Archive for October, 2013

Heading into the Spooks of Midterms!

by on Oct.04, 2013, under Uncategorized

October is just about here, which means school’s been in session for a full month already…that’s crazy! It’s about a week before my first midterm week and I’m already exhausted! I watch the sunlight shine into the library and I become jealous of the shoppers, the sun glass-wearers, and the joggers basking in their vitamin D. I think perhaps every student reaches a point in their graduate school career where they just sit on the floor of their apartment and ponder for a second about life. In my case, I was in the middle of cleaning my room and found myself spacing out for about fifteen minutes before I realized that I had stopped sweeping and was simply sitting on my bed. And the question is this, “What IS this graduate school life?!” But then it hits you about 0.05 seconds later that you entered this form of self-torture completely voluntarily!

Actually, I really do love learning…especially science. I did my 7th grade science project on how mummies were made, and I used to spend a whole day in the children’s science museum and when I was in Taiwan this summer, I spent the whole day walking the very same exhibits as I did in 5th grade. I’m just fascinated by how resilient the human body is (has anyone ever just stared at their toes or fingers and wondered how WEIRD they look objectively? Try it!) and how many different advances and discoveries we’ve made since the dawn of time. The whole thing is mind boggling! So the short version of it all is that I think science and learning in general is awesome. However, I really despise test taking. Contrary to stereotypes and mythical beliefs, not ALL Asians are good at taking tests…I am a good representation of that. I’m a detailed and big-picture-learner rolled up into one, question child! I like to know how things work and then how they apply to their surroundings and then, of course, how it applies to my own personal life. The downside of having all these wonders and questions is that academic tests usually don’t ask for those kinds of questions. I get it, though, that there’s no real standard for how grading could be fair, but I still hope for that one day when testing is done by professors conversing with students rather than filling in bubbles.

In the mean time, I’ve got a busy week coming up! Somehow, the week before midterms also falls on the week when I have labs every single day of the week. This means extra homework and pre-lab quizzes that need to be finished — yikes! The up side is that all this required work really helps facilitate my learning. By doing the necessary work, I am also learning the course material required for midterms. I also bought a bunch of Trader Joe’s frozen food (Mac n’ Cheese? Verde chicken burritos anyone?) and extra O.J. to help fight away any potential germs lurking around. Gotta stay healthy!

On another note, I had my first screening about a week ago and it was awesome! About eight of the first years got to join some upper-class students in helping out at the Martha Elliot Health Fair. Since it was only our third week of school, the first years’ primary responsibility was conducting visual acuities (where patients read letters or shapes on a chart to provide a rough estimate of how well they’re seeing). As someone who’s worked in an optometry office before, the task itself was fairly standard and simple, however the exciting part was the number of patients we saw in the time given: about 45 people in three hours. It was a great experience to approach strangers and ask them how they’re seeing and if they’d like a brief visual screening. I encountered people of all ages and backgrounds and even some who claim they had not been to an eye doctor in over ten years…TEN! All of us at the screening really felt like we made a small impact because from child to adult, we saw people genuinely excited and appreciative of our work and what NECO students do for the community. And the kicker is that all of us had fun doing it! I was impressed by the level of public education and outreach at the event because along with our booth, there were also several other booths that tackled both physical and mental health. It was great to be reminded of how connected the health care field really is.

I can’t wait until the stress of midterms studying is over with and we can increase our patient interaction time!! For now, like my friend told me during a good venting session, “You’re in grad school, this is supposed to happen! I wouldn’t trust you to be my doctor if you didn’t work for it!” Touché my friend, it’s time to up my game!! Good luck to all my fellow students who are joining me in putting in less snooze these coming weeks. It’s go time!

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