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Saturday, June 30, 2018

1st Year is...


I passed everything. The histology exam was brutal though, it was so detailed! My group's teacher wrote the exam and she really honed in on the details as opposed to making it more broad like past finals have been. I left the exam feeling like I just passed or just failed.

 Only 50 out of 86 who were allowed to write passed and of those people the majority just scraped through (me included - I got a 67%, needed 60% to pass). A part of me wishes I had had a bit more time to study - I mostly was able to do just a high level review of the material and do some old exams (and this is what saved me - there were many similar questions). For the most part, the people that did well (got over 80%) were the people who didn't make it to the finals for anatomy and had over 2 weeks to prepare.

But I honestly don't care about my grade. I managed to accomplish what I wanted - to pass all my exams on the first attempt and not have to rewrite and study for anything over the summer.

So now I'm going to take a well-deserved break and focus on hanging out with my family. I do have to arrange my nursing internship still, but I plan on doing that in September when my oldest is back in school and we are back to a more "normal" routine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Last one

Today I had my histology practical final and it was such a drama.

I was sure - SURE - that I failed. The slides I had to identify were hard! I thought I knew the list of structures we needed to know so well but the specimens I got were so different.

It started off badly because my slides didn't appear to be in order. And the I couldn't recognize my first slide. Was it thymus gland or parotid gland? I froze! And time kept ticking...we have to identify 10 slides (ie. we have to name the organ or structure) in 10 minutes under a microscope.

I was only on my 3rd slide when the proctor announced we had 5 minutes left and I still had 7 slides to go!

My hand was shaking the entire time and I rushed through the remaining slides and left the exam being sure of only 4 of them. And we needed 6 out of 10 to pass.

I consoled myself with a caramel frappucino from Starbucks while I debriefed the exam with my friend and then went home...and I emailed my teacher preemptively begging her that if I failed, would they let me try the retake before we broke for summer?

Luckily they decided to put us out of our misery quickly because only a few hours later they posted the results - and guys, I PASSED. I got 7/10 which is amazing because if you get over 6, they give you an additional 1% of each additional point that will count towards our theory final, which is tomorrow (though oddly, they only give you those extra marks if you pass, so its really only gravy, still I'll take it).

Anyway, this time tomorrow I'll be DONE. Done for the summer, hopefully not having to repeat the histology final.

But even if I have to, honestly I won't be *too* upset because my priority was to be done with anatomy and I am pretty confident in my ability to learn the histology - I just didn't have enough time from the end of the anatomy finals to these finals (6 days) be able to competently review the entire year.

So hopefully I'll scrape through.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


I have such study fatigue at the moment that I'm doing everything and anything to not study for my histology finals.

So far today I've:

  • met up for lunch with my husband and then met up for another lunch with a couple of my classmates
  • paid a bunch of bills (none urgent)
  • done payroll for my dad's company (I do some accounting work for my dad's company - fair trade off for all the support I get from my parents).
  • responded to a random and unnecessary LinkdIn message
  • gone to Starbucks twice
  • looked up Ali Wong memes
  • got involved in some Facebook arguments on an anti-vax page and some other page about food
  • thought about the future of this blog and how I want it to look like
  • done some studying
Sigh. I hope this doesn't bite me in the ass. A part of me (the pre-exam, not facing consequence part) is like oh screw it, who cares if I have to rewrite the final? I will have more time to study! But the realistic part of me knows that the whole point is to NOT have to study any more and to just pass NOW. Plus it would be embarrassing to fail. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Beyond Relieved

I passed the anatomy finals.

I'm so incredibly and utterly relieved. And happy.

Out of my class of 120 people, 41 were permitted to take the final exam and 3 were exempted (for having the 3 highest scores prior to the second term exam). Of those, 29 passed. I am one of them.

This was the hardest exam I've ever taken. The pins section, in particular was brutal and I honestly thought it would be the death of me. I left the exam not being sure if I passed it or not. I couldn't sleep over obsessing over some mistakes I knew I made and just hoped and even prayed that I did enough.

Did I do amazing? No. I got 68% on the pins and 84% on the theory for an overall average of 76% (they combine the scores). After the initial relief of finding out I passed, knowing that I will NOT have to study this summer, I started to be a *bit* disappointed in the actual score. I wished I had just stayed up and studied a bit later, taken more time to look at some of the specimens. Wondered if those episodes of Riverdale that I watched to give my mind a break are the reason I didn't get more pins correct.

But I needed to stop myself. I don't know if this is just something women do, but we often hone-in on our faults and over-look our successes. And when I think about it, I think I just did something incredible, really.

I passed the hardest subject of the year, something that about 25% of the class will have to repeat, the course that is used to cut people of the program. And I did it on the first attempt. I did it while balancing THREE children. Three children adjusting to me being away. A husband adjusting to me being away and with new responsibilities. Commitments that I still needed to keep, responsibilities that did not go away because I suddenly had so much more on my plate.

So I'm going to stop right here and just say how proud I am of myself that I did this, that the first major challenge has been met and overcome. I can do this.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Not done yet but...

The end is so close.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I have my Anatomy finals. I'm lucky I get to write them because...I failed my practical term exam. Or rather, I didn't get enough points, combined with my previous midterm and weekly quiz points, to be "allowed" to take the final. I don't know if it was the time lost due to the back pain fiasco or because I focused too much of my study time on my theoretical exam (which I did really well on at least) but I bombed the practical, which is identifying anatomical structures that are "pinned".

I was so mad at myself. I made the dumbest mistakes. Mostly because of lack of confidence rather than actually not knowing the structures. I looked at radiological images wrong. I "over-provided" info for structures (for example I put "ulnar artery of arm" - and since there is only an ulnar artery in the arm, putting "of arm" made it seem like there are more ulnar arteries and I got 0 points - if I had just left it as "ulnar artery" I would have gotten the full 2 points - yes, they are that strict).

However, I think it was a blessing in disguise. Because we do get another chance to write the final via an exam called the "Admissions" exam. However, instead of just this past semester, it is from the WHOLE year and we only had a week to prepare for it. And it forced to me start studying for everything right away.

So after a cry, I just buckled down and studied. Luckily I only had to study for the practical, so was able to just go over the structures again and again and again.

And I passed the admissions exam. It was SUCH a relief and it really was great practice for the final, which will be similar and probably a bit easier (based on what students from previous years have said).

I'm lucky though. Only 10 people out of 120 were allowed to write to the final based on just the term exams. A further 30 or so out of 110 people who did the admissions exams passed. Those people who failed the admissions exam are now going to have to petition the dean to be allowed to write the admissions AGAIN, which will happen in August and then will still have to sit the re-take final exam in September. If I fail this final exam, I'll have a chance at the re-take final. If I fail THAT I will have one last chance hail-Mary type of exam called a "Commissional Hearing" where a professor and a medical student from an upper year give you an oral exam and decide if they will put you through or not. And I heard if you make it to the finals in general, you're pretty much guaranteed to pass. Its passing the Admissions exams that the real obstacle, so I'm so glad I'm over it.

After Anatomy, I still have Histology left but I'm not as concerned about it. Because even if I fail that, I can still proceed to the 2nd year of medical school while if I fail Anatomy - even if I pass everything else - I still can't proceed to the 2nd year.

In any case, I'm planning on passing all of them on this first attempt. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Not an ideal time

This morning, I threw out my back. 

After the success of last semester's move out during exams, I wanted to do it again. But instead of spending a bunch of money on an AirBnb, this time I decided to buy a pull-out couch for the office space my dad has in town (where I sometimes study) and "move in" there. Its perfect because it has a bathroom with a shower and a small kitchen, plus its walking distance to coffee shops (a necessity) and good places to eat. 

But I digress. IKEA delivered the couch this morning and I put it together. Then I just wanted to move it a bit to center it against the wall and I felt a "pop" followed by my back seizing up.

It. Hurt. So. Much. I've been dealing with some joint pain in my second metacarpalphalangeal joint of my right hand, but I know its because of my recent studying and over-use of my laptop/phone/tablet for Anki cards (best study device ever) and have just decided to push through it. But I knew this back spasm was much more serious and I can't just wait it out/medicate it with ibuprofen. The same thing happened to me this past Christmas and I learned the hard way that it won't just go away (I ended up going to the ER at 6AM after being unable to sleep for two days in a row due to the immense pain).

So I called an Uber and went to the hospital. Luckily I was able to see an orthopedic surgeon pretty quickly and he ordered me a shot (in the bum, fun times) to help ease the pain but without making me drowsy. I'd love to call in sick today and just lay on the couch-bed while on muscle relaxants but I have so much to study and review today. And I'm already way behind because of the hours lost going to/from the hospital. And unfortunately, the shot wasn't 100% effective. I can walk now (not hobble) but it still hurts and seizes up every once in a while.

Man, I'm on the verge. To add insult to injury, my period started today as well and I have some wicked cramps. Though maybe its for the best to get it over with now instead of getting it on the day of the exam. 

But time to get over my pity-party and learn some stuff. Still. Send some positive vibes/thoughts/prayers my way on Tuesday.