Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!!!


If you're still looking for a place to go tonight, stop by Bogota!

No cover charge or inflated prices.

And I'll be hostessing!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Closing In on Semester One!

This week has been absolutely insane. I can't believe the amount of material that we're being tested on 6 hours from now in anatomy. Incredible. 200 questions, word bank, no multiple choice, no matching. Straight up fill-in...

The stress involved in preparing for such a test is strange. The competitive side of my personality wants to keep on studying while the rational side of my brain says, that's enough...go to bed. My brain doesn't like straight up memorization. It's not natural.

After the stress of the physical diagnosis exam (oral/practical) and the physiology exam (I passed) my brain is begging and pleading for a break...and so is my body. I'm doing everything I tell my personal training clients NOT to do. I'm skipping breakfast, drinking too much coffee, eating too much chocolate, and sitting in a chair at least 9 hours a day. My muscles are sore from being cramped in a tiny desk...terrible. I just keep telling myself it's only temporary.

Two more days. Three more exams. And then I can rest my brain and exercise my muscles and yes, I did just forget that it's Christmas. Wow...that's terrible.

Finals week should be a breeze compared to the last two weeks. But, you never know. We have one exam everyday from Tuesday to Friday with no additional classes.

And then Semester One of this bizarre experience will be done.

I cannot believe it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Good News...

I will have a 10-day break starting the second week in January!! whoohoooo

10 days? Hmmm....where should I go?

That's almost enough time for an international soiree.

My Japanese sister just got engaged.

Hmmm....Tokyo anyone?

Travelling is my vice.

Wait a minute...I just remembered that I'm a broke college student.


Welcome to Medicine

Today was just one of those days that would have been better spent curled up in bed with a good book. Not a good textbook...but a nice, sappy romance novel that has a happy ending.

Physical Diagnosis exam was ok. I was given the abdominal exam and after it was all done I realized that I had forgotten to palpate the abdominal of course I was kicking myself in the butt for that blooper. It's ridiculous how easy it is to forget everything that you did RIGHT...but once you make a mistake...that's the only thing you can remember.

The physiology exam started 2 hours later so I was able to review most of the material (not all) one last time. But by that point my brain felt like mush and all the info was randomly sloshing around. I survived the exam, but have absolutely no idea how I did. I usually leave an exam with some kind of idea...but not today. I went in with a mushy brain and left with an even mushier brain (is that a word?).

We had another 2 hour break so I tried to get some Christmas shopping done. Then it was back to school for the last meeting of our Psychosocial class. Tonight we were discussing death and dying and a patient's right to die. We watched a 90 minute video about three different people and their terminal illnesses and how they wanted to die and the affect it has on their caregivers. It triggered a lot of suppressed emotions since I experienced this recently with someone that I love. Some people in the class were visibly upset. When the movie ended, the class president raised his hand and halfheartedly asked the instructor, "The stress of the exams this week is emotionally taxing...couldn't we have done this at the beginning of the semester?" To which the instructor replied, "Welcome to medicine, you never know what you're going to be presented with...and how it will affect you emotionally. This is something you're going to have to get used to."

So there you have it...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Step Away from the Ledge!

It starts with a text message: "I can't do this anymore! I can't focus!"

Then the phone rings, "I feel paralyzed. There is too much information that I don't even know where to start. Why are they giving us two exams tomorrow. Why are they doing this to us? My brain is frozen. It's already 10pm and I'm not even close to finishing. I'M GOING TO FAIL!"

Although I'm feeling the exact same way I calmly respond, "Yes, you can do it. I know you can do it. Go cry, scream, run what you have to do and then go back to studying. YOU CAN DO IT!"

The voice on the other end responds, "Thanks, I feel better now."

"No problem. I know you'll do the same for me when I call you in a few hours with the same feelings!"

And then we laugh and simultaneously step away from the ledge.

Adios Chemistry!

On a positive note...and I mean a VERY POSITIVE NOTE...I am done with biochemistry!! We do still have a final exam coming up in January, but since I've done well on the first three exams, it will only count towards 10% of my final grade.

Isn't that nice???

Which leads me to believe, that there is indeed, a Santa Claus!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Grinch

I've decided that the Grinch who stole Christmas does not live on top of the mountain hovering over "Who-ville"...nope, the Grinch is the director of my program.

December has been the most challenging month thus far. Intellectually, emotionally, and even physically (sitting on a hard desk chair 9+ hours a day hurts!). We had four 12 hour days this past week with three exams. This upcoming week we have four 12 hour days and 5 exams. They keep adding on new exams...and this is NOT finals week. The total for December is 11 exams. Finals start January 2nd (at least 5 more exams that week). I'm exhausted and haven't gotten much Christmas shopping done. UGH

There hasn't been enough time to properly prepare for the physiology exam on Monday either. Which makes the studying experience that much more frustrating. This exam in on Endocrinology and Sexual Reproduction, two topics that I'm interested in studying but because of the exams last week and the excrutiatingly long days in the classroom there was no other recourse but to delay the studying until this weekend.

So that means I'm sitting home studying on a Saturday night while my family is partying at two different Christmas parties. I try really hard to live a balanced life but this month it's not even possible. I've only worked out a handful of times and the personal trainers that I work with and some of the gym members have expressed their concern! And although I absolutely love what I'm doing and the journey that I'm on...I would rather be drinking egg nog and stuffing my face than studying the physiological effects of Viagra! (don't get me started...)

The last few months feel like a blur. Life outside of the classroom just doesn't seem to coincide with the intensity and focus necessary inside of the classroom...which renders an inner sense of frustration when my favorite time of year seems to be passing me by. I finish exams on the 23rd...I didn't even have time to send Santa my Christmas list this year!

I know this week will come and go and school will return to a more manageable pace...but right now, it hurts. Right now, it's not fun. Right now, it's taking every ounce of strength to suppress the urge to spontaneously combust into tears.

I'm not the only one...I've been asking around and it seems that most girls have 30 second crying outbursts and although the guys deny crying (I don't believe all of them), they do admit to screaming and throwing things (textbooks, binders, pencils etc.) out of pure frustration. This seems to be normal behavior for PA students. We cry, scream, throw things and then go back to studying. Some students have been experiencing this all throughout the semester...but it didn't really hit me until this week.

So to all the aspiring PA students: Believe The Hype - PA school will kick your butt! And you have no choice but to take it. So you better make sure that you really, really, really, really, really want to be a PA.


And on that note... fa la la la la la la la la! Perhaps if I sing louder, the grinch will hear me and his heart will begin to grow...and Christmas will be restored to PA students everywhere.


Monday, December 12, 2005


I don't recommend starting off your week with a Monday like the one I had today.

8am-9:30am: Biochemistry Exam
10 am-1pm: Physical Diagnosis Lab
1:30pm-4:30pm: Physiology
5pm-8pm: Psychosocial History of HealthCare (actually, not even sure if that's the name of the class!!!)

What's that organization...OSHA? (occupational safety and health admin). I wonder if they'd intervene if I gave them a call?

It also didn't help that I only had about 4 hours of sleep last night. I stopped studying at a decent hour, but the mind kept buzzing about with biochem nonsense and some nights it's hard to turn it off. Sometimes the brain just wants to keep on going...

Tonight, my brain is on strike.

Unfortunately, word has trickled down from the admin office that the next two weeks will determine who does NOT come back next semester. I am in good standing, but if I wasn't, I'd be freaking out. There is not enough time to properly prepare for the next 4 exams before the holiday break and if my entire semester were riding on the next few weeks...I'd be bugging. Some of my classmates are visibly worried and that's unsettling to me. Overall, we have a very intelligent class and we get along really well (unlike last year's class) and it'll be disheartening if people don't return.

We'll see what happens...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

How does it feel...

How does it feel to have four 12 hour days and two exams this week?

How does it feel to have four 12 hour days and three exams the following week?

How does it feel to miss two Christmas parties, each scheduled during the week?

It feels like NOBODY understands...

...except for those in my class who keep calling me to complain. To complain about how nobody understands their stress.

Nobody. Except now maybe you do.

Not looking for sympathy, just a little understanding for when I have to say NO to things I definitely would rather be doing...especially at this time of year.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Best of Both Worlds

As I was driving to Brooklyn, I started to feel guilty about not studying. I realized that it was important for me to shoot for the A in biochemistry. Luckily, I had my biochem notes with me (security blanket) in the car. When I got to the restaurant, it was hopping with hungry people. George was busy overseeing the kitchen staff and Omar was busy shmoozing with the patrons. Then I had a brilliant idea. I would study until the crowd died down and then eat dinner with my boys.

It was a brilliant plan. Their quiet office has a window that overlooks the kitchen, so I was able to get a lot of studying done (90 minutes) as well as sneak peaks at my favorite cook (the former cutie patootie bus boy!).

Sometimes all I need is a change of scenery and I get motivated again to study. It is important, it is only temporary and I will get a break in two weeks. That is what I keep telling myself. Although it feels like it will be the longest two weeks of my life!

PS- Thank you George and Omar!

Friday, December 09, 2005

What should I do?

There is way too much studying to do.

It's Friday night and the thought of studying doesn't make me happy.

Biochemistry exam on Monday morning. I should study. Pharmacology exam Friday. I should study. Physiology exam and Physical Diagnosis exams the following Monday. Anatomy lecture and lab exam the following Thursday. I should study.

When I'm not studying I feel guilty. But, after 3 exams this week, my brain can't handle anymore information.

The thought of going to Bogota Latin Bistro for some bandeja paisa and a coconut martini makes me happier than staying in and studying (again).

I'm plagued by happens every night.

Will I care years from now if I get an A or a B on the biochem exam.


Screw it, I'm going to Bklyn. I miss my amigos!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Great Revelation...

I was suffering through biochemistry this morning when I heard my friend sitting behind me whisper, "We only have 2 more biochemistry classes left for the semester!"


I couldn't believe it!! The weird thing is that I've actually grown to like biochemistry. It is way more practical than organic chemistry. Organic chemistry was comparable to moving to a foreign country and trying to learn the language without any previous exposure to it. Nothing makes sense, yet you manage to piece together small tidbits of what you think may be important and you somehow manage to get by. Since I did that in Japan for two years, I am very familiar with the "what in the world is going on here" feeling. That experience continues to serve me well...

But then I had the greatest revelation of all time. I turned around to my friend and whispered back, "We only have two more chemistry classes for the REST OF OUR LIVES!!!"

My fear of chemistry nearly kept me out of the running towards being "America's Next Top PA!" (yes, I am poking fun at Tyra Bank's "America's Next Top Model show)

And there is great satisfaction in conquering your fears...

...thank you Deepa!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tis the Season!

Why is there snow on the ground? Is it really December? Am I really almost done with the first semester of PA school?

Really? Where did the time go? What have I been doing?

When am I going to find the time to go Christmas shopping???

Classes end on the 23rd and finals begin January 2nd. Rumor has it we get bombarded with exams the first week of January but then we get the second week of January off if we pass every class. I guess if you are on the border of failing a class, they give you the chance to pass a CUMULATIVE exam in that subject during the second week in January. If you fail a class you have to get special permission to stay in the program and re-take it next year. Fail two classes and you're out of the program.

I will have that week off....more motivation to keep my head in the books right now.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Physiology Exam

The exam did live up to it's nasty reputation.

I got stuck on page #4, that had one graph with several different graphs weaved in it. There were 20 questions on the graph that equaled 20 points. It was the type of question where if you got one were going to get them all wrong.

I feverishly wrote down all of the information I knew about the graphs and tried my damnest to figure out the answers. But no matter which way I approached the question, I wasn't satisfied with my answer. I didn't get that warm fuzzy feeling in my gut letting me know it was ok and time to move on to the next question. There was a part of me that wanted to give up and walk away. I was tired, very tired, my head was throbbing and my brain felt like it was deteriorating...quickly! At that point I took a deep breathe and looked around at some of my classmates. Some of them were giving up, some of them were leaving. That's when the competitive side came out. T-rex wasn't going down without a fight.

And then I did something I'd never done before during an exam: I raised my hand! I didn't think much about it beforehand, I was frustrated because I knew that I knew the information, I just wasn't 100% sure I was interpreting his graph (with mini graphs intertwined) correctly. The prof acknowledged my hand and came over. He kneeled down next to my desk and I could tell that he saw the frustration in my eyes. I looked at him and whispered, "I don't know what you can tell me...but I'm frustrated because I know that I know this's just not coming out of my brain!" He gave me a sympathetic smile and looked down at my paper. I had scribbled down every single piece of information that I could extract from the graph. He looked back up at me and put his hand on my arm and said, "Yes, you do know the information, in fact, I know you can answer these questions successfully."

And that was it. I had always wondered what profs said to students during an exam...for some reason though I felt like I got gypped! As he stood back up, he patted me on my arm and I felt like I was 6 years old again standing on the sideline with my soccer coach. The prof had given me a little rest and a gentle nudge to get back in the game.

31 people failed the exam.

I passed and got every single question on that graph correct. When I returned my exam back to the prof he smiled and said, "Good job!"

The six year old inside me beamed and skipped out the door.

The 29 year old humbly thanked the prof and then tended to her friends that didn't pass the exam.

December is going to be a rough month.

Monday, December 05, 2005


My horoscope:

It is frustrating when work gets in the way of your romantic and social life. This is likely what you are feeling today, t-rex, as your thoughts are on your evening and weekend activities but your obligations are clearly visible on the desk in front of you. Don't despair. Simply make a commitment to buckle down and do what's expected of you, then enjoy yourself this evening, secure in the knowledge that you fulfilled all your obligations

My horoscopes are really starting to freak me out! How'd the universe know that I spent my entire weekend studying physiology? How'd the universe know that tomorrow is the hardest exam of the semester...only 5 people passed this exam last year? Who'd think a simple horoscope could so accurately gauge exactly how I'm feeling at this moment in time????

Unfortunately, the entire month of December will read like this...9 exams before Christmas.

We do get a week off between Christmas and New Year's...but final exams start on January 2nd!


Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1st is International World AIDS Day.

HIV/AIDS rates continue to climb in the United States as well as abroad.

Top 5 States with highest infection rates:

New York
New Jersey

Top 2 Suburbs:

Long Island, NY
Orange County, Ca

Age Group at Greatest Risk of Infection: 13-24 at a rate of 2 per hour=24/day in the United States!

As a former HIV/AIDS educator/test counselor for the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, , HIV/AIDS is still raging in the United States. Don't be fooled into thinking it's only a problem that's getting worse overseas. Get educated and protect yourself.

Here are some of my favorite links: