... very slowly. And sometimes painfully.
It has taken me a good, long while to even start to feel like I am hitting my stride here. And don't get me wrong, I am not there yet. But I am starting to get there. The challenge with medical school is really not so much the complexity of the material, but rather the sheer amount of it. At least at this stage, it is simply an overwhelming amount of information with a crazy level of detail. It's an enormous amount to just cram in there, and it is almost all memorization, which I feel like I am really bad at. Mostly this is because I am lazy about it, which is partly because I have never really had to do much of this style of learning before. I am more of a big-picture, understand-the-concepts kind of person, not a memorize-it-until-you-know-it-cold kind of person, or at least that is how I have always thought of my learning style, and so the adjustment to the work in med school has partially been some amount of simply coming to terms with the fact that I am just going to have to get over it and sit down and start to MEMORIZE. A LOT OF STUFF. Like, really. A LOT.
It has also required that I come up with a study strategy, which I have also never had to do before. They say that med school is like trying to drink from a fire hose, and that is turning out to be unfortunately true. The quantity of information and the speed at which it is covered means that if you don't have a good strategy in place for catching as much of it as you possibly can, you won't catch enough (and there is no way that you can catch it all.) So I didn't realize this at first, and had no strategy. Then I slowly caught on to this idea, and slowly came up with a crappy strategy that really didn't work so well. Then, I finally got more serious about it (yes, I know... shouldn't I have been serious all along? I was too far on the "life" side of the "school/life balance" thing and living in complete denial about the fact that this was going to be a lot of work.)
So now, my study strategy (which has only been in place for a matter of days, maybe a week, tops) is something like this: Go to class in the morning. Actively LISTEN, try to get as much learning done in lecture as possible. After class, go over the lectures again and take notes- one page per lecture, a "cheat-sheet" of sorts. Answer the learning objectives set out by each professor. Caffeinate throughout the day. Preview the following day's lectures. Do any reading necessary/possible. Review any pertinent test bank questions. Study previous notes. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
So far, I have not had the time, energy or focus to actually do all of the above steps. But it does seem to be working (A strategy is better than NO strategy, as it turns out!)... I feel much better about this module than I did about the last one. Test is on Friday, so we will see how it goes.
|notes on the nephron|
PS. On Monday, we had a lecture about High-Altitude Illness, including acute mountain sickness and avalanche safety (I was so happy. Finally! Something I already KNOW about!!) At the end of the lecture, literally almost as a total non sequitur, the lecturer said just a couple of sentences about how important exercise is, and said - if you are one of those people who thinks that you are just too busy, that you just don't have the time, you are just too tired, YOU are the person who needs exercise the most. It was so weird, the way he randomly threw that in right at the end. But I took it as a sign and went for a run on Monday, yesterday and today. :)