Wednesday, September 06, 2006

working and the medical student.

Somehow I've become a writer who can't seem to bring herself to write.

Okay, so to answer a question posed by bijouxoxo ten thousand years ago. Is possible to work and attend medical school?


My biased answer is hell no. Do it at your peril.

Medical school is all consuming. It's a jealous beast that wants the student's mind, heart, time, life. That's my word. There's just so much to learn and so little time in the day. Medical schools are trying to improve quality of life by shortening class hours but nevertheless we still spend at least 6 hours per day in class. Enough analysis, let me break it down but keep in mind that every school is different.

First Year, first semester: My courses were Anatomy (time consumer), Biochemistry, Genetics, Nutrition, Physicians Patients & Society (PPS, discussing how to be a doc, ethics, customs, etc, luckily only once a week but two hours long, in the afternoon), Longitudinal Preceptor Program(LPP; follow a doctor for 2 years, minimum 3 hours per session for seven sessions each semester).

A typical day started at 8am and usually ended by 4:30pm except on Fridays which ended at 12:30pm. Biochem and Anatomy started from day one and we had those classes every day. Anatomy took the bulk of the day with four hour labs 3-4 times a week in addition to lecture every day. Anatomy took all my study time. There was just so much to learn and so little time at the end of the day. I also made the fatal mistake of reading the textbook and just getting bogged down in details . As a result, I would often find myself behind in my other classes and have to do the cram and regurgitate thing.

First Year, second semester: Much better because now no anatomy lab. My classes were Physiology, Bacteriology, Nutrition Part 2, PPS 2, LPP, Physical diagnosis (in the evening). The funny thing about second semester was that we covered more material but by this time i was used to the volume so it did not feel so bad. They tricked us into thinking we would have more time during the day but somehow again classes started by 8am and ended by 4pm except on Friday of course.

Mix in studying after class, extracurriculars of your choice,an elective class or two that meets in the evening, plus hanging with friends at med school, hanging with sig others/fam, and basic downtime to recharge, chores like food shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning (many times i longed for a housewife to take care of those pesky chores) and i am not really sure how one can fit in a job. But maybe I just wasn't disciplined enough or liked sleep too much or reading blogs. I don't know.

Second Year, First Semester. A little better because classes usually end by 12:30pm. A little worse because now the syllabus for each block of pathology (usually lasting just a month or 6 weeks) was the same quanity as the material for a whole semester of physiology whose syllabus was bigger than a whole semester of anatomy. (a semester is about 5 months - mid august - december; jan-may). We had two blocks of pathology at the same time. Gen Path/Immunology for the first month; Hematology/Cardiology; Renal/Respiratory. We also added on Virology and Pharmacology. We still had to make time for our LPP sessions and we had Physical diagnosis once a week - a 2 hour class. + Labs for Gen. Path and Virology. + Epidemiology and later on PPS after epi was done (thank GOD)

I cut my extracurriculars to ONE activity, took no electives whatsoever and spent six days a week in the library studying until 9pm every day. I would like to say that I spent 9 hours a day studying but reality is sometimes we would get out of class at 2 or 3 or 4 or something would come up (like a nap) and I think I put in 4 good hours of studying per day. Despite this, a class or two would end up on the back burner and i would find myself cramming again.

Second Year, Second Semester: they took off the gloves. My classes were Gen. Path(Endocrinology/ can't recall!); Gastrointestinal/Reproduction; Dermatology/Rheumatology. +Neurology; Pharmacology; Psychiatry; and two more blocks of Microbiology. +Physical Diagnosis, PPS, AND studying for the boards. We had so many afternoon and evening sessions that studying became a luxury and not a given right. By April, I had to quit school and focus on studying. In other words, I stopped going to class and watched the videotapes in the evening and spent the mornings studying. Home became a distant memory. Sundays off became a rare event because we had an exam every monday it seemed.

Looking back now, I wonder how I even lived to tell the tale but the trick is, they slowly add the classes one at a time until one day you look up and realize, damn i have four classes on my plate + the incidentals. But by that time, you are kind of used to the load so it doesn't seem so bad. Other schools I hear, do one class at a time but they do it at warp speed so you spend maybe 2-3 weeks per class with only God knows how many hours per day before moving onto the next.

Hope this is helpful. I hope to discuss third year my next post. For now, gotta go to bed so I can be fresh for my patients tomorrow (laugh).

in a minute.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tomorrow...

is my birthday.

I find myself unable to do much with myself, despite the large amount of reading and studying i have to do. I feel rather down, to be honest. I try to focus on all the things that i have to be happy about -
they caught the man who wrecked my car (imagine that);
despite my fears, third year has been very doable
i am alive despite myself...
i am med student, a dream finally realized.

i am sure there is more but none of these things are making me my usual jolly self.

maybe i'm tired. i need two days off. one to really truly do nothing and have no guilt, and the other to do all the stuff i have to do.

sigh.

more in a moment.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thank you LORD!

I passed my boards! I am so happy! To be honest, when I walked out of that exam, I was sure I was going to have to retake it. Allelujah (imagine Fountain of Praise singing that word on their song: I can't praise you enough. better yet, go hear it for yourself here.) i am so ecstatic!!

Even better, I have the weekend off. I think i will be checking out the brand new heavies after all.

oh yeah, third year is going fine. lots of work though, and i get so nervous about speaking in front of people. but i really adore my team. plus i admire my pgy-3 resident a lot, she is a firm and assertive woman. when i see her, i think to myself, i can do this! no room for shyness.


in a minute.









pgy=post graduate year.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Brand New Heavies in BOSTON.

July 15th @ the Middle East.
opening act: van Hunt

even better, N'dea Davenport is back with them. I could not really get into N'dea's replacement so I haven't been following them.

I wonder if I will be able to go. I get my schedule on Monday so i will know for sure then. It would be so hot if BNH kicked off my return to concert attending. N'dea's solo concert in New York, opening act BlackStar (is Mos Def and Talib Kweli) was the first concert I ever reviewed for my now defunct webzine - Boston Chile Online. My crazy days!


Brand New Heavies latest album


this song has been on my heavy rotation recently:

Monday, June 26, 2006

I got my wish.

Lagbaja is touring the States. Should have been more specific and said come to BOSTON.


Lagbaja's touring schedule

He did it again...

On Saturday, I was invited to go to church with a new friend. The funny thing was, all last year I had been praying to be invited to this particular church. It was the church of my ex. We broke up on bad terms and i wanted, needed him to still be my friend but he was not even trying to talk to me. I accepted the invitation, all the while thinking to myself, girl, where were you when i needed you last year.

I woke up Sunday morning in a panic. I could not go to that church, what was i thinking? Although, my ex was no longer in this state (i think) and more than likely would not be there, i was afraid to go. I called my other new friend up to cancel and she was so gracious that I changed my mind again.

Anyway sha, I was glad I went because i came to the realization that I am spiritually starved. Why? The sermon was so delicious to me and hit all the right spots. However, I know that if i had been going to church on a regular basis, I would have been like what kind of sermon is this? where is he going and what point is he trying to make? and when is he planning to make it? nah, it wasn't that bad.

incidentally, in my jotter, an old one i hadn't used since last year, my prayer request was reconciliation with my ex. My first reaction was well, too late for that now. But I quickly reminded myself that God is always on time. Always.

About the title:
For third year, we are required to have PDAs. Even though I am from ondo state, I think i was switched at birth because i have ijebu tendencies (is this a racist comment? or ethnicist? is that a word... i am digressing.).

I found this random website that had my palm for $249.99, no tax. $13 for 3 year warranty. cheap ass shipping. I wanted to jump on that but then i couldn't. I felt it was too good to be true. The PDA was brand new. As for the warranty, I could not find any details about it. I tried to read the customer feedback but those seemed so spurious. one guy was talking about how this was his first internet shopping experience. Does anyone like that even exist in 2006? I still remember my first internet shopping experience. It was from Amazon, back when Jeff was still operating out of his garage. I got the Sankofa soundtrack for my friend (the one i mentioned in the last post. he had been searching for it since forever and it was a great surprise) and The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah for myself. They came in a USPS priority mail envelope. Knowing my packrat tendencies, I am sure I still have that envelope. That was in 1996 or 1997, the year is fuzzy.

Anyway, I could not bring myself to buy from the site. This morning, I woke up and checked my yahoo e-mail. I have so much junk in that account. Right now, I am at 450+ unread messages. All junk! okay, ok, 90% junk! Usually, I ignore them and read what i need but today i decided to open the email from coupon cabin in the hopes that I could find a coupon to help me with my PDA. And sure enough, there it was. 10% off any order over $199 from Circuit City. Is that hot or what? So I ended up buying my palm for $242 and I get it in my hands today. Still gotta pay tax though but it's still all good.

As usual, He was right on time. Still wooing me the way I like to be wooed. I am not into flashy big things. It's the little things. I had this boyfriend once. I always cherished it when he bought me one dollar incense from the mallam at the mass ave station (yes, i know there are no mallams in boston but i don't know what they call themselves jare, they look like mallams) but when he bought me a watch, i could barely bring myself to wear it and just threw it anywhere. he would have to beg me all the time.

i am too simple for my own good.

today: ikea or bust.
laters.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Randomness?

I had the urge this morning to find a friend of mine. I last spoke to him early this year and we had exchanged numbers and e-mail addresses but then, I lost my phone and could not for the life of me remember his e-mail address. I googled him and everything but still could not find his e-mail address.

So, I gave up the quest and went on my way. Gave my sister a ride to Brighton and then tried to get home. Every single path I took had traffic. It was horrendous. What should have been a half hour ride became an hour. With the heat, and the crazy Boston drivers, I felt like I was in Lagos. I was to go to the Arboreteum but bcause of the traffic and heat and unforeseeen length of the journey home, i gave up on that and instead decided to go to Home Depot. I love Home Depot, it's one of my favorite stores. But i digress. So the nephew and i began to wander aimlessly down the aisles, I really had no concrete plans to buy anything. I was hoping to get some paint samples, maybe a wrench so I could finally change my showerhead. Something made me look back and there he was, my friend! So amazing.

Actually, this happens to me, not often enough to be commonplace but enough for me to wonder what force is at work. My friends never believe me when I tell them that I was just thinking about them when they called. It also happens with my sisters.

Does this happen to anyone else out there?

I proposed a hypothesis once that whenever I think of someone out of nowhere like that, it must mean that they are thinking of me as well. Wonder if that is valid.

Monday, June 12, 2006

He loves me...

My exam is literally around the corner. I decided to figure out how to get to the testing site yesterday. The thing is, i haven’t had a car for the past month or so - some drunk person smashed into the back of my baby while it was jejely parked on the street. Since i didn’t have full coverage on my car, the damage was not covered by insurance and i did not get the added perk of a rental car. So i have been busing it for the past month. All I can say about busing it is Worcester is, thank God we at least have a transportation system. (i miss boston! a bus every ten minutes until late at night (12am not 9pm maybe), i was so busy envying nyc that i never knew i was living in heaven!).

So, I went to find the place. First, I took the wrong bus. Apparently, the bus i got on only services that area on the weekends and i am not good at map reading so while i thought that the bus would at least pass near to where i was going, the truth of the matter was that the bus did not even go anywhere near the area. Fortunately, the bus driver was very kind and patiently described to me how to walk to where i was going. The walk wasn’t too bad, and i even saw the prettiest flowers which i picked.

I found the place and then I walked to the mall which was nearby. My intention was to browse through Homegoods and Bath and Body works (funny enough, i was just thinking that thus far their hand soaps are my favorite, the scent lingers forever and i had just promised myself to visit them when i got to boston so i was delighted to see a branch in this mall + they had a sale!). But before I allowed myself that pleasure, I decided to sort out my return trip home. I walked the entire length of the mall, all 1.5 floors but could not find one single information desk. So I tried to call Boston to get my sister to look up the schedules for me online but she wasn’t able to help me. In short, I was stranded! This realization of course prevented me from lingering, browsing, or parting with my hard earned cash.

As I was talking to my sis, I saw a bus rush by but i couldn’t even figure out what bus it was. Eventually, I decided to trek it. I told my house mate that I would be home by six (it was already five) and since she had no keys, I had to make good on that promise.

As I began to trek it, I ran into this woman, another worcester transplant (obviously, i don’t think any worcester native would even think about taking the bus to the mall, i’m just saying). She too was trying to figure out how to take the bus. She was just a Godsend because until I saw her, it never occurred to me to ask someone if they knew where the bus stop was. (i figured they wouldn’t know - no one takes the bus in worcester.) Eventually, we went into best buy and fortunately, someone was there who knew how to take the bus: where the bus stop was, and the time the next bus was coming. (if only i had thought to ask someone before hand, i would have shopped to my heart’s content. s’all good, after the exam i will do some damage. i deserve it!)

Apparently, the bus stop is at the top of the second set of stairs under the bridge. So I climbed to the top of the stairs, my poor flowers had wilted by now, and proceeded to wait for the bus. and wait and wait. I was just happy, I was feeling very loved by God and i was actually having an adventure. (the little things that make me happy). Amazingly, one of my friends from school chose that time to drive by. I was shocked to see her car pass me, and so was she. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I kept staring after her car. Could it really be her? How coincidental was that right? Fortunately, (a whole lot of fortunatelys in this piece, i know) she had my number and she called me and even turned around to give me a ride. How beautiful.

The icing on the cake was that my flowers revived when I put them in water and the sight of them cheered me up as I slogged through question after question after question. (i can’t wait for this exam to come and go already.)


Why was i feeling so loved by God?

It is always the littlest things that make me feel that God cares about me. My friend had brought me down that saturday on what was such a great weekend (tenth college reunion, it was hot saw all my friends i hadn’t seen since june 3rd 1996 but more on that later maybe). I had rented a car for that weekend so when the call came for me to attend her surprise bday party, I decided why not.

Everything was cool at first until she cornered me and asked if i was coming to church on sunday. see, the thing is, i have been churchless since before i started med school two years ago. some stuff went down in that church around the time i was to start school that really hurt me. Of course, i didn’t say all that or explain too much. I just said i wasn’t going: gotta study and i don’t even know how we got into it sha but man the next thing i knew i was on the receiving end of a lecture about why i should be in church regardless of whatever had happened and how i needed to sow a seed or something like that so God could reward me. That just irked me. I told her that I didn’t know God needed to be bribed these days before he could answer prayers abi? And anyway, as far as i was concerned i was sowing a seed (of love) at that moment just by being at her party cos God knows my ass needed to study and not go to any party of any kind which i was even beginning to regret attending. Sha the upshot was, i drove my forty miles back to the woo feeling miserable and full of doubt.

I know that I need to be in church, don’t get me wrong. But I want a church home where the church is committed to building up community: the one within the walls of the church and the ones outside and surrounding the church. I just haven’t put in the effort to searching for one.

I was upset because even though I know that God’s love for me is unconditional and not based on anything that I do and furthermore nothing i can do can change that love (Romans 8:35-39)- no matter what the preacher might say on sunday, it’s not the tithes, it’s not the offerings, it’s not even the church attendance - i began to doubt that knowledge, i began to worry that i might even fail my exam. To make matters worse, i began to remember all the things that caused me to dissociate myself from that church in the first place. Stuff I had forgotten about and had caused me a significant amount of distress in the first place. I did not need to be in this state of mind before a major exam! (eight hours long, 350 questions covering subject matter from two years of study.)

So to cut a long story short.. I told God that He just needed to work it out for me. I ain’t trying to figure any of this out anymore. Consequently, it was especially meaningful yesterday, as I was running around trying to figure out how to get back home from the mall, that everything I needed to know just appeared at the right time. I mean, I was on that highway literally walking home when this woman appeared out of nowhere. It's those little things, the attention to what I need delivered at the precise time that i need it that always makes me fall in love with God even more. It also makes me realize that though i may not see it now or understand half the things i go through, He's got my back and He is working it all out for me.


My break is more than up.

in a minute...

Monday, June 05, 2006

speaking of lagbaja and delayed gratification...

so excited! i discovered that the video to lagbaja's never far away is on youtube.

this definitely made my day of dreary studying that much brighter.

another positive: realizing that there ARE other nigerians of like minds out there. even though i may never interact with them, i no longer feel so alone. but more on that later. (yes, my life is all about later, later, later because the now is all about passing one exam or the other...)

enjoy:


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Saga Continues...


I guess I can only post one entry a month or something.

Well, as of two fridays ago, I took my last clinical exam! oops i meant basic sciences. I was not able to feel relieved, excited or light like a air filled balloon because I still have my boards to take. I was going to be hard core and take in on June 9th but then I began to doubt my test taking abilities and decided to push it to the future. Whatever happens, I still have time to enjoy my life before third year begins.

I can't believe that I am about to begin the second half of the year. Rather, that I have begun the second half of the year 2006. I am not able to do a good recap of the year thus far because quite frankly i have not been keeping up with my journal (paper that is). I do know that now that I feel settled about my academic life, my thoughts have turned increasingly to my emotional life - in short, i have been hit with an overwhelming desire to get married.

It's funny to me that I feel this way. When I was twelve years old (ironically, when i was 11, i wanted to get married by 18 so i could have me some s.e.x. LOL) and all through college and even after graduation, my stance was that I was not getting married. I looked around at the marriages that I saw and what i saw were marriages that seemed to have no love and looked like marriage for marriage's sake. I thought that by telling myself that I did not care for marriage that I would be free from the yearning and desire to be married. I was particularly afraid of that yearning and desire because I knew even at that young age that it would cause me to marry anyone just to have a ring on my finger and the title of Mrs.

Alas! Here I am almost two decades later, longing to be part of a unit. I guess God never lied when He said it is not good for man to be alone. I long to be in a wonderful, life affirming relationship with a man of like mind. Sometimes, I am filled with despair because it looks so impossible. Even though, I'd like to consider myself to be a honest person, I seem to attract deceitful people into my life. It's ill and leaves me a little bit scarred, I lie. It has left me very scarred and unable to trust myself.

Anyway, on to other things.

First, I want to shout out dreamerchic who hooked me up with Lagbaja's latest album. I love it! Thanks Dreamerchic03. You rock! It's hot, especially now that I am hearing it in CD quality. Aisan still remains my favorite because it speaks to me. There is just something about that song despite its rather long and semi dissonant intro. Equally blazing tracks are: Who Man? Skentele Skontolo and my second personal favorite: Never Far Away. I found out that my cousin bought the VCD when she went to naija. I can wait to pop out this exam so i can go and raid her house for that and other naija movies.

be back in a minute....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lagbaja

I first took notice in 2002.

I was in Lagos and that particular day my cousin had switched the channel from channel O to A.I.T. There he was, the tall masked one trying to toast a woman who wasn't even trying to hear him out. I was captivated. I do not know what got me, was it the horns? the lyrics? the juxtaposition of english and yoruba? or was is simply because I was hearing homegrown music after a diet of stateside r & b by way of south africa?

Whatever it was, it was made concrete when i saw the video for Surulere a few days later. I was blown away. The cartoon video drew me in and had me transfixed in front of the television. The lyrics? He was more than an R&B toaster, he was a man of substance and that won my heart. I had to have his tapes, cds whatever. He was definitely going back home with me.

Fortunately, a friend hooked me up with Lagbaja's tape (We before Me) which I proceeded to play day in and day for months when I got back to Boston. Thank God for friends and family in my life. They have been the ones to grow the love that I have for Lagbaja. When I came back to Nigeria later that year, my uncle gifted me with another Lagbaja tape (Ikira) and another one of my friends worked it so that I got to see the last show of the year at Motherlan. It was the best night ever! The show took forever to start (NEPA) and we had to leave early (fear of armed robbers) but I had a blast. The highlight of the show for me was when Lagbaja took Baby Ta Ni Ko Fe Wa and extended that song with another that I have been trying to find ever since. I love when musicians take an old favorite and give it new flavor. Like what Mos Def did to Ms. Fat Booty in 2001 on the Lyricist Lounge tour when he pulled and extended the Gregory Isaac snippet he teased us with on the original track. I am still trying to find the live version of that too. Writing this makes me realize how much I have missed going to concerts. The last concert I went to was, it's a lie, it was Lagbaja's in 2002. O ma se.

But I digress. I was listening to Lagbaja's Akebaje on the way home and I just felt like expressing my love for the man. I am trying to get my hands on his latest cd. In the meantime, I have been reading the lyrics on his website (very nice by the way, i think he even chats with his fans, amazing.) and listening to it on duduradio. My favorite track right now is Aisan.

I wish that I could see Lagbaja live. Sigh. Lagbaja come do a tour in the states or better yet someone hook me up with a ticket to naija and someone with a car who will take me to Motherlan'.