Today marked my first medical school exam.

Well, not really. Our professor gave us an exam today that doesn’t effect our grade. It was a way for us to see what kinds of questions we will be asked and to become familiar with the format. The format is interesting – Each question is on a slide, and there is 1 minute per slide. No going back to questions. At first I was a little nervous about this, but really a minute is a long time. Especially if you know the answer right away. There were a few instances where I zoned out.

Even though I knew it didn’t count, I studied this weekend as if it did. I really want to be able to see if my study habits have been efficient. I won’t know until tomorrow, when we get out exam back, but I felt the exam was fair and kind of easy. She actually told us it was an easy exam. I wish she hadn’t held back – I want to know how it is REALLY going to be. But honestly, it was nice of her to even give us this practice exam.

Today I feel a lot better that I did over the weekend. I had a lot of anxiety about getting through all the material. Not only for this “exam”, but just in general. I don’t want to be behind after the first week. I feel on track today. Now that orientation is over, I was able to get in 3 hours of studying done in between classes. I will probably study about 3-4 hours tonight. I was even able to get a workout in today! Overall, everything feels less hectic. It’s a busy but I know that I can manage it.

For those curious, here are the courses I’m taking:
Histology
Embryology
Anatomy
Osteopathic Manual Manipulation (Lab and Lecture)
Problem Based Learning (small groups where we study clinical cases to learn the different aspects of medicine)

The first 3 classes make up Gross Anatomy and they are the main focus for the first 12 weeks. After that other classes will be added in, like History & Physical, Healthcare Management, etc. But the main part of my curriculum is Problem Based Learning. PBL is the reason why I wanted to go to LECOM. It replaces lectures and is geared to students that learn better through self-study. It’s so perfect for me because I hate going to lectures. A few here and there, I don’t mind. But all day? I wouldn’t last.

Tomorrow is our first day of OMM. The lab is interesting because we will be practicing on each other. I’ve never had OMM performed on me, so I’m not really sure what it is – I think it’s in between a massage and visiting a chiropractor. So, in order to practice on each other, all the girls have to wear sports bras and shorts. We can put a shirt on when we are playing that doctor role with our partner. I’m not thrilled about this, mostly because I’m not particularly happy with the mid region of my body, but it could be worse. The upside: we don’t have to dress up for lecture! Not that I mind, but it will be nice wear a hoodie.

Ok – this journal is REALLY dry. I think I might be boring myself. I remember the days of my Livejournal – there were lots of random, emotional posts. This blog doesn’t even let me tell you my mood! I guess emotional stability has its price.

On the non school side of things, Lorin and I saw Funny People this weekend. I really liked it. It felt really genuine. Of course, there are flaws. As with all of Judd Apatow’s movies, it could have been cut down by 15-20 minutes. I don’t know which scenes, but his movies always feel just a bit too long. The Eric Bana scenes were great – I could listen to him talk in his native Australian accent all day.

See? I do think about other things besides school!

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I have realized very quickly that this blog will not be updated daily. I’m going to shoot for weekly. Perhaps an end of the week summary on Saturday or something. But it’s Day 1 and I have 46 pages to read in my Histology textbook. Tomorrow night I will be reading 31 pages on Medical Embryology.

Today was my first day of medical school. It was mostly an orientation day. The first half consisted of introductions of the faculty, course overviews, and success strategies. The second half was a 200 question diagnostic test. Essentially they want to know what we already know. It doesn’t influence our grade but rather creates a baseline to monitor our progress. It was a bit exhausting to take such a long test considering I haven’t had a course in over a year. While I know I did horribly (a lot of guessing was involved), nothing was unfamiliar.

It was nice to finally meet people too. There were moments of downtime, and of course, lunch, where I got to know several girls. They all seem really nice and most of them don’t live in Greensburg. Even though the drive to Seton Hill is only 25 minutes, I’m hoping that we can form a study group for those of us in the Monroeville/Murraysville area.

And finally, we got our schedule until the end of the year. It has been so frustrating for me not knowing what the weeks ahead will be like. I’m such a planner – it’s been driving me crazy! But now I know. I was under the impression that during the first 12 weeks we would be on campus from 8 until 4:30, but apparently that is just during the orientation week. Starting next week, my schedule is more broken up. I have a few weeks coming up where I don’t have anything on Friday. The course pathway is designed for a lot of self study, so when I’m not in class, I’ll be studying. It’s nice to know the flexibility kicks in right away.

What first day would be complete without a picture? photo

LECOM at Seton Hill had an Open House today from 1-4pm. Lorin and I arrived later than I had planned, around 3:30. While I didn’t come across too many other students that late in the day, I was able to talk a little bit longer with our Anatomy professor during our tour. She is the only member of the Basic Science faculty that is a D.O.; the rest have PhD’s. I know this because mini biographies of the faculty were sent out earlier this week. I was especially interested in meeting her because her bio listed her as a pianist. I can’t really claim to be a pianist anymore because it’s been so long since I’ve played, but I took lessons from age 4 – 18, and it was pretty much my life all through high school. We chatted a bit about our musical histories and I think I made a decent impression.

One of my regrets in undergrad was that I didn’t forge any relationships with my professors. Getting letters of rec for med school was a bit of a struggle because of it. I managed to get a letter from an MSU prof that I worked for my last two years there, and my other was from a professor from OU, to whom I never really spoke in or outside of class. Needless to say acquiring those letters was a source of great stress. My goal for medical school is form better and genuine relationships with my professors. I tend to be timid around professors and I’m not particularly great at faking interest. So to meet a professor that has similar interests is exciting.

The school itself is very beautiful. For those who don’t know – I am attending Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. The main campus is in Erie, PA. This year, to meet the demands of an anticipated physician shortage, they expanded their enrollment and leased (I think) space from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. The schools aren’t affiliated other than a Premed Scholars program at Seton Hill where qualified students can have guaranteed enrollment to LECOM. All the space occupied by LECOM has been renovated and looks brand new. Even though we are the first class at this location, I’m not nervous.

This will be an interesting week. It’s the first time in years that I’ve had to go to bed. When I worked nights at the Red Cross, I mostly went to bed whenever (usually, but not always when I got home) and I rarely set an alarm clock to wake up. I’ve completely reverted back to a normal sleep schedule though. Since we’ve been living in PA, I wake up naturally around 9am. Until I figure out exactly how much time I need to get ready and how long the morning commute to school is (read: know the very latest time I can sleep in til), I’m going to get up at 6am.

Alright – here I go.

For tomorrow: First Day of School Photo, summary of my day, etc.

I signed up for this blog quite awhile ago, but I’m only now posting my first entry. It is appropriate timing seeing that classes start July 27.  My intention is to keep my friends and family up to date with my new life in Pennsylvania. Until classes start, I will just post on life in PA.

Lorin and I made the last trip of our move on June 28. We are essentially all settled in. Posters and frames are on the walls now. No unpacked boxes are on the main floors. The basement isn’t quite a disaster but we aren’t able to walk in a straight line to get to the washer and dryer. My goal is to get a decent non-maze path cleared before the weekend. Overall, I love our townhouse. I love that we have 3 floors. I love that we have a full size kitchen with a dishwasher. I love that we have an office. While I’ve only done two loads of laundry so far, I love love love not having to put quarters into a washer and dryer.

In regards to the city of Pittsburgh, we are about 25 minutes east of the city proper. We haven’t spent a great deal of time exploring, but from our few visits, I can say it is a beautiful city. I am eager to go to baseball game, but I think that might have to wait until another baseball fan comes to visit =).

Since we have been here I try to fill my time with things that I love but won’t able to do once classes start. Mostly I’ve been reading and watching favorite TV shows and movies. There are at least 5 books off the top of my head that I want to read in the next 4 days. Clearly it won’t happen, but I plan to keep a non-medical book going most of the time.  Maybe I can read a few pages during breaks from class – think Rory Gilmore. Or maybe I should be social with my classmates.

As far as preparation for school, most of my textbooks are purchased and I’ve been hitting up sales at J.Crew and Target for my new school dress code. I must admit, I am pretty excited about the dress code. I spent the last 4 years working midnights in a lab. My quality of dress suffered for it, but I didn’t see much point in wearing something cute and possibly getting blood on it.

That’s it for now, but in the coming days I will post pictures of the townhouse as well as some details of my first week schedule.