How NOT To Tackle Exams

For the first time in two weeks, I’m up before the sun is. Seeing that sunrise is at 9.54a.m., you know what I’m getting at. I wish I could say it’s because I’m hard at work, drinking in page upon page of my Surgery textbook, but the truth is, my friends and I have never been this lazy before an exam, especially not one this important.

Today is the day I attempt to do work instead of sitting around like a House-addicted twat (yeah, I know. The show’s not even cool anymore.)

But before I do that, let me pull some wisdom out of my bum and tell you how NOT to prepare for important state exams that determine your future.

1. Get At Least 10 Hours’ Sleep

I’m usually a person who only needs about 5-6 hours of sleep and some coffee to function somewhat well. While I was happy that classes were over and I wouldn’t have to wake up before birds did, I was confident I wouldn’t sleep more than the luxurious 7 hours I normally give myself on weekends.

What rubbish.

My body has been a pathetic disappointment. I’ve been sleeping at 5a.m. and waking up at 2p.m., followed by a 90-minute nap after brushing my teeth and reading the news. Add my chores like cooking and laundry to my day and I’m left with very little time with the books.

2. Eat Lots

This is my procrastination method of choice. I could read while snacking or having tea, but this person who used to sneak a book to the dining table as a kid now has issues with reading and eating at the same time. Let me give you an example of how I use eating to ruin my chances at a decent exam results AND fitting into a Karen Millen dress:

2p.m. – Roll out of bed

2.10- Weigh out the pros and cons of my breakfast options while reading tweets and Facebook notifications

2.30 – Have breakfast

3p.m. – Brush teeth and make myself look generally presentable for human interaction.

3.30 – Realise that I could’ve had lunch as soon as I woke up. I mean, it’s the afternoon, right? It makes perfect sense.

3.35 – Surf the Net for lunch recipes that are healthy and not boring.

4.30 – Decide that everything on the Internet is too fancy and settle on making anything that has the chili supply of a small country in its gravy.

4.35 – Have a cup of coffee and biscuits before I begin cooking (you know, because cooking is such a taxing task and breakfast may not be able to sustain me till I’m done.)

5 p.m. – Start cooking.

6.30 – Have lunch

7p.m. – Have tea and Kinder Bueno for dessert

7.20 – Hang out with friends while food makes its way down the GI tract.

8p.m. – Have coffee so I can stay awake to study

8.30 – Realise that it’s late enough to have dinner…

You can see where I’m going with this, right?

3. Live On Social Networking Sites.

Imagine Twitter is a bright shiny thing. Well, I’m the fucking magpie that keeps flying to it. I swear, the tab is always open and I check Heck, if Twitter were a person, they would have a restraining order out for me. What’s worse, I talk to my roommates about tweets I find funny. I bet they’re looking for a Twitterholics Anonymous in Moscow or something.

4. Find New/Interesting/Creative Music Videos On Youtube

Every time I have an exam, I create a playlist of about 400 songs that I’ll never be able to listen in one sitting because I have the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. This year is no different, except that I’m a little bored with the songs on my iTunes and the world is not coming out with anything worth listening to. Thankfully, the good people I follow on Twitter sometimes share music links. While I may not like the song they’re sharing, the related videos featured on the page may have some gems. Here are my current top three favourites:

1. Utah Saints – Something Good
( I prefer the High Contrast remix, but this video is pretty cute)

2. David Armand (as Johann Lippowitz) and Natalie Imbruglia – Torn

3. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know

Okay, I probably should use my burst of early morning energy to read about pancre….Oh, new tweet! Gotta go.

Electricity, Exams and Eyewear

I’ll be honest. I don’t fancy blogging in December. I’ve mentioned it before; it’s my least favourite month of the year and the only thing I like about it is Christmas. Which is kinda funny because the suckiest parts of December usually popped up around Christmas eve when I was a kid.

But enough about that. Here’s some random thoughts. You know, because I don’t feel like reading about upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding.

1. I’m partially homeless at the moment. The wiring in my asbestos-laced hostel is 30 years old and after a couple of electrical fires and students with 3rd degree burns (I’m not even kidding about this one), the university has decided to rewire the entire building, one floor at a time. My floor is being done now, so I’m living in an empty room with two other roommates, Anu and Tina. We’re trying to see this as a 10-day long slumber party, but it’s hard when there’s no cute, girly pillow fights and we’re all trying to study without a table.

2.My super important state exams are in approximately 6 weeks. When I say ‘important’, I mean my entire medical degree depends on this exam. I have more than 2000 MCQs and roughly 300 cases to go through. Thankfully, language is not much of an issue anymore. I can read chapters with minimal Google Translate usage. But still…

Over. Two. THOUSAND. Questions.

*passes out from shock*

Five minutes later

Right, I’m back.

3. It’s time for new glasses. I kinda threw my old pair away. No, not because I’m a diva and my pair was out of fashion or something. My glasses were 8 years old and they were the pair I hated the least. Here’s the thing. My table is cluttered, to say the least. It stems from my pathological inability to keep things back in their place. I think they fell into my waste basket and I threw the trash out without noticing them in there. Come on, who checks their trash before throwing it, right?

I guess it’s less embarrassing than the time I accidentally flushed them down the loo, but that’s a story for another day when I feel like procrastinating.

It’s May. Let The Mistake Making Begin!

Clearly I’m a random sort of person and at the rate I’m going, I may graduate before I write something proper. So here’s some stuff I sifted out of my head.

1. Forensic Medicine classes have begun. My major plan to ace this one is to download and watch as many episodes of CSI my puny little laptop is capable of holding.

2. The Malaysian Students’ Annual Dinner is in two days. The past weekend was spent consuming fajitas, burgers, fried chicken, loads of fries, moist chocolate cake covered in melted white chocolate, and enough barbecued meat to make up a decent sized lamb leg. I might as well just go wearing a saree.

3. Speaking of barbecued meat, I had such a great time at a barbecue party on Labour Day that I’m still raving about it. I don’t know whether it was the different company, the wonderful food or the fact that every beverage I had between 11a.m. and 9p.m. was alcoholic, but it KICKED ASS.

4.Exams are in a month. Seeing that I did crappily in the one paper everyone said was as easy as Paris Hilton, I’m already worried about this semester’s papers because they’re all hard. Am I doing anything to reduce my worry? Nah, I’ve got a month.

5. My term as a glorified letter writer is coming to an end. I am over the moon about this. My heart is singing and the birds are dancing to the melodies playing in my soul. I’m exaggerating, of course. I barely did enough to warrant such joy. The work I did this past year makes the previous secretary look like a rabid workaholic. Or maybe he just is a rabid workaholic and I’m normal. Either way, I’ll be done and I can go back to my quiet life of ignorance and sloth.

That’s all folks!

Rinne, Highmore and Kiesselbach

(This was written 5 days ago, in a lecture I had no intention of paying attention to)

It’s amazing how some lectures inspire me to write anything but its related notes.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I completed my ENT cycle, and you would think that I’ve moved on. No, I wouldn’t be me if I move on sooner than 6 months. Besides, I promised myself that I’d write (read: bitch) about this subject, and by golly I will.

ENT as a subject by itself isn’t so bad. It’s when it is a subject in my University that things go downhill. Other departments start classes at 9 in the morning, this one starts it at 8.30, sharp. When you live on little sleep and it takes almost an hour to get to the hospital, that half an hour matters. Not a single professor is understanding (i.e. lenient, a slacker..not anal). All of them were in school during World War II, not all of them are fully present now, if you get what I mean.

The two things that bothered me the most were the dress code and the exams. It’s compulsory for us to dress in office wear. Sure, I have shirts and blouses and junk like that, but those things require ironing and using starch and whatnot, effectively killing about 15 minutes of sleep time. I’m more of a roll-out-of-bed-and-pull-on-a-hoodie-and-remember-to-wear-jeans sort of person. You can see how this was going to cramp my style, or the lack thereof.

Then there’s the exam. That bugger was going to be at the end of the cycle. Two miserable weeks to learn EVERYTHING there is to know about the ear, nose and throat. Okay, I’m going a little too far; two God-forsaken weeks to learn ALMOST everything there is to know about the ear, nose and throat.

I’m sure I would have been able to take things in stride if I had not seen my roommate during her ENT cycle last year. She wasn’t my roommate during that period of time; she was a zombie who went for class, came home, studied, had a meal, and slept for about 4 to 5 hours daily. These activities were not necessarily done in that order. Needless to say, watching her made me scared. Shitless.

Truth be told, the two weeks went by fast. I spent every single day being petrified. The only problem was, all that fear didn’t even come close to making me study as hard as I should have. I pretty much just listened to lectures and my professor (who drilled it into our heads that we were going to fail with the horse poop knowledge we had).

The day of the exam was a killer. The exam was divided in two parts: practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

I was fearing the worst because THEORETICALLY, I knew how to examine a patient, but my partner, Anna has a super sensitive gag reflex ( I see the possible humour. Don’t.) and it was virtually impossible for me to perform a posterior rhinoscopy and pharyngoscopy. I knew what I was supposed to see, I’d just never actually seen it before. Thankfully, the patient given to me was easy to deal with and the techniques I had to demonstrate had nothing to do with reflexes of any kind. I survived Part One.

Part Two was my next hurdle, because I knew practically nothing. At least, it felt that way at the time. In Russia, most departments have a list of exam questions prepared for the students. This list is usually up on a notice board, or students are given a copy of these questions. It’s a little hard to explain, but the summary is if a student has managed to find the answers for all the questions on the list, they’ve pretty much studied everything.

The ENT department gave us a list of 95 questions at the beginning of the cycle. Out of these 95 questions, only two will be asked along with a case question.Each student gets a different set of questions. Naturally, being me, I only prepared exactly four answers. FOUR. Out of ninety-five.

Obviously, the odds were against me. I don’t know how it happened, but thankfully my first question was one of the four that I had prepared, my second question was about rhinogenic meningitis (which was the question that I specifically declared wouldn’t be asked because the occurence was so rare) and my case was about a nosebleed. I didn’t choke and die while answering my questions. Okay, I choked a little, because answering in Russian will probably never stop being scary to me.

Of course, now I look back and think that it wasn’t so bad. Clearly, I don’t remember all the details anymore.

Chakhobili, Kimbap and Chicken Tikka

Normally I try not to write during exam season, but I seem to be breaking all my usual superstitions. For instance, I have yet to wear my lucky Oktoberfest hoodie, my nails are painted pink and I just trimmed my hair. Horrors! I MUST be trying to flunk this semester.

Truth be told, I’m supposed to start preparing for my next paper, called General Health and Healthcare (as translated by Google). Every time I look at the notes for this thing, I perceive them as God’s way of punishing me for fucking up my A-Levels..twice. The joke on the Russian students’ forums is that this paper is purely luck. You could write a lot and get a satisfactory mark, or you could pay for the paper..and still get a satisfactory mark.

While not everything has been peachy this year (I know, I KNOW. It’s only been two weeks), I see a lot of good things for the future. The Year of the Rabbit is coming about, which is a pretty good year for me. The last one was in 1999, which I believe was the year I pulled the cactus out my ass and decided to not drag my chin on the ground.

2011 is going to bring me Seungri’s solo mini album, for one thing. I’ve watched the teaser for the music video, and I’m swooning. Sure, he has that look that says, “you know you love, how could you not?” but his 39-second clip already has me dreaming about him.

Then there’s Jay Sean. I’ve been following him on Twitter and the dude is mad. Those who have Twitter, follow him. You will be regaled with informative and memorable panda “facts”. Plus he does really cute things like get easily amused and tweet about it. Oh wait, the idea was to express my excitement over his upcoming album. See? This kind of thing is called derailment in Psychology. Don’t take my word for it, though.

Well, what do you know? Only Seungri and Jay Sean are my highlights for this year. Goes to show what sort of priorities I have.

Happier post after February 3rd. I may blog before that, but be warned, they’re probably going to be bitchfits.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside..

Here’s a little update:

1. I’ve fallen twice and had a major slip once, all in the span of two weeks. I’m expecting the lower half of my body to be very, very sore. After the icing session over the weekend, I’ve decided to just fall whenever gravity pulls me.

2. Christmas was awesome and tiring. Here’s proof:

This MAY have been after the eggnog

Nothing like 'Christmas in a Cup' to start the day

Us Girls Being Fancy at Lotte Plaza

The Mandatory Party of the Bekker Family

See? FUN.

3. Classes are over, which means exams are around the corner. I have the pleasure of sitting for FOUR papers this winter. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a post after the 9th of January.

4. November and December have been months of eating, drinking and being merry. In other words, I cannot fit into ANYTHING. Hopefully stress metabolizes all my jolly bits.

5. A new year will show up in a few days. Hopefully it starts with a bang the way this year did. A lot happened, but nothing I feel like mentioning now.

2010 in a (large) nutshell coming soon. Preferably before 2011.

No One Jumps Into a Pile of Books, Right?

Am I awesome or what? My exams are in four days, I have 23 topics to study and here I am, happily blogging away for the five people who visit this place. I suppose I’m sort of due for an update, and blogging is a nice way to procrastinate.

  1. I took part in the student body elections that I found dodgy and boring. Don’t ask how, don’t ask why. All I know is that I’m the glorified letter-writer for the next 8 to 10 months.
  2. I’m done with my cycles for 4th year. I’m sure I would’ve gotten more done with proper time management and discipline, but 4th year has definitely given me more sleep-time than 3rd year ever offered. Imagine, I’ve had caffeine-free days this academic year!
  3. Hot water has been shut off for a week and will only return to our faucets on the 8th of June. I attempted having a cold shower, and now I am convinced my ovaries look like raisins. Thankfully, it’s warm now and there’s no need to boil large amounts of water to mix with the ice-cold water we’ve been getting.
  4. I am worried about my exams, especially Neurology. If Anatomy was my bane in 1st year, Neurology is my personal leprosy. My last resort is to offer my cousin Hera to the department as a research subject in return for a passing mark.
  5. Summer electives begin two days after my last exam. The hospital is in some God-forsaken part of Moscow, on my least favourite Metro line. No worries, ONLY six bloody weeks.
  6. Been having strange ideas relating to photography. Coming from me, this is silly because the only thing I’m worse at than photography is taking care of plants. Thanks to these ideas, I’ve been on Deviantart a lot. After all this browsing, I only have one question: why are most ‘Artistic Nude’ entries photos of either nude girls or nude girls making out with each other?

If we’re lucky, the next post won’t be all about me.

Liston, Willis and McBurney

Operative Surgery: DONE.

Let’s move on.

I want to say more about the madness prior to the exam, like hyperventilating in -17 degrees Celsius, having a diet of hummus with Marie biscuits and hot sugar with coffee, and trying to predict how well the exam would go based on how my guinea pig, Pedro was behaving in the morning. But that would probably make me sound….well, crazy.

I had no intention to blog today, but the nice boys in 14-05 decided that whiskey was in order and were generous when it came to sharing. Go figure.

Not much has been happening, other than the studying and spazzing out parts of the day. I’ve been trying to come up with legit reasons and topics to blog about, mostly revolving around me. You know, because I’m shameless like that. 🙂

Like last year, I’ve not come up with any resolutions, seeing that it seems to work better for me. I know I’ve mentioned the whole “reset” button thing, but that’s more of a ” I will do my laundry everyday” and ” I will not buy lunch out” sort of thing. I take resolutions as something from the ” I will not procrastinate with my assignments and land up pulling the mother of all unnecessary all-nighters” level.

I am, however, coming up with a list. This list should be my next post, if things go well and no ADD moments like this one pop up.

Uh-oh. Whiskey’s wearing off.