Too much has happened and too little has been documented.
But first things first. Back to November.
The two weeks before the anatomy colloquium were quite stressful. To not know what is expected of us is the part that freaks me out the most.
The best way to prepare for such an exam is to read the most important topics again and again until the material somehow makes sense in your head. The biggest challenge is to know what to focus on and how much detail should be taken into consideration.
The theoretical part of the anatomy colloquium consisted of 80 questions – multiple choice format. 120 minutes in total.
I was afraid there would not be enough time. But there was. I remember freaking out a little bit when I realized I couldn’t answer for sure to any of the first 15-20 questions. However, I kept jumping the questions I couldn’t answer with a good degree of certainty and came back to them once I reached question number 80. It is a good way to make sure one gets all the points one can.
There is no penalty for the wrong answers here. So one can always try to guess the correct answer.
The practical exam is a different story. You must go through 25 stations spread along 2-3 rooms. Each station has either a specimen, a bone or an x-ray with a numbered pin. Your job is to write down the pinned structure. One letter in the wrong place or the wrong side (example: head of left humerus – when it is actually the right humerus) and you get zero points. We are given 45 seconds per pin. And let me tell you: time flies.
The stress factor is so high that it is really easy to make stupid mistakes.
I really wish for a trial practical colloquium in the coming years. Or some kind of demo during our lab classes. It is such a unique examination that I feel like we are just thrown into the dark the first time around. So much can go wrong due to our lack of experience.
We had the theoretical part on the 24th of November and the practical on the 25th.
The results were out on Monday 28th before 12:00.
If you are reading this and you are from Scandinavia the good news (to you) are: nobody else has access to your grade. Only you can see it.
I survived this time around. What a relief!
The day after the anatomy colloquium (26th) was one of the best I lived in Poland thus far.
I slept very long. As long as I wanted.
In the afternoon I played paintball with many of my colleagues. It was physically demanding but absolutely worth the experience.
The evening ended with dinner in a good (but rather cheap) burger place located on the main street of Old Town Gdansk. Drinks after. Sex on the beach for me, please! There is a bar in Szeroka street where the cocktails are really worth a try.
And to make the night even more special I ended up laying on a friend’s couch and watching something random on Netflix. The moment I had the blanket over my legs and felt the cushion behind my back… Oh boy! Time to relax and enjoy life!
Histology colloquium came 2 weeks after and it was a hard piece to bite since I was so drained after anatomy. It took me a couple of days to restore the energy necessary to do some serious reading.
I remember once when someone told me: the things you learn in medical school are not hard. What makes it so challenging is the huge amount of information in such a short time. So true. There are certain topics that are more complex than others but generally speaking one can relate to the material.
When I started in October I was super excited about histology. However, the way the course is organized is a bit disappointing. We get to see the histological slides once and only once during the labs. And we are supposed to recognize the very same structures a few months later during the practical exam. Quite unreasonable, I would say.
Moreover, we must draw the structures we see in every class. Besides the boring task of drawing it is useless to me. I am such a terrible drawer that I cannot use my drawings to study later on.
One or two weeks before the exam we are allowed to rent some microscopes and spend some time with the histological slides. Guess what the catch is: the microscopes available to us don’t have the same quality and that means that we don’t quite see the same thing as we see during the labs. Hence, I don’t even waste my time.
The colloquium has also 2 parts: theoretical and practical. The former was also a multiple choice exam (79 questions and 120 minutes) with no penalty for wrong answers. The latter you are given 10 random histological slides to look under the microscope and you must write down the structure and the detail that is pointed. 1 minute per microscope and in the end you have 1 extra minute to review and rewrite in your answer sheet if needed.
My group had the practical colloquium on the 9th of December and the theoretical on the 10th.
The theoretical part was hard. Very detailed. Fortunately, I was prepared for what came.
Another amazing day for Hugo – 10th of December. I went home to fix some stuff and had a Thai massage later on. Back and shoulders. Once my chakras were all aligned it was time for dinner at the best Mexican restaurant I have ever tried. Great atmosphere, good mood among us and great food.
Where to go after a great meal? Go for cocktails! Sex on the beach, please! Cheers! Cheers to medical school! Cheers to anatomy that has thrown me out of its ultra-fast train!
The moment I had to shift gear and study histology more intensively I lost track of anatomy… Honestly, I am still trying to go the reach the train that has stopped until the 8th of January.
We finished school on the 22nd of December. Our last exam was on the 19th – Hygiene – and my group had the histology weekly test on the 22nd.
I was supposed to have a Polish test as well but somehow I managed to postpone it to the beginning of the new year.
Flying home was a bliss. I have never been so happy.
Christmas was very peaceful and very cosy.
This week I worked 3 nights (this is actually my last) and despite my best efforts studying has not been very effective. Working nights really messes up my routine. However, I know the extra money will come handy at some point.
After tomorrow there will be no excuses.
I need to hit anatomy really hard.
Next exams: chemistry and molecular biology on the 14th and 15th of January, respectively. Polish somewhen in January as well.
Biophysics is on the 31st of January.
We will have classes now from 8th of January until the 27th. Then it is official exam period between the 30th of January and 17th of February.
The 1st year students have nothing else other than biophysics during the exam period. However, once the second semester starts we will have anatomy and histology colloquia right away. It is going to be crazy. And at the end of March, it’s time for the final embryology exam.
But again. First things first. We are still in December and I have one more week to enjoy myself at home.
I am looking forward to using the library at the university of Oslo. It is so nice there. I miss it badly! A place that actually offers comfort to students.
That’s one of the biggest cons with Gdansk. The school library sucks – no matter how many times they try to brainwash you with the argument that it is brand new – and the alternatives don’t offer good opening hours. On the weekends I either study at home or at a cafe (which is not a viable option in the long run due to obvious reasons).
Enough school talk.
Have you reflected on 2016? What was the best and the worst about it? What do you want to change your life starting in 2017? What do you want to keep?
This is the perfect time to reflect on my lifestyle and on myself as a human being. To aim for a better version of myself.
Happy New Year!