Wednesday, 28 August 2013

And so it begins...

Well, orientation started early Monday morning. Now, when I say early, I mean 'grad student early', which is only 8:30 - grad school gives you a skewed sense of time because you essentially get to make your own schedule and have no time commitments other than getting your work done. Anyway, I digress - 8:30 isn't early at all for the world of medicine I've entered into, and luckily I'm getting used to the new schedule. I'm now sitting on my couch after day three, and thinking about how much stuff they've been throwing at us.

Monday morning was great - it consisted of speeches from tons of different high-ups in our program and from the school who all welcomed us to the school of medicine. Turns out that the assistant dean of medicine has recently taken up farming sugar cane in Mexico as a hobby/investment. I have to say, at first I just thought it was funny. Now I'm hooked and want to know more about sugar cane farming! How did he get into it? What does sugar cane farming consist of? Is it lucrative financially? Most importantly, can he bring us some samples? Haha. If medicine doesn't work out for me, I guess I can always farm sugar cane.

Monday afternoon was a whirlwhind. We rotated around to eight or nine different stations, some super exciting and some terrifying. Some of the fun ones were getting fitted for scrubs and white coats, browsing through stethoscopes to pick which colour tubing to order (newsflash: I ordered the Littmann Cardio III in Caribbean Blue), getting free stuff from banks who are trying to get our business, etc. Some of the scary parts occurred when we went into the anatomy lab and were told that we're going to have bell-ringer style tests this year (that was NOT part of the recruitment package, haha), and when we went to the clinical skills lab and were told all about everything we have to learn this year. Honestly, at this point, I'm barely thinking past the end of this week, let alone even the first Medical Foundation (which lasts 13 weeks and consists of the cardiac and respiratory systems) - I really don't need to be hearing about everything that we need to do in the next year! I think all of our blood pressures were a bit elevated when we left that station. Operation stress out the new med students: complete.

Seriously, though, everyone I've met so far is pretty great (when 4500 people get selected down to 203, you're probably going to end up with a pretty good group), and the staff all seem amazing. It seems like there is a ton of support to get us through the next (gulp) two years and eight months. Jeez. That doesn't seem like much time at all, does it? When I was applying to a three-year program (for anyone who doesn't know, med school is usually four years with summers off - mine is three years but we don't take summer vacation, just a week in the summer and two at Christmas, and we're in school the rest of the time), I didn't realize that it's actually only two years and eight months. It seems crazy to think that we'll all be competent doctors in less than three years, but the school knows what it's doing, and their residency match rates are on par with the four year schools, so it seems that the medical world agrees.

I'll fill you in on the rest of orientation week later (and add some pictures, this blog is boring!), but tonight is Matt's last night before starting law school orientation, so I'm going to sign off and hang out with my boyfriend for a while. :) Talk to you all soon!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Master's Defense: Complete!

Hi everyone,

I've been talking about starting a blog for a while now, and now that I'm starting med school I feel like I actually have something interesting to write about. I'll be blogging my way through the next three crazy years of learning to be a doctor, talking about whatever is on my mind at the moment. At this point, I figure the only people who will read this are family and close friends who actually care what I'm up to, but when I was applying to med school I read any med student blog I could find, so who knows? I may have some pre-med visitors down the line.

The title of this blog, 'From Bones to Bandages', describes my shift from bioarchaeology (a fancy way of saying that I study bones, mostly from archaeological (aka old) contexts) to the world of medicine. For the past two years, I've been working on a Master's degree in bioarchaeology, and I'm proud to say that yesterday, with three days to spare before starting med school orientation, I successfully defended my Master's thesis.

What, you may ask, is a thesis defense? Well, in my program, which was two years long, we spend the first year doing coursework and preliminary research for our particular research project. The second year is devoted solely to conducting our own original research and writing the results up into a thesis, which can be anywhere from 70-125 pages before appendices, etc (I think mine came in at around 114 pages, over 150 with appendices). At the end of the two years, we have to defend our thesis in front of our advisory committee, which consists of two faculty members within our department and one faculty member from another department. The actual defense is about two hours long, and consists of sitting in a room with your three-person committee, a thesis chair, and your supervisor, while you're grilled on your research during two question periods (to start, each committee member gets 15 minutes to question you, then there's a second round where they each get 10 minutes to question you). After the question periods are over, you're asked to leave the room while the committee decides whether or not you've passed the defense. I'm happy to report that I passed with only very minor revisions! Revisions which I should probably be working on now, but I decided to start this blog instead, haha. So, in about a week my thesis will be published online for all to see (but in all honesty it's probably pretty boring for those of you who aren't bioarchaeologists, so I promise not to make any of you read it).

So, with two days to spare, I finished my Master's, and am moving on to new things. It's going to be a crazy ride, and I can't wait to get started.