30 July 2007

the first day -- again...

i'm amazed that one year after writing this post, i've just relived the first day of medical school again. today was like one gigantic deja-vue dream. the slides were the same. the lecturers were the same. the message was the same (aka: they own my ass. still.). the only difference? this time, they decided to begin anatomy on day one. so in addition to hours of talks on policies and procedures, we had two hours of anatomy lecture. that shocked most of the incoming students, i could tell. it's one thing to hear described how much information will be thrown at us; it's an entirely different thing to experience it. by the end of the day, it seemed like the class was rather sobered.

i feel like being a brat and saying 'i told you so,' particularly to my roommate, who was eyeing me suspiciously all weekend as i studied anatomy. "classes haven't even started yet!" she exclaimed. my response? "it doesn't matter." i kept studying.

when i mention to my new set of peers that i'm a returning student, i get some pretty odd looks. many people prickle a bit, on the assumption that i've got some kind of academic advantage. sure, i've heard these anatomy lectures before--but i'm not certain that makes up for the loss of confidence that comes from having done poorly in the course the first time around.

the days leading up to today were riddled with anxiety for me. can i do this? am i well enough? should i do this? am i making the right decision? is it worth it? what if i fail? <--these were just a few of the questions rattling around in my head. i still don't have answers to the questions. but i did come up with one crazy idea: to find one thing, each day, that i learned that interested me. i'm sure on many days there will be more than one thing that piques my curiosity--but it's not always easy to remember to be curious in the midst of such a pressured environment. since i'm here because i love to learn, though, i need to remind myself why i'm doing this. and i need to remind myself as often as possible. so...i'm off to a new start again. here's to hoping the road will be less bumpy this time around....


interesting factoid of the day:
"during early embryonic development cilia containing a 9 + 0 pattern of microtubules establish the left-right asymmetry of internal organs"*
this quotation refers to the fact that there are these itty bitty hairlike processes (cilia) that extend from cells that help cells to move (think of high school biology class and seeing weird critters move around under the microscope via what look like little caterpillar legs.). apparently, recent research studies have shown that the location of the internal organs in the body (i.e. that our heart is on the left & the liver on the right, etc.) comes from the movement of these little cilia found on cells really early in embryonic development. the significance? people who lack these little cilia end up with situs inversus, a condition in which the internal organs are reversed in their position, such that what is usually on the right ends up on the left and vice versa.

sketch of the apperance of situs inversus in the thorax

pretty cool, no? ;-)

daily mileage:
orientation lectures: 6.5 hours
anatomy lectures: 2 hours
time spent trying to get the class schedule to print properly: 1 hour
individual study time: 0 hours

* Ross, M et al. "Histology: A Text and Atlas." 5th ed. New York: Lippincott, 2006. Pp. 105

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a little disclaimer...

i'm a medical student. just a student. so please, don't take anything i say too seriously. remember that i was an english literature major as an undergrad, so there is much fiction to be found in these pages. do you think i'm telling a story about you or your illness? more likely, you're tapping into my sense of "everyman"--that is, your story resonates with what i write here because it's not so uncommon after all. need help? please, please go see your physician. <--i'm not her. yet. ;-)