re-enter the zone

November 2, 2004

my neck is sore. i haven’t spent a full day just studying since . . . well, since the first year of medical school. back then, today would have been considered an easy one. at the time, i was so in the zone. i used to take notes in class and then create elaborate meta-notes (josh’s term) for every exam. sometimes i hand-wrote them, other times they were typed. they are beautiful and i can’t bring myself to throw them out. i spent much more time creating these notes than actually studying them, but the trick seemed to work – i think of it as a form of active learning. without my constant hand movements and the ‘information synthesis’ it takes to abbreviate texts and handouts into writeable form, i would be asleep the whole time.

unfortunately, most of what i learned 1st year did not seem to survive my clerkship year. every night i spent on call probably caused enough brain-frying stress to erase most of the memories. although, actually, in some ways last year’s experiences will help me while i study — being able to remember specific patients that had, say, rett’s syndrome or neurosarcoidosis will help me to learn the material even better this time. at least the clinical stuff. i hope.

the thing is, i’m pretty good at just sitting my ass down and studying. in fact, i kind of like it. i don’t necessarily have the stamina to keep going for hours and hours, but when i am working i am quite focused and fairly efficient. i plan on taking a lot of breaks — every 1.5 to 2 hours typically works well for me. and i’m not going to study late into the night, because i just don’t want to.

tomorrow’s plan: biochemistry, day 2. i may even do something wild and crazy like use a pink highlighter. ooh baby.

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100! this is my 100th post. 100 consecutive post, i might add, though admittedly i have cheated on some occasions (writing some short crappy blurb, writing a ‘make-up’ post the next night). i’m still proud of my compulsivity.

election the day is almost here. i will have to take frequent cnn-breaks. i am not feeling particularly optimistic. i hate how all the red states are so much bigger (in size, not population) that it makes any electoral map look hopeless. it’s not fair. they should make a map of the states that’s like a humunculous — you know, that representation of the brain’s innervation of the body where the parts are the size of their respective neurological inputs and/or outputs. giant hands and lips, tiny chest and midsection, etc. it would probably look psychedelic (america on crack), but would be useful.


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