradh on July 16th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
HA! The mystery clears.

Still not interested in dermatology though, uck.
Sereniaserenia on July 15th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
So much studying! I hope you ace your course.

And no, staying in one place doesn't make for non-mad children, either! And, for me, it's made the prospect of buying a house harder. My in-laws and husband are all for buying a cheap house and using it as a stepping-stone to other places, whereas I just want to buy a house I can live in for the rest of my life!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: cavescoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thankee!

Oh, I think moving around a bit is fine. I just don't suggest switching hemispheres.

I get what you mean, although their advice is pretty sound. You might find yourself putting up with a shitty place for too long. Then again, rent is dead money ... eh. You just need a nice helping of good luck.
peripatetic extemporizations: Brendon hearthatoyona on July 15th, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
: ( I'm sorry you're stressing out. I sort of know how it is, although probably not entirely. But sometimes people are just not aware of what they're saying, you know? I do think you should take breaks and have a little bit of fun, because if you drive yourself crazy studying it won't even pay off! At least, that is the case with most people I know.

Idk, don't stress out! You are brilliant and I know you will do well.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
But sometimes people are just not aware of what they're saying, you know?

Oh, true. But this girl is the flake to end all flakes. At this point, I have to assume everything she says is a lie - not because she lies on purpose, just that she's kind of. Loopy, I suppose. Which is less fun to have around that Luna Lovegood would have you believe.

I take plenty of breaks. (Too many!) And I have a whole week - note the sarcasm - between the exam and starting college again. It's not that I won't be relaxing -sleeping 18 hours a day and eating ice-cream - then. It's that I think going away to Turkey or France would be more stressful than just vegging out.

Thank you. ♥
peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on July 15th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
: ( Yeah I know what you mean. It's pretty hard to deal with spacey people. But if you're still friends with her, it sounds like you have been very patient!

Just a week?? That sucks! But yeah, I think sitting around doing nothing is pretty much awesome. I would probably vote for France/Turkey if you had more than a week, but...I hope you enjoy your breaks after you are done being a genius!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Audrey Hepburnscoradh on July 15th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Many people have said. But eh, she makes me laugh. :D

asdfkjshljh I've been to France. I didn't like it. Turkey sounds like more of the same, only WITH MY RELATIVES. As Emily thing said, 'to close our eyes is travel'. Or to go online. (Yup. Not a lit student.)
peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on July 15th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
That's important too, I guess!

You didn't like France?? Why not? I would die if I could go to France. Or Turkey, oh man. Haha one of my friends is on vacation right now with her family in Greece and she was complaining about it so much but I am so. envious. And yeah, family makes it a little lame, that's true but Greece! Or, in your case, Turkey!!

Emily Dickinson? That's the only one I could think of.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: snowy owlscoradh on July 16th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
(I met some other friends today and ... there will be blood. If she goes on. 's all I'm saying.)

I went to the Vendee - horribly touristy and packed with things I could have done at home, which probably explains it. And Turkey is not a nice place to visit as a female. I really want to go to New York! Or America in general. Except every time I mention it, people look at me like I'm bonkers.

That's it! My mind kept supplying 'Bishop' and 'out of cheese error.'

peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on July 16th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
: (( I'm sorry!

America is pretty fabulous sometimes, no lie. You should come to California, it's the best state. I may be biased though. Yeah, I guess Turkey would suck as a girl, that's true. But I'm sure it's beautiful anyway! My friend went to Egypt and she had to wear a veil but I think she still really enjoyed the parts where she wasn't being whistled at every few seconds!

Yeah, she was a weird lady.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Twins playing keyboardscoradh on July 17th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
I TOTALLY HAVE PLANS TO COME TO CALIFORNIA.

Although, if I hear ONE MORE TIME that 'oh, LA isn't supposed to be very nice' from people who've never actually been there, I will rip them a new one. (I have been to LA, myself, and I remember awesome shops and awesome food and being afraid there'd be an earthquake and all the flyovers would fall on me.)

We get a lot of Middle Eastern students at my uni, and they have to have an orientation where they're told it's not okay to spit at women in the street. No lie.
peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on July 17th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
HURRAY! I sort of agree maybe, but I am biased, being from NorCal. LA is not the world's most pleasant place. San Francisco, however, is totally fabulous. And Berkeley! Home of my heart, how I love Berkeley. Hey! Come study at Stanford or whatever, that would be cool, I live down the street from that school.

Lolol I wish I believed that less. Although to be fair, Israel is not like that at all! Oh Israel.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: rose petal bowlscoradh on July 17th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
San Franscisco has houses that look like ice-cream! Although you're not to call it San Fran because people will hiss.

Berkeley was on the OC! *amused* I just have a thing for California. It sounds so easy-going, or something - like Australia but not stuck down at the bottom of the world. Also, Australia? Been there, done that.

Heh, it's not like any Western countries could claim to be free of misogeny.
peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on July 18th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
You have learned your lesson well, I see. Yeah, if you want to be really cool, you just call it "the city" and leave people wondering. : ) And dude! They totally look like ice cream. That's actually the perfect way to describe them.

It was? I've never seen the OC, haha. Berkeley is wonderful and I love it. California in general is definitely the best state, hands down. It is pretty easygoing, probably especially compared to like New York or something.

So true! So true.
spark_of_chaos: yellow brainspark_of_chaos on July 15th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Sweet God, I sat my anatomy, physiology and biochemistry just now, and not on the same day, and I was a walking zombie for the two months before that, I don't think I can imagine adding pharm and micro to it and doing it all in a day. :shudders:

It's not your being a distant friend, you know. My friends keep calling me during the exam month and when I go all 'hello? exams here, kthx, will be incommunicado until they're over' everybody thinks I'm just playing up the importance of the exams. Which, ahem, not exactly the case as you know. I don't know. There's no uni education that is easy, of course, but they don't let shit slide in med schools, and the stress is really devastating and considerably more than most people imagine. It annoys me to no end when people give the 'you need a break, why don't you go out a bit' advice, because how can you go and relax when the thought of the 2.5-inch anatomy textbook is there at the back of your mind? Impossible.

The only thing I can really say is that you should do you best to not let the stress reach the critical, rocking-back-and-forth, brain-dead level :) And other than that, you've never sounded like a lax student, so you'll do as great as you need to, I've faith. :crosses fingers: Good luck!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Comic: dedscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
And psych, and embro (we haven't been taught those yet, incidentally), and path, and behavioural science, and immuno. YAY FUN! But as a matter of fact, studying micro properly for once has made me a lot more confident about identifying and treating disease. I'm coming to understand how much we actually skimmed in our course. It's insane.

I often think about our course load like this:
You're a woman with three young kids and a husband who's out of work with a broken back. Because of your salary, he doesn't qualify for benefits. The kids don't get any allowances for the same reason. You work two jobs to make up the rent. You can never, ever afford to take time off, unless you're deathly sick.

Medicine? Is that level of responsibility and stress all the time. You can't ever push it aside.

Over the last three years I've become much better at coping. It's amazing what failing some exams will do for your perspective. ;D It's just this huge mental SIGH of 'you were kidding yourself if you thought you were doing enough - that you were ever doing enough.'

But thanks!
spark_of_chaos: green test tubespark_of_chaos on July 15th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
think about our course load like this

That's... a way to put it. :makes a face: My mother (who is a doctor) did all she could think of to sway me when I announced what I wanted to study. I am beginning to see her POV :g: But indeed medicine does wonders for your perspective. And it increases your stress threshold sky high.

You're welcome :)
oopsoddishly on July 15th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Um. Jeez. This is the kind of post that makes me desperately glad to not be studying right now. (Am not trying to be irritating with that sentence, honest!)

I'd agree that taking a little time to yourself sounds like a great idea, even if it was just a long weekend, except that it never actually works in practice. Me, I spend long hours lying awake even when I have burned out my eyes with all the reading. A long weekend would probably give me owl eyes, feathers and a liking for mice as breakfast food.

Anyway. Not much to say other than good luck, and that falling asleep over your desk will not be kind to your studying practices for the following day. Buy yourself a fluffy new pillow for just such an eventuality. Or... *sends one*

Also: another dial-upper! I thought I was the one and only person in fandom. *g*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: black catscoradh on July 15th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Dude, I am so far from taking offence. Mainly because deep in my deep deep soul, I like studying. It gives me something to do. Otherwise, I'd have had to take a research project this summer. The thought of research makes me itchy.

I've always been sensible about study. A little and often is my motto. Like when I say I started at eleven am - I got up, went to the gym, worked out in front of the TV all before I started. I divide my time up into blocks with breaks for reading and iPoding and eating. I rarely study after ten pm unless I've got work that just has to be done. When it comes to something like this - two months going over the same stuff - that's not really necessary. (It might get me 100%, but not even 100% is worth that.)

aurrrg, only during non-term time. it's a pain, especially with all the pritty picspams going up every day!
oopsoddishly on July 15th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
I divide my time up into blocks with breaks for reading and iPoding and eating.

I'm in awe. Did one of your upheavals take you into samurai school, or something?! I wish I had that kind of self-discipline.

Mainly because deep in my deep deep soul, I like studying. It gives me something to do.

Likewise. Even god I don't know this I'm never going to know this why am I wasting my time on it is better than eeeeennnndddlesss having nowt to do!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: socksscoradh on July 15th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
*blinks* I'm sure I would have remembered, right? No, I'm just ... organised. Apparently. (I was very surprised when someone IRL remarked on that, but you make another.) I plan stuff weeks and months in advance. I know I can't read X in X time, so I figure out how much time I have and divide it. I couldn't go just flailing blindly into the void. :D

Although usually 'nothing' means 'fic,' I'm finding I can write plenty even while studying these days.
de_facto_female on July 15th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Birds inside!! ARGH. That scares me so much - even tho it ain't my study I feel ur pain.

Anyways I just 'found' you via road less travelled and totally like ur LJ. Your my NBF. Lol.

Saz x
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Twins playing keyboardscoradh on July 15th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
I was totally terrified too, even though it was a tiny bird!

HI! :D
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: monkeyscoradh on July 16th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
It was pretty scary, but yeah - gone now!

Thanks. :D