Are There Germs in Medical School?

Okay, so this question it totally absurd, I know. The real question is, how in the world do med-school students deal with being sick?

I don’t get sick that often, but when I do…I don’t want to work anything other than my tear ducts! I caught a cold over the weekend (joy of joys, the weekend prior to finals) and I’m sitting here in half stupor pouring over my study guide hoping that something, anything, will penetrate my comatose brain.

What would I be doing if I were already in med-school? Preparing for major tests, memorizing details of body and disease, needing to work million hour shifts with no sleep!? Bah! What if I just lose it and just start crying or something? Oh my goodness, this is bad.

This little journey into my cold-germ infested psyche has brought me to the realization that I should probably be preparing for medical school physically/immune-systemly as well as academically and financially. A proper diet and exercise in order to lose weight and prepare for many many hours on my feet flitting from one emergency to the next. A proper diet and exercise in order to heal and boost my immune systems ability to ward of disease and infection. A proper diet and exercise to provide nutrients and energy to my organs, including my brain, for better ability to retain and quickly access stored information so I don’t kill any patience because I couldn’t remember.

Do we see a trend here? Oh yeah, a proper diet and exercise, duh. Sounds like someone has a lot of changes to make in the coming months – don’t want to get through pre-med hell with the intellectual stamina for medical school and then have to drop out because I don’t have the physical stamina or well-being to cut it. More to come on my impending lifestyle changes!

“In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Love,
Beth

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Grade please!

Can I just take a second to complain? Rant, if you will?

It is not acceptable for a professor to create a syllabus and then completely disregard it. Yes, changes are expected from time to time, but for your students to have NO IDEA what to expect or how to figure they’re grade because things have been changed so much? No.

It is not acceptable for you to say that something is Extra Credit and then, the last day of lecture, say “well, yeah, kind of extra credit, but really just to give us more points, so, well, it’ll all work out”. What?

You can not spend the entire semester of lectures trying to figure out how to turn on your computer and showing us YouTube videos with no sound (because you can’t work the speakers) and telling us about every single veteran you have ever counseled and NOT teaching us ANYTHING about the actual topic of the course, and then give us a study guide for the final that basically says “read the entire book and remember everything”. BAH!

You have not learned our names or passed around a sign in sheet, yet you intend to grade on attendance? You said the final is worth 50 points, but the points per question outline add up to almost 70 points!? You said those of us that turned in a draft research paper would receive 10 Extra Credit points, now you say it was worth UP TO 10 points?  We all turned in a random, non syllabus, possibly extra credit, possibly required assignment 2 months ago and today it seemed a total surprise to you that those needed grading.

How is it professional, or academically acceptable for us to have no idea what our grades are or how to figure them?? Even if we graded the final exam in class I would have no idea what my grade in the class is! You refuse to use technology so I have to wait until my transcript is updated to see what my grade is, and even then I will have no idea what I did well on or what I did poorly on. And I will have learned what from this??? Nothing.

Thank you to my professors who know what the hell they’re doing, talk to us about changes, appologize for mistakes, and treat us like adults. To those of you who are so involved in your clinical practices that teaching has become a side job pain in your ass, please know that none of us will be hurt if you keep your day job.

In an attempt to end on a positive note…I love classes where the only grades are exams that are all weighted the same. I excel in that environment. I hear med-school is like that…yay for me! :))

“A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.”

~Louis A. Berman

Beth

Finally Finals!

Here we are guys! So close to the end…at least of this semester. All school schedules being different, I’m sure yours doesn’t match mine but I think it’s safe for me to say we’ll all be seeing at least a few days (if not weeks) of down time VERY SOON!

I have spent every spare second this week finishing up final labs, turning in final research papers, and study study studying for my first set of pre-final and final-final exams:

Monday: Abnormal Psychology Exam 3

Tuesday: Algebra I Final Exam

Wednesday: Biology I Final Exam

Abnormal Psychology was a great class and I really learned a lot! The only grade points were tests which is the kind of class I love – the final is comprehensive (which I don’t love) but we’re spending the time after Exam 3 reviewing all our previous exams in preparation. My first exam was an ‘A’, second was a ‘B’ – if I did the current study guide justice, I think exam 3 will be an ‘A’ along with the final and my final grade, inshaAllah.

Algebra has been the class from hell (as in I literally think that Satan created Algebra) but I have made it through to this week with a nice beefy 84% so as long as I show up for the final with any brain cells left in tact I should make it out with a ‘B’…which for me, in Algebra land, is like being the smartest person on the face of the planet.

Biology. What can I say. I love it, it loves me. I’ve carried an ‘A’ almost all semester and since all the questions on the final are included in our S U P E R long study guide I see no reason why this should change. Plus, thanks to my good and extra credit loving friend Sarah I have 10 extra credit points to play with just in case!

Next week’s agenda:

Monday: Abnormal Psychology Final Exam

Tuesday: Personality Theories Final Exam

Wednesday: Psychology of Adolescents Final Exam

Personality, well, no one knows all about that one. In fact, I would not be surprised if I currently have an ‘F’ in that class…nor would it surprise me if I have an ‘A’. The professor is on crack, or off of it, or taking the kind they mix with other stuff to make it cheaper, which, really is a disservice to her because she needs all the help she can get. I have no bets placed on this class, although, I will be totally peeved if it’s less than an ‘A’ because I paid to sit there all semester and watch YouTube videos and I deserve that grade if for no other reason than that!

Psychology of Adolescents is taught by my favorite professor at NSU, Dr. David. I always learn a lot from him and end the semester wanting to share a multitude of articles with everyone I know so they can be better parents, teachers, friends, etc. Truth be told, I think my enjoyment of  Dr. David’s lectures is in the fact that we are both optimists. I see an ‘A’ in my future here, inshaAllah.

Okay, now that I’ve provided you with a bunch of useless information about my personal finals schedule I should let you get back to studying! First, however, let me note that while I am oh so ready for this term to be over, it is not because I am tired of school or not looking forward to future classes – I’m really just ready for a little break and a change in pace. I didn’t want any of you pre-meds out there thinking I’m losing  my grip after only two semesters back at full time school! Have no fear my friends, this is a journey I am enjoying immensely while I can’t wait to finish.

“Winning isn’t always finishing first. Sometimes winning is just finishing.”

–Manuel Diotte

Alhamdulillah,

Beth

Exclamation Marks!

I know you’re all eagerly awaiting the next installment of “I Heart Catholicism and You Can Too!” but surely by now you’re aware that the effort that goes into writing an 1800 word blog on one topic takes more than two days. Never fear though, I am here with some short-ish (it’s a start, okay?) quips for the interrum. I have a couple of things to say, so relax, take your ridelin, and stay a moment won’t you?

Topic A: Why is my sister a better person than I am?!

Seriously! I can talk all day long about what kind of person one SHOULD be. I can give advice about patience, and forgiveness, and charity, and quote Ghandi and Michael Jackson, and MLK Jr. I usually even throw in some Holy Scripture! But while I’m talking about how I gave a homeless person twenty bucks, my sister is out there giving five dollars with her mouth shut. Sure it’s less (cuz I always win the number game) but obviously her heart is bigger because she doesn’t need to tell the world how awesome she is. She complains to me about crappy situations in life, but does she throw the cross off of her shoulders and move back to LA? Nope. Do I? Sure do! I don’t even leave LA in the first place! No matter what I do, she always wins. Quietly, but surely.

(God save me, cause Hollywood here I am, with a big mouth, an empty wallet, and my sister too, too far away.)

Topic B: How cool is my boyfriend?!

Yeah, that’s right. My boyfriend is cooler than yours. My boyfriend is so cool that he gets the same ‘question-mark-exclamation-mark’ treatment in his topic title as my saintly sister. My boyfriend is so cool that guys hit on me at work, and without realizing what hit them, leave set with a Mann-crush on my bf bigger than my most glorifying push-up bra and almost as strong as his daily americano; no cream, no sugar. My boyfriend is super cute, super giving, and loves his family a super lot (even though he doesn’t say it.) He tells me I’m smarter than him because he’s smart enough to know he should. He has more Bibles than me and no matter what I think I know… He knows something else.

Oh, your boyfriend smokes Marlborough Reds and sings f*** the police? Well mine doesn’t. Take that!
(He doesn’t blog as often as I do either. Told ya. I always win the number game…)

Topic C: Be nice to homeless people!

That’s right! I’m so stinking tired of people being rude to homeless people. You don’t want to give them any money? Okay, fine. Does that mean you have to talk to and treat them as if they’re animals? As if they’re beings NOT made by Gods hand, in His image? Hey, last time I checked, the devil wasn’t capable of creating men from dust.

He was however, capable of perpetrating hate, predjudice, and greed. Last time I checked, that is.

Topic D: Matthew 18:22-33

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

Peace be with you 🙂

Deb

“Taking Out the Trash” Or “Hiding It Until Tuesday”

This blog is my contribution to Earth Day. My, “vow” if you will, to lessen the effects of my ‘pollution’ on my many, many, loyal fans and readers (… All two of you.) If you’re really looking for some great insight on earth day, please follow this by reading Beth’s Earth Day blog! She makes some really excellent points and gives us all something to remember and to really think about.
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It has recently come to my attention that I may possibly… Well… That I do, talk to stinkin much. I personally feel this is just another attack on my person as a victim of the family caste system (I, being the horribly neglected middle-child) and perhaps also a slight show of jealousy toward my career in performance. However, despite this obvious classism and predjudice toward people of my kind (middle children, actors, etc.) I will do my best to, well, shut my mouth. It’s going to be hard. And probably not always successful. However, from here on out I will attempt to break up my letters into cohesive pieces that can be presented on different days, so as to allow those of you with ADD time to really soak in an idea before moving on to…

The rest of the same of idea.

For those of you who don’t have neuro-chemical imbalances or deep seeded frustrations toward pretty middle-children and well spoken actors, feel free to wait until all parts of a letter have been posted and read them all at once. Or, since I will probably have already written the entire letter anyway, just ask me and I’ll snail mail it to you ahead of time for a small postage and handling fee. I’ll even autograph it with a pretty metallic gold sharpie;

“To you, from your loyal, caring, conscientious friend, who’s advice you value because I make dreams come true!”

May Gods peace be with you always. -Deborah

Earth Day Thoughts

My message for Earth Day 2010 is two-fold, but hopefully not too long.

For Christians that have ever thought perhaps it is not within the scope of our duty to care for the earth, recycle, or reduce our carbon footprint I offer the words of St. Paul to the Phillipians (2:3-4)-

“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.”

I don’t think that any of us would deny that it is commanded of Christians to care for the poor, the widowed, the homeless – basically, anyone less fortunate than ourselves. What we should consider this Earth Day is how our actions toward the environment affect other people in the world.

If we add smog to the air by driving a Hummer, are we being responsible to the health and well being of our fellow humans? If we utilize an abundance of power and services in our homes, are we being good stewards of the resources we share with others? If we throw away plastic bags that take at least 500 years to decompose, are we leaving future generations wondering why the Christians of today didn’t care more for the earth God provided to us?

So, the next time you consume or make a decision that has environmental impact, make sure you’re looking out for the interests of others and not just choosing the easiest, most convenient option.

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The second part of my Earth Day thoughts I wanted to share stem from my pre-med mind set. As a future physician I am increasingly concerned with how environment impacts health, and there is no denying that it does.

When considering the impact of environment on health we can’t forget one basic, but very important, fact – that genes are affected by our environment. That’s right, chemicals, particles, and other pollutants can cause different genes to “turn off” or “turn on” depending on the conditions. This means there is a real possibility that generations from now humans could have adapted a genome with unique qualities to ours in order to maintain life in such a polluted environment.

With these thoughts in mind it should be a no brainer that health care professionals should be working with “green” efforts in the US and around the world to spread the word on how to decrease the negative affects that we are already exposed to, and how to ensure that we do not increase or create new negative environmental factors. Without a healthy natural environment there is no possibility of maintaining health in humans.

“Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?”  ~Pierre Troubetzkoy

-Beth

I Heart Catholicism and You Can Too!!

Alright, here we go! The first of what will officially be a series of blogs dedicated to my future family-in-law, whoever, and whatever faith they may be. I’ve never dated a Catholic boy. Even my current boyfriend is Protestant (but really Catholic at heart. *wink*) Now I’m not saying that marriage is being discussed or even thought about right now, but I have come to the understanding that one day I may be in a position to explain my religious practices to my future family, friends, colleagues, or even stangers on the street. Even if I never get married, I will always need to be prepared to share my faith with others who may ask about it, or may unknowingly misjudge some of our traditions and symbols. So here it is, a series I call:

I Heart Catholicism, and You Can Too!

(Ps This is NOT a blog attempting to address the problems and challenges of mixed Christian marriages. That is a completely different discussion all together.)

I’m going to start with what I consider to be one of the most controversial traditions of the Catholic faith; the Veneration of Mary and of the Saints. In this blog, I’m mainly going address the practice of veneration. I will address more specifically the esteem in which Mary is held later.

Firstly and most importantly, I want to address the language barrier between most Protestants and Catholics. We use many of the same words in reference to our Christian walk, but many times they can mean different things for Catholics and Protestants respectively. In the case of Mary and of the Saints, the term ‘prayer’ appears to be the greatest barrier when understanding the Catholic tradition of veneration. In Protestantism, the term prayer is used specifically in relation to the worship of God. Prayer, in Protestantism, is synonymous with God worship. It’s understandable then, that when a Protestant hears that a Catholic person may pray to Mother Mary or to Saint Joan, or Jerome, they immediately envision their own tradition of worship and assume that this is what Catholics are doing; worshipping Mary and the saints as if they were God.

As we all know, to worship anyone other than God is a grave and mortal sin. Many Protestants question this in Catholicism, but as it is stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the Papally approved “statement of the church’s faith and of Catholic doctrine”) “The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God.” (CCC 2112) So believe it or not, Catholicism teaches that God is the only true God and the only one deserving of worship. By this we must see that prayer can and does mean the something different than ‘worship’ to a Catholic. Of course, prayer is the main way to worship the Lord, but the term is often also seen by it’s more general definitions. It is seen as the “application of the mind to Divine things.” Prayer is defined in many other ways by holy scripture, including but not limited to; to intercede, to mediate, and to consult. Because we Catholics believe that some people (Mary and the Saints) are already in heaven worshipping our Lord and praying for the souls on the earth, we understand that it may be proper to consult them in certain times of need, to request their mediation and intercession on our behalves. Catholics remember great Christian martyrs and examples of Christ by keeping pictures, statues, and pendants of them. When we see these things we are reminded of the blessing of their existance. Maybe we are reminded of their patience, their charity, or their earthly sacrifices in the name of God. Any way we look at these people that we venerate as Saints, we are looking to them as examples of Christ, examples of the lives that God calls us all to lead as Christians. We believe these people are in heaven looking down on us, and we meditate on their goodness and the blessings that God gave them and we ask them to pray for us that God may too bestow upon us those same qualities.

Likewise, you will find that it is not uncommon to hear a Protestant proclaim that they believe a deceased relative may be looking down on them from heaven, and that they talk to them in their hearts in times of distress. People go visit the graves of family and friends and have hours long conversations with people who aren’t there. It’s because as Christians, we recognize the existance of the soul and the mysteries of God. We may not know for a fact that Grandpa can see us from heaven, but we have hope in our hearts that if he can, he will be acting as a servant of the Lord, watching over us and praying that God will give us his blessings, helping us along in our daily journeys. It’s a nice, comforting sentiment. Sure, some Christian people may logically conclude that the dead cannot hear us, but are the ones who believe they can, committing a sin by having hope that they may? In my opinion and many other Christian opinions (Protestants included), of course not.

Let’s look at it like this. A young mother who unexpectedly lost her husband is on her way to pick her troubled child up from after school detention. As she drives to the school, she thinks about her son and her late husband in heaven and asks for guidance. In her heart she says something like this: “John, I know youre up there with God, watching over your family. Please ask God to help me have patience like you did when you were here, during this difficult time for our son. Help me to listen to him and to comfort him the way you would have when you were here. Pray for us John, that in your absence we are following the example your good heart and seeking God in everything we do.” This widow even has pictures of her late husband on the mantle piece at home; a picture of their wedding day, a picture of him holding their son as an infant and making that crazy crooked smile everyone knew him for. There’s even a dried rose from his funeral still placed beneath this photograph. When the woman sees these everyday, she is reminded of the blessing that God had given her in her relationship with this good man. How he brought her to church the first time, how he prayed so genuinely at the table each night with their family. She is reminded of the strength of the Lord within him and is reinvigorated with determination to continue living in his example for herself and for her children.

Now, is this woman sinning? If so, than most Christians have a huge problem on their hands. If this woman is sinning in having hope that her husband is praying for her family and by trusting that God used him as an example for she and her children, than it’s time for great changes in Protestantism as well as in Catholicism. It’s time to throw out all of the pictures from our sons wedding, dried flowers from our first mothers day, stuffed animals from our first dates, Christmas cards we’ve kept since we were 9, and jewelry passed down from great grandma. It’s time to stop looking toward greater men than we are and trying to follow their examples as devout sons of God. To stop contemplating how our mother was able to have such patience with us as children and to stop trying to apply that to our own role as a parent. It’s time to stop asking our pastors for advice, and stop asking our prayer groups to pray to God that our sicknesses become healed. It’s time to stop reading the great inspirational works of C.S. Lewis and when Billy Graham passes, it will be time to throw his books out also. After all, Christ is the only man we should follow, the only way to God.

As Christians, should we believe that our friends and families, our neighbors and predecessors, are not blessings from God, placed in our lives as part of His divine plan, to be examples of Christ to us, to help us in our struggles and to celebrate with us in times of Joy? Should we ignore the special gifts that some people have in caring for the disabled and working with the poor? Should we ignore that teachers are given patience to teach children and that servicemen are given courage to protect the innocent? Should we then disregard all examples of Christ in humanity for the fact that there are pictures of them on the Internet and charities created in their names when these people pass away? No more highways dedicated to fallen policeman, or statues of great teachers, or days of the year devoted to the remembrance of Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. No more lockets around our necks with pictures of our daughters who died too young, no pictures in our wallets of our families while they were still whole, no little faceless wooden statuettes of happy couples that our grandchildren bring us for our curio cabinets. No more gold frames around the faces of Marines who died in battle for their country in the name of democracy and goodness.

In telling us to refrain from worshipping idols and venerating graven images, is God telling us to stop recognizing those people who were so blessed as to lead exemplary Christian lives for the benefit of Christ’s legecy and humankind? Or is he telling us to understand that these great people could not exist without him? That he is the creator of every piece of their beauty, and therefore every beauty we strive for, and that there is no one else to worship but him? The Catechism explains Catholic and (without overtly recognizing it) most Protestants understanding of the answer to this question. “Nevertheless, already in the old testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed SYMBOLICALLY toward salvation by the incarnate Word; so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenent, and the cherubim.” “The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribed idols… ‘Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us to God incarnate.'” (CCC 2129, 2132)

When we all understand and agree that a Catholic is no more placing Mary or St. Peter above God by meditating on their lives or ‘praying’ to them, any more than a Protestant is putting their deceased relative above God by remembering them in a picture on the mantlepiece and speaking to them at their grave site, then we can begin to come together as Christian brothers and sisters learning from each others traditions and symbols, seeking always to follow the truth in the footsteps of Christ. I am once again so thankful that my friends and family share these attitudes towards humanity and the blessings that God gives us through our relationships and communications with other. It is my wholehearted belief and continual prayer that we, Protestants and Catholics alike, trust in God the Father, the creator of heaven and earth, and understand that the world was created for the glory of Him.

And so, until next time my future friends and family… May Gods peace be with you always 🙂

-Deb