Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On to December

During the month of November, I was able to volunteer quite a bit. On the first weekend of the month, I volunteered at the International Food Festival hosted by St. Basil's church in Metairie. I wanted to immerse myself in the different cultures that are present in this diverse city. Upon arrival, I was put to work on the saj, a concave dome that heats up to a uniform temperature used in Lebanese cuisine. I was taught how to make Lebanese bread from scratch, and to my delight, it became a crowd favorite. I have attached a picture of me preparing the bread below. After a long day's work, a Mediterranean band performed and we learned the traditional dances of various cultures. It was a lot of fun!

I was able to volunteer a few times at Sci High towards the beginning of the month, which was also a lot of fun. I love being able to get to know the kids better and help them as best as I can. Sci High is now offering Saturday tutoring and I'm very excited to get involved. Later in the month, Dr. Beckman hosted a wonderful dinner for the students volunteering at Sci High, where we discussed the program and any improvements that could be made. 

School is going very well. My new study techniques that I experimented with last month are definitely working for me. Our current block is the GI block which I'm very excited about because my father is a gastroenterologist and I've grown up hearing a lot of the drug names that we're currently learning. 

Total hours completed: 32 hours

Monday, October 31, 2016

Where did October go?

It's crazy how quickly time is moving. I feel like October 1st was only a week ago, but yet here we are, 2 block exams later. We started the month in the CV block, which was worth a large percentage of our grade for Med Pharm. We attended our first SIM session with second year medical students and it was incredible. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, and was a bit intimidated by the fact that there were 3 masters students and about 20 medical students per session. We went into a large "hospital" room with a plastic man on the table. Dr. Clarkson was the voice of the patient, and I was shocked to see how realistic the situation appeared. The professor leading the session asked a series of questions on which drugs to use for the current condition the patient was in, and the masters students were stealing the show. It was awesome and I can't wait to attend another SIM session.
We are currently in the renal block and have our exams tomorrow. I'm pretty confident that I know the necessary information but I guess time will tell. I took a different approach to studying this time around and I hope it works! A new class was added this block called Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology and the information we have learned so far is very interesting. I'm eager to see what other topics we'll cover in the upcoming months. 

I volunteered at Sci High a few times this month for a total of 8 hours. I wasn't able to go as often as I'd hoped, but I'm really enjoying interacting with the kids and getting to know them better. I came the day before the exam, so we played an exam review game. The kids would work in teams and answer problems that their teacher gave them. If they got the answer right, they got to shoot a basketball for additional points. I walked around the room while they worked out the problems and helped them if they were stuck on a problem. I'm excited to continue volunteering there in the upcoming months.

Total hours completed: 17 hours

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sci High begins

In terms of academics, this month has been quite challenging. We are moving through a lot of difficult material very quickly, but I really enjoy the subject matter and am learning many new concepts. In about a week we have our next block exam, which is worth a large percentage of our grade so I have been vigorously studying in preparation for it. 

In our Advances in Pharmacology class, my group presented on orthostatic hypotension. I was honestly very nervous about presenting in front of the class, but my group worked together extremely well. We learned a lot on the subject and were able to give a thorough presentation. 

We also had our first team based learning exercise on ANS pharmacology. During the session, we took a quiz individually, then took the same quiz as a group, and finally answered a few questions as a group. Solving these challenging problems in a group setting really helped me better understand the material and think of the problems in new ways. Studying for the TBL also helped me begin my preparation for the exam. 

Also this month, I began volunteering at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School, also known as Sci High. The teacher I work with, Ms. Goldmann, teaches geometry and has a "flipped classroom". This means that her students watch videos at home and spend their class time working on problems and asking questions. I walk around answering any questions that they have and am also available to tutor them privately, if needed. I've loved the time I've spent there already, and really enjoy working with the kids. I'm really exited to get to know them better and continue working with them throughout the year. 

Total hours completed: 9 hours

Friday, August 26, 2016

the first of many

I'm back in my hometown of New Orleans after 4 years of undergrad in Austin and I couldn't be more excited to begin this next chapter! There truly is no place like New Orleans, and I couldn't think of a better place to attend graduate school. To say that time has flown by since starting the program in mid-July would be an understatement. We have already completed two blocks and are well into the third. The work piles up quickly but it is manageable with adequate planning.

The thing is though, I absolutely love it. I loved my time as an undergraduate, don't get me wrong, but the things we have learned so far in this program are so interesting and practical to me from a medical standpoint. I already feel like I have learned so much and it hasn't even been 2 months yet! I can't imagine all the knowledge I'll acquire in a year. Just this past weekend, I visited my friend who is attending medical school in Houston. She was complaining on how stumped she was on her homework and after looking at it, I realized that we've already covered all the material she was in the process of learning. This got me very excited and reassured me that this was a great stepping stone on my path to attend medical school one day.

Now for community service. I have signed up to volunteer at an institution called Sci High (The New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School). Unfortunately, however, the vetting process has not been completed, leaving us unable to begin volunteering there until September. I look forward to volunteering at Sci High, as I have heard wonderful things about the program from past students.