:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

maandag 27 september 2010

Just a quick update to say that I think I'm finally settling into the rhythm of this new life. It might sound odd, but I feel as though I'm doing less work and yet performing better. I'm not doing as much pre-reading as I was doing in the beginning, for a variety of reasons -- partly because physiology, which was the most reading-heavy class, is now over (more on that in a minute), and partly because I'm finding that I'm less intimidated by a subject if I listen and take notes in class first, and then go back and read only the bits that I don't understand. For example, I've had very little chemistry (mostly because I HATE IT), and so I almost had a heart attack upon opening the pharmacology book... but then the lecturer turned out to be so good that I found that I didn't actually need the book at all in order to study effectively and perform well on the test. This is turning out to be the norm (with the exception of immunology -- THAT, I needed the book for).

Anyway, this all means that I've actually had a little time lately to read my Kindle, go to dinner with the Pittsboro clan, go for a few runs, et cetera. Lots of others still seem majorly stressed about the amount of work that we have, and people are actually putting in regular 8+ hour days here at DPAP even on the weekends. Personally, I've never set foot in this building on a Saturday or Sunday and don't ever intend to -- unless there's some extenuating circumstance, like practicing for our 45-minute physical exams (which we will have to perform in about six weeks -- yikes!).

It's lunchtime now, and I'm posting this from a breakout room; 'my' little group of six people are sitting here, eating and working on our laptops. Nobody's really talking much today; it's gray and gloomy outside and I think everyone's a little subdued. We had our last physiology exam this morning, which means we've finished an entire textbook (700-plus pages) in 5 weeks. We've also already finished genetics and immunology, which means we're at the 70% mark as far as the material we have to cover in our Basic Medical Sciences course. All that's left are pathophysiology (which we started this morning after our exam -- the PowerPoint was 126 slides; we blew through it in 2 hours) and microbiology (which we'll start in about 30 minutes, as soon as lunch is over). I'm rocking a 93 average in that class right now after 7 exams, so we're in solid H (Honors) territory at the moment, but I've been told by multiple knowledgeable sources that microbiology is going to be ridiculously difficult and will probably be some of our lowest grades this year. I guess I'll find out in a few more minutes. The micro professor happens to be my advisor AND my small-group leader, so I'm pretty motivated to do well in her class -- but, that being said, I'll still be happy when we're done with the BMS course (by mid-October!) and something else -- probably Clinical Medicine -- can rise up to fill in the extra spaces in our schedule.

The list of clinical rotations is up on the student section of the PA website, and I've been perusing them occasionally. I'm sure they'll change by the time this year's class is actually choosing our sites -- some will fall off and others will magically appear -- but it's nice to be able to get an idea. We have ten required rotations: Primary Care and Internal Medicine (both of which are two months long; the rest are only one month), OB-GYN, Surgery, Pediatrics, Emergency, Psychiatry, two electives, and EBM (for which we get a month to write a mini-thesis). I think I've decided on my two electives: Special Care Nursery (which should be no surprise to anybody) and Global Health Elective (which should also be no surprise). The only two international sites listed at the moment are American Samoa and Tanzania, but I've heard rumors of Ecuador as well. We'll see how that all shakes out. At the moment, I'm jonesing for Tanzania, but it depends on what's offered and what kind of site we'd be at. Ecuador would be great for re-awakening all that dormant Spanish at the back of my brain.

As far as the required rotations, I've actually got a pretty good idea of where I'd like to be for most of those as well. We have to do at least two in 'medically underserved' areas, and guess what counts as underserved -- Wilmington! As in, the beach. There are a couple of primary care rotations there that are pretty close to where Liz's stepdad's condo is, so I could stay there for free and live at the beach for two months while doing my primary care rotation, which sounds like a total blast. I'd also really like to do a rotation in Asheville, and there are several options there, but I'm not sure which one will pan out yet. It's like a crossword puzzle -- options for one site will influence my choices for other sites. But here are my tentative thoughts so far:

Primary Care -- 2 months at the beach, working in a private practice. M-F, 8-5... what's not to like? :)
Internal Medicine -- not sure yet; there are lots of possibilities in Durham as well as one at the VA in Asheville. Hoping for something with regular hours.
Pediatrics -- St. Jude is a possibility, as is a children's hospital in Asheville and a couple of private practices in Durham, Raleigh, and (for fun) Denver, CO.
Psychiatry -- lots of options; hopefully a private outpatient clinic; this is the rotation I'm most apprehensive about.
Emergency -- Duke ER (this is our only choice)
Surgery -- really hoping for Duke Transplant Surgery, but could also go to Asheville (to the VA again) or even to a couple of places in Connecticut.
OB-GYN -- not sure yet, but I definitely want to be at a hospital (or somewhere similar) so that I can be involved in deliveries!
Elective 1 -- Duke Special Care Nursery
Elective 2 -- Tanzania or Ecuador
EBM -- here in Durham, obviously. :) Anybody got any burning ideas for paper topics?

I'll keep you posted... time to go start microbiology now. :)

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