My Doctor Reading List

Monday, June 25, 2012

My new favorite place to study

Studying for the MCAT at the cottage - much more pleasant :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back up plan

This weekend my husband invited a couple of his friends and their wives over to our family cottage to discuss some business ideas. He and his friends are all sick of their jobs or just sick of working for someone else, they decided to try and come up with something of their own*.

I have to say, listening to them talk about it got my ambitions juices going. It gave me hope that if med school doesn't work out, that there really might be something else out there for me. Don't get me wrong, medicine is still something that I really want - and in fact because my husband wants to take the risk of going on his own it would be great for me to have a steady job to ensure our family would be comfortable.

On a different note, we are here at the cottage for the whole week since Jordan's parents are visiting us from New Zealand so I've taken my study materials with me to study for the MCAT. It's really taking a LOOONNGGG time to get through the material but I feel happy because at least I'm really starting to understand the material and I only wish I had more time to study. I have a feeling I won't be ready for this second attempt either and it will take a third try to get it right. But it's ok. I'm 99.9% convinced I'm NOT going to make it this year (since I will only be able to apply to one university) which means I will have all of next year to take prerequisites for other universities, beef up my volunteering and, if necessary, study for the MCAT again.

*Of course we are at the cottage so the brainstorming did include consuming fairly large quantities of beer while sitting on the deck, so after a while the discussion went from discussing business ideas to discussing the type of office they would have and the requirements (which include a fire man's pole, a ball pit and dress themes they would have every week).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back in the true north, strong and free!

I've been back in Canada for a couple days now and and loving the hot weather we are having.

I had an absolutely fabulous time in Poland though and do miss it already. That's the thing about Europe - culture exudes from every corner. I love how I could be walking somewhere and stumble upon a significant war memorial or beautiful church. The history of the country, both the good (the gorgeous churches and other architecture that's been reconstructed since WWII) and the ugly (the communist era buildings), is something that I just love.

It was also so exciting to be there during Euro 2012! I was, however, sad to read so much negative press in Canadian media about racism and violence because there honestly wasn't that much - and there has definitely been less than most other soccer matches. I remember reading in Victoria Beckham's autobiography (don't judge me, I was a huge Spice Girls fan as a kid and Posh was my favorite) about the taunts that were yelled at David Beckham during Manchester United matches - cruel things about his family, how they hoped his kid/wife would get cancer and many other horrible things. Recently in Egypt fans were killed after a soccer match because of the rowdy fans. But I went to the Poland vs Russia match and the atmosphere was amazing, people only yelling positive things about the team they were supporting, not negative things about the other team (at least where I was sitting) and after the game Polish and Russian fans shook hands, exchanged jerseys and congratulated each other on a good match. I wish that at least some of THAT was mentioned in addition to reporting the minimal violence. But I guess this was the Canadian media's way of making up for the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver.

But I digress. It's a bit of a shame that it would be hard to come back to Canada after doing med school in Poland cause I think I would really enjoy being there. In all honesty, if I didn't have Tubes and Jordan to think about, I probably WOULD try there. And I'd be ok with staying there or moving to somewhere else in the EU afterwards. My shadowing experiences there really opened my eyes up to the fact that medicine does exist in other parts of world, and that it exists on an equally high level (though if I said this on a Canadian med forum I'd probably end up banned).

I'm just so frustrated right now with having to study for the MCAT - God, I can't wait to till its over so I can stop being such a broken record! As it stands it looks like I'll only be able to apply to one university this application cycle and it's one that only cares about the verbal reasoning score (which I did OK on in my first attempt). But I still want to get it over with - and I can always write it again (though I shudder at the thought).

The next few days are going to be busy as I'm going to have to get ready for my in-laws from New Zealand who are coming to stay with us (read - clean entire house), run a bunch of errands as we are going up to my family cottage for a week and try to squeeze in some studying as well.

Anyway, here is to a great summer even if I DO have to study for most of it. Cheers!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Trust myself

I'm going back to Canada in 6 days and I really wanted to be further along with my MCAT study than I am. So my mom suggested that I skip out on my cousin's birthday BBQ today while she and my dad took my son along with them, leaving me to take advantage of some peace and quiet to study.

I decided that I really want to focus on doing MCAT problems and not just reading the text books, like I did last time, since I think that especially for physics (what I'm focusing on at the moment) its the only way to really learn to do well on the MCAT.

But over an HOUR into doing ONE problem, I was sitting here, almost in tears, because I just couldn't get it. I kept looking at the answer key and the explaination and it just DID NOT make sense! I would flip back through the text book and re-read the same thing, than look at the problem and then the answer again.

Before I flung my textbook out of the window, I decided to take a deep breath, make myself some tea (and sneak a piece of cheesecake*) to see if it would help clear my head a bit.

And while I was sipping my tea, I remembered that my the physics prof from my MCAT course had at one point in time sent us an email to alert us that there were a couple of errors in our review book. I immediately found that email and lo and behold, but the question I had been stuggling with was the very first on his list and the reasoning was exactly what didn't make sense (basically, they had a typo in the formula they used in their answer key).

I was so relieved but also a bit annoyed with myself. Wasn't it Einstien who said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over but hoping for a different result each time? Why didn't I trust my intelligence enough to realize it was a mistake and just move on? Instead I've wasted a whole hour of child-free studying - which any student parent will tell you is priceless.

Anyway, I think that to be successful I really need to start believing in myself more.

Ok, now back to studying - I want to get enough done so I can watch some of the Euro 2012 matches tonight guilt free!

*About a week ago I started the South Beach diet, Phase 1 to help me shed some of the weight I've gained since being in Poland (bread here is amazing and there is no such thing as low fat/low calorie products plus my parents have been having dinners parties almost every night since I've arrived). I wish I'd read that email BEFORE succumbing to the sugar (absolutely not allowed during this phase of the diet).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dusting off

As part of my attempt to refocus and reatrategize my prep for the MCAT, I hired tutors for physics, biology and chem (already have a great Ochem one back home). This was actually my mom's idea and she actually found the contact info for my science teacher from middle school (!!) who still teaches at that school and who said she would be happy to give me some tutoring in and recommended some of her colleges for the other sciences.

So far I've had two physics sessions and they were really great. I'm loving this tutor and wish I had taken physics at university cause I really do enjoy it and he told m that I really do have a good head for physics, but that I need to practice more to get the theory more stuck in my hear. At the moment it's all swimming around in my head but at least I "get" physics.

Anyway...I feel a bit more positive about my potential for the next attempt at the MCAT (though I still will try t defer it for a later date if possible).

Most of my shadowing opportunities are done, just one day left. I've decided to opt out of watching the brain surgery as I had a little ethical dilemma about it...I put myself in the shoes of the patient and thought that while at a teaching hospital I'm ok with observing along with other students but obviously wouldn't have any contact with the patient. But the even though the neurosurgeon is the head of his department and has given me permission, it's not a teaching hospital that he works at, therefore I don't think it's fair for me to watch. I don't know if I'd want a random person observing in that situation. In any case I will have more time to study and I intend to use it well.