Thursday, 30 August 2012

Juggling

I've been studying pretty heavily the past few days, so my online time has cut down a lot.

Seems like this is the way it will be going forward. Lots of time hitting the books, much less time for hobbies.

My son starts swimming lessons on the 15th, so after his Friday night sleepover with his grandparents, he'll be at the pool with my mother until around 11am, which means I have about 4 hours each Saturday morning to clean without (most of) it being undone behind me. YAY!

The kids wake up around 6am. I may need to start getting up well before them just to make sure I can do everything; get stuff packed up, clothes laid out, driveway cleared in the winter.

The winter is what scares me a bit. Clearing the driveway can take me 45 minutes to do it properly, even with the snowblower, because I really suck with anything machinery-ish. I've been spoiled by having a husband who enjoys that kind of stuff. Last winter I had no strict schedule so it wasn't a big deal if I didn't clear the driveway until 10. My son went to preschool 4 days a week, but if the weather wasn't great I'd just call in. Can't do that for university; if I miss two labs, I fail.

This is the kind of stuff that's going to take a lot of adjustment. 


Not long now!

Now student orientation starts in TWO DAYS!

I am so excited. Today the kids and I are going to run around cleaning the house, getting it absolutely perfect as my husband gets home tomorrow and we like him to come home to a spotless house.

Well, that's the goal anyway. Nice house, clean kids,very fifties-esque. I can't guarantee it, but I try.

Tomorrow morning, before El Husband's arrival, I am going to get my hair done. Now, I am not very girly. I prefer being in the woods to going shopping. However, I tried to dye my hair.

Consider, I do not have girl skills. Anything more complex than a ponytail evades me, I have no idea how one uses the majority of cosmetics. I do not own a blowdryer, or a hot iron (whatever those flattening thingies are called.) When it comes to hair, I shampoo it and brush it and that's it. My daughter, poor thing, is going to have to live without cute hairstyles.

With that background, I really should not have tried to dye my hair. Something so seemingly simple, and I screwed it up. The colour was supposed to be auburn. I look like someone crossed a Dalmatian with a pomeranian. My hair is fried, the dye didn't take in certain areas, and it's like carrot top orange.

Disaster.

So tomorrow I'm going to go pay a lot of money to have someone who actually knows what they are doing fix it for me. My mother, between guffaws, agreed to watch my kids.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Damsel in Distress

I just said goodbye to the lovely, professional members of my regional detachment of the RCMP. I live in the country, so we don't have a local police force, so we get the mounties (no, they do not ride horses for actual policing. They have Crown Vics.) People who aren't Canadian, or who live in the cities and are not aware of the fact that there are non-city places in our country, are often surprised to find out that RCMP are, in fact, actual police, not just a ceremonial guard of sorts. They do that too, yes, but actual mounties are actual cops and they are actually pretty badass.

Someone tried to get into my house while I was making a cake in the kitchen. My dog flipped out, I flipped out and called 911.

911 works. Quickly, at that.

I'm home alone with my kids. My house is surrounded by woods, fields, and there are no streetlights. It is VERY dark here at night, so the officers brought in the K9 unit (which is one dog... small population, smaller budget) to sniff around and fortunately didn't find anything.

I am sending those officers a thank you note. Seriously. They found nothing, my dog probably scared off who/whatever it was. In all likelihood, it may have just been a drunk neighbour or some teens getting up to nonsense, but I am glad to have had the RCMP come put my mind at ease.

Also, the dog got a few strips of bacon. She earned it.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Home Stretch

My husband will be home Friday night. His flight gets in at 11:33 and he is going to take a cab home so I won't see him until after midnight likely, but I'll be waiting up for him.

He doesn't have a house key, so I kind of have to, unless he develops a sudden desire for overnight camping in our front yard.

I've learned not to count down too much when he's about to come home, or it feels like it takes forever. I try to schedule as much as I can for the week before his return so I can keep busy instead of idling away the time waiting. So this week we have two doctors' appointments, speech pathology assessment, and my own personal cleaning/organizing schedule. Just stuff to keep me busy.

Especially because on Saturday, new student orientation starts. So I'm excited for two things.

And it's only Sunday. I just need to not count the days or this will feel like a very long week.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Pulling Teeth

Getting details out of my son is like pulling teeth. While he has volunteered a few things about his trip, he hasn't said much until today.

I went to sign him up for swimming lessons at my shool's aquatics complex, and while there he started going on about the pool he went to in Toronto.

That branched into everything else about Toronto. He was enthusiastically telling me everything about his trip, and it was lovely to hear him so thrilled about it.

Of course, he is now of the opinion that we should move there. I told him it was a possibility, that if I get into a certain school we might move there in as little as three years, but I will have to work very hard to be good enough for that school.

So he told me we had to go home so I could work on my school work, and he dragged me to my desk as soon as we got home.

Clearly, someone now has a personal interest in me getting into med school, hah. Poor thing will be heartbroken if I don't get into U of T, it seems.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ramping Up

So far, several of my classes have preliminary readings and even questions we should be doing before the first class.

I've done them. I used my international edition of bio to do those, but I'll check it against the actual book when I get it to make sure I did the right questions.

Thing is, it's easy to get this stuff done now. It's easy to have the enthusiasm and to be thrilled to sit down with my books, read, study and finish questions right now.

The trick will be keeping this momentum for the next four years and beyond. When I'm sick, when I'm tired, when it has been a crazy long day and I need to do six loads of laundry. That's where it is going to get tough.

Also, I only have assignments for a few classes right now. No pre-labs, no reports, nothing other than a few chapters of reading and a few dozen questions. The real workload is still a few weeks away.

On my way

I have three of my five books now and have already done the pre-reading for Chem (again. Always best to keep it current!)

My son asked if I was sure that they were books since they are so big. My chemistry book is almost 3" thick. I won't be bringing that one to class...

The only supplies I have left to purchase are my biology book, Spanish book, and the access code to the online component of my chem class. I'm guessing it'll be around $400 for those, since it is looking increasingly like I will need to buy my biology book new, but we'll see.

I do so like the smell of a new book.

Picked up my student loan documents yesterday and will be sending them off tomorrow so hopefully there won't be much of a delay in getting the funds.

My husband will be home in eight days, and orientation week starts the next morning. I can't believe it. Just over a week left.

Think I'll go walk around campus again. It is such a beautiful campus; 100+ year old oaks towering over red brick buildings. It's just gorgeous.




Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sixth

Today is my husband's and my sixth wedding anniversary.

It's rather hard for me to believe we've been married for six years, but we have. There have been a lot of struggles, a lot of heartache, and many tears over the years, but we've stuck it out and we're happy.

Not terribly happy with our current circumstances, but happy overall. It'd be far better if he were home instead of on the other side of the country, but it's just not possible. He'll be home in ten days, to help me get the next chapter of our lives started.

Six years ago today, on a very similar day to this; bright, summery, a light breeze stirring the trees,  we stood in abject terror in front of a handful of family and friends while my dad officiated. Neither of us likes to be the centre of attention, and I absolutely loathe being photographed, so there aren't many pictures of us that day. We both look scared in most of them, me especially because my parents - to whom I left almost all of the planning because all I wanted to do was go to city hall and I had zero interest in planning an actual wedding - had the grand idea of having us all eat outside. Remember, I am terrified of wasps, and wasps like food. They were *everywhere.*

During the ceremony, which was thankfully brief, I kept shooing them away from me. I am rather proud of how well I restrained myself, as usually I take off on the opposite direction. It's just that screaming and bolting away from one's soon-to-be husband is generally considered bad form.

I was also five months pregnant with our son at the time, so I couldn't so much run as waddle a bit quickly.

I'm pretty sure my husband reads this occasionally, so happy anniversary, love. We've made it this far without killing each other, here's to another few decades!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Worries

School starts two weeks from Wednesday. I'm meeting up with someone to buy my dissection kit and clicker used.

My classes do this thing where the prof will ask questions during class and we have to use a clicker (around $70 new) to put in what we think our answer is. The clickers are registered to us, and the profs make our in class responses part of the grade. In my chemistry, it's 3% of my grade, just whether or not I responded, not whether my response is correct.

It's electronic attendance taking, really. I'm sure there has to be a cheaper way of doing that.

I'm getting really worried about the logistics of my son potentially needing surgery. If I have to stay home for a week, it will jeopardize my year. According to the syllabi, we have to make up a missed lab in the week it was missed, and missing two labs means you fail the semester for that class, no excuses. If I'm out for a whole week, making them up is not going to be possible, especially if we have to go to NS. Then were something to happen - car breaks down, kids get sick and my parents can't take them - then I'm done for and I have permanent fails on my UG record.

I may have to bite the bullet and have my husband come home for an extra week, which is a significant expense as he only has a few months of steady work. Hopefully if my son does need to go in for surgery, it can be scheduled during a time when my husband is home. They don't do elective surgeries during the last two weeks of the year (when I'd be off), and if it fell during exams, I'd be screwed.

How on earth do other parent students manage this stuff? Especially the single moms without much family support?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Not good advice

On the new student forum, the student leaders are regularly telling people not to buy their books until after first class. The bookstore recommends this, as do the advisors.

Thing is, this is probably not a good idea for science students. Our classes require a textbook, there really is no question about that. We need texts, solutions manuals, 'clickers,' lab guides, online access codes, dissection kits, lab glasses, and a lab coat. It's right on the faculty sites, and in the syllabi posted already. 

In fact, for two classes, I already have two chapters each of reading - plus review questions - assigned to be done before the first class. The students who follow the advice of upper year students, advisors and the bookstore, will actually be starting out two chapters behind. 

I realize that a class having books you don't need does happen, but the required materials for first year science are really straightforward and they really shouldn't be telling us stuff that is demonstrably untrue. We do need books for our core classes, and we need them ASAP. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Bounty

I love summers here. Aside from the bugs and my allergies, summers are incredible.

Yesterday, I saw the most perfect, beautiful complete arc of a rainbow over a freshly baled hay field.

Today, a kestrel flew alongside my car for a few moments on my way home. I stopped to watch him fly. They really are very acrobatic birds.

My daughter and I started off the morning at the Farmer's Market in town (curious thing that we have to go into town to get the food grown on our road!) We each got a freshly made macaron, and browsed the produce. Blackcurrants, carrots, ciaggia beets, purple wax beans, fresh eggs. Ah, it was fabulous. I picked up some sausages for breakfast for tomorrow.

Being somewhat old fashioned, I made some blackcurrant cordial, which I've been sipping all day. It's very good for you. My daughter likes to eat the currants whole, which is something I find absolutely disgusting. They have a very strong flavour.

She got a lovely little sunflower which she carried around at the market, and is now in a vase on our table, somewhat pitiful looking after being manhandled by a toddler for most of the morning.

We went up and made supper for my dad with the bounty we'd found at the market, let the dogs run around the fields, then cleaned up and headed home.

It was a perfect summer day. I will miss days like this when we have to move to a city.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Networking

I have secured my first study buddy. We share four of the same classes this year, though we have different professors for two.

He's gunning for veterinary med. The application process is essentially identical: LORs, MCAT, need roughly the same level GPA, ECs (with clinical and hands-on ones being the best to get.) I think it's even better that we aren't even looking into doing the same program, because while the process is similar, we aren't directly competing against each other.

We each want to have a small group to work with; 3-4 max. He's frustrated that a lot of students aren't really serious about studying, as am I, so hopefully we can keep the group very focused by only selecting students who are very focused on academics.

So, I'll see how this goes. :)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Ambulance

My sister's boyfriend is a paramedic, as previously mentioned. My son and mother are staying with her and her boyfriend while in Toronto, and this morning my son was up in time to drive Le Boyfriend to work.

He got to see the inside of an ambulance, and saw another go out on a call. All before the time when most people wake up. He's off to the Toronto Zoo for the rest of the day, and I'm sure I'll hear about it in detail this evening.

The house is so quiet, it is eerie. My daughter largely likes to play on her own, so I've been doing my own things; cleaning, organizing, a bit of research and school preparation. These will be the last quiet days before the beginning of my academic career, so I'm going to cherish them, as well as the time spent with just my daughter. When my son is home, he takes most of my attention so I do not get to focus on my youngest very much. It makes me sad at times to realize how this isn't easy for her either.

But enough moping, off to clean the playroom. I may not make it out alive...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Logistical Nightmare Approaching

So it's looking like my son may need to go in for surgery soon. Right now I'm waiting to find out whether we'll see paeds first (paed was rather confused that the family doctor wanted us to see her about the issue) or whether we'll go right to see the surgeon.

It's unlikely to be much of a wait, as my son is in quite a bit of pain. He did go to Toronto as planned, but I let him because a) we won't see anyone within the next five days. Just doesn't work that fast and b) my sister is an emerg RN, and her boyfriend an advanced care paramedic. If there are issues, my son is in good hands.

This sucks, though. Mostly because my son is in pain, but also partially because it will mean missed school for him (and me.) As far as I'm aware, he may well be referred to the children's hospital in the next province over instead of ours, which will mean a couple trips at least; consult + actual surgery. Lacking a children's hospital here, it's distinctly likely that a non-emergent paediatric surgery wouldn't be performed here.

So for now I will wait. I feel bad for him, terrible, because there's nothing I can do right now.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Up and Away

My son leaves for Toronto with his grandmother tomorrow morning. He's spending the night at my parents' house as the flight is early.

I'm very excited for him, he will have a great time. My siblings have a great deal of fun stuff planned for him - the zoo, the Lego store, CNE, etc. - though I don't imagine he'll be able to do all of it. He gets overwhelmed sometimes, and with all the sights, sounds, smells, and new experiences in a big city, he's likely to need some downtime. Where we live, there are precisely two buildings over 6 storeys, and he has not been in either. Downtown is about a square kilometre, and we go into town to buy stuff, we don't live there. This will be something completely new for him.

If it goes well, it may become an annual thing, which will eventually include his sister. By the time she is five, though, I may well already be in med school, quite possibly in Ontario already.

Still, I think it very well could be an amazing experience and a great memory maker for my son. Had we not had such financial difficulties, my daughter and I would be going as well, but it simply was not possible to afford another plane ticket this month. I'm rather sad that I will not get to see him experience so many firsts because firsts are precious to parents. I hope my siblings realize how special all this is.

Anyway, as my mother put it this morning "Either it will go really well, or they will both decide to never have children."


Monday, 13 August 2012

Charting

I'm making a chart of the requirements and evaluation criteria for all Canadian med schools. I'll share it here when I am done.

There is a LOT of information about the process to condense into one chart. Each school has a completely different way of doing things. Six of our seventeen schools don't require the MCAT. One uses only your VR score, one requires it only for OOP students, several use it only as a cutoff whereas others consider it heavily in their selection process.

A lot of schools do not publish cutoffs or statistics, so I have to figure them out based on what little information I do have.

One school doesn't require LORs, some use them only as flags, others consider them heavily.

A lot of the information I'm trying to gather isn't easily accessible. Many even make it hard to figure out how they calculate your GPA - almost every school has a different scheme. Outside of the Quebec schools, most use OMSAS conversion, but not all.

It's crazy how different each school is. I guess it is good, in that it means a wide variety of applicants can find a school that fits their unique application. But on the other hand, what a pain for the applicants to figure this all out! Especially when the schools tend to be secretive about how they evaluate applicants and what they are looking for.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mindset

I start class in just over three weeks.

Twenty three days between today and my first day as a student. Thirteen weeks from then, my first semester will be over. A few short months after that, my first year will be done.

That seems so short. I'll have four months where hopefully I'll be working in a lab, then I'll dive into my second year.

Then I'll be applying to med school. Two years from now. That's nothing. It feels like only yesterday, my son was a tiny babe-in-arms, but he's starting school in three weeks himself; the oldest in his class, in fact.

It just really struck me this evening. Holy shit, I only have to years to prove how great a doctor I will be, to tell med schools why they should accept me instead of these others who have put just as much time and effort into it, many of whom have just as much passion about medicine as I do.

Two years before I ask an admissions committee if they think I'm good enough to cut people open and put them back together. It's no wonder the application process is so difficult. That is a heady responsibility.

I must be my absolute best, because the people who will entrust their health to me in the future deserve no less than the best I can do.



This feels weird

I haven't typed on a regular keyboard in so long that it feels incredibly odd. Since my husband bought the iPad last year, I have pretty much used that exclusively for all my online activities.

Now I'm trying to get used to typing on the laptop. The keys feel so large, and I need to insert apostrophes again (autocorrect does it automatically) which will take some getting used to. I type extremely quickly, generally, but am rather slow at the moment.

So forgive the typos temporarily as I adjust.

I am, however, totally in love with the laptop my dad got me. It's a lovely piece of equipment, and far lighter than I expected. Now I need to find a good laptop backpack for it to bring it to class.

Get Off my Lawn!

I'm looking at the activities planned for orientation week at my school, and I'm feeling old and boring.

For one, they have important events scattered all over the calendar. Team meetings at 10pm, for example. There are events scheduled during instructional time after the first day of classes.

What on Earth do a hypnotist and a play fair have to do with higher learning? Why are the very, very high fees I pay going to hire a DJ for an all-night party at the bar? Why do we have free barbecues and picnics every day for a week?

I'm not laying down fifteen grand a year - which is what this will cost us between tuition, books, fees, and daycare - to party. I'm going to university to learn. The other students are, for the most part, adults. This is supposed to be their entry into adulthood, their job for the next four years. But, frankly, the real world doesn't throw you a $150,000 party just for getting a job.

I can see why people complain that teens/early twenties are more immature these days. What happened to matriculation ceremonies that impressed upon the student the seriousness of the venture they were about to undertake?

I feel so old and cranky. The money used to throw this week-long party that seems more designed for children than new adults could find a great many uses in improving academics.

Instead of learned professors or groundbreaking research, we get DJs and a hypnotist. Ugh. Can I get a refund?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Peace

My desk is all set up. Bought my filing cabinet today as I was in dire need of one.

After I finished setting everything up, I just sat down at my desk for a few minutes and looked around. Right beside my desk is a large window, which I think is good for my mental health while studying.

For a few, beautiful, peaceful moments, the setting sun shone through my window, wild birds sang in the hazy air left after a brief shower, and my world was completely at peace. It felt almost like a benediction from the universe; a welcome to this academic life I left behind.

Then the dog, a t-shirt halfway onto her head, came careening into my room, followed by two raucous, laughing children, and the moment passed.

Deep thoughts and awestruck moments of universal harmony are fleeting, it seems. Hopefully I'll have a few more moments like that. While that desk is currently my favourite spot in the house, I have a feeling I'll hate it in about two months. We'll see.

Homeward Bound

My husband's plane ticket home is booked for the 31st. He'll get in at 11:33pm. We generally make a big deal about meeting him at the airport, but I think this time, he'll just need to take a cab.

Last time we met him for a flight that late, the baggage handlers were having a fit of the sulks and delayed putting out the baggage for an hour. I'd made the incdibly intelligent decision to bring the kids, expecting their excitement to result in better behaviour.

Hah. Yeah, like that has ever worked before.

By the time we left, I was quite certain everyone in the airport had glared at me at least once.

As he is going to be home with the kids on his own the whole next day - my first day of orientation - it is in his best interests to take a taxi home.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Guess I don't need to worry about that

My son slept over with his grandparents yesterday and I met up with them this morning to get him. Instead of them meeting me at the grocery store or my house, as usual, they wanted me to meet them at Staples. 

My dad wanted to help me pick out a laptop. They know I'm planning to buy used or get a cheap one with my discount. We looked at a few, discussed some features, and I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted. 

Around 5, my mother called. 

"Your dad wants to know if you want WordPerfect on your laptop."
"I don't own a laptop."
"Yes, you do."

Guess that problem is solved. It actually turned out that the one they gave him was not the one advertised, so he drove all the way back into town to get the right one. 

My parents are pretty thoroughly awesome. 

That was dumb of me

I should not have promised my son he could help me put the desk together.

It's a lovely desk, has a 4.5 star rating on customer reviews, and it's on sale for $80. But I am guessing the people reviewing it did not have a five year old assistant.

He helpfully used the screwdriver all over it, resulting in many scratches on the pristine surfaces.

He helpfully threw the bag of hardware in a fit of frustration.

He helpfully twisted a piece I was very carefully inserting, resulting in the pre-drilled holes shredding out because it's an $80 desk, so of course it is made of MDF.

Fortunately, with my construction experience and a basement full of tools, it is structurally sound, but it isn't as lovely. I hid my repairs as best I could.

Oh well, who is going to see it besides us anyway? He's rather proud of himself. That means more than a mildly ugly desk that wobbles a bit more than it should.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Shredding

It is muggy here today, and I am some gross right now because I'm reorganizing the master bedroom again. My shower tonight will be very well earned.

Tomorrow, my son and I are going to go get my new desk. It's on 50% off and I get a further 15% student discount. 

Pricing out the cost of used versions of my books, I will be able to keep it under $200 for the books themselves, except for the one I have to purchase new as this will be their first year using it and it is a recent publication. I should have a couple hundred dollars of my loan after the first month of daycare is paid for, which means I can afford a used-but-fairly-recent laptop, and possibly a used secondary monitor. 

It's coming together. I made a rather nice area out of my 'office' corner, and I'm looking forward to using it. The room does look a little empty right now, though, with my chair sitting there, forlorn and depressing. I'm sure that chair and my backside will be well acquainted before long. 

I promised my son he could help me out the new desk together. We'll see how that turns out tomorrow. 

Plan is to also get a paper shredder. I have years and years of bills nicely organized (by which I mean 20% are filed, 80% are thrown in a large box) and they really do need to be disposed of. 


"Marrying down"

On a premed forum recently, the question of what career would people like their future spouse to have came up.

Many people - some med students, some premeds - stated they would want their spouse to be 'equal' in their career, a few stated that they would want their spouse to be a doctor as well.

I've often found it a bit odd that people feel that way. Around half of female doctors marry other doctors, so it's not an altogether uncommon sentiment. But it does confuse me a bit.

People say that only another doctor will 'get it' when it comes to overnight call, or being stuck at the hospital on an interesting case, missing birthdays and anniversaries because your patients need you. I don't see why any other person couldn't be understanding of these things. A doctor's career is hardly the only demanding one out there. Military members and their spouses deal with far greater stresses and do not marry within their group to the same degree as doctors do.

Going into this, my husband knows that we are looking at a decade of me being stressed out, and a lifetime of irregular schedules. Even if I do family med, odds are I will still work in the ER as well. Many family doctors here do.

Because of how we have always worked shift work, and opposite schedules, and currently deal with my husband being away for up to two months at a time with barely any time home, we know our marriage can handle the stress. We are committed to one another, and we have so much in common between our personalities and interests that I don't need my husband to share my career for him to understand me. He doesn't quite get why I am so passionate about pursuing medicine, or why I am quite career focused - he's a 'work to live, don't live to work' kind of person - but he loves that I am this way. He may not get it, but he supports it.

I think compatibility in partners needs to go far beyond their educational level and career prospects. Strictly speaking, I 'married down' as my husband is a high school dropout and grew up in a very poor family. I grew up upper-middle, completed high school and am on to university this fall.

But, to me, that doesn't matter. What matters is that we make each other laugh, we support one another in our goals, even if we don't quite get them. We work together to benefit the family we created, utilizing our skills in the best way possible to advance our shared interests. We curl up together on the couch to make stupid comments throughout stupider movies, and when those silent moments descend, we can simply lay there and enjoy each others' company.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Poor Kid

My son still has something going on, so we're seeing our family doctor today.

We've only had a family doctor for less than two years out of the last five, so I still really enjoy being able to make an appointment and not needing to wait around for 2-4 hours for a walk in doctor. In the last decade, I've had four family doctors, with a total of just over three years where I've been under the care of a family doctor.

It's given me a lot of perspective about how much a patient can be disenfranchised from our health system when care is limited to episodic visits for acute issues. Just getting a refill for my asthma meds typically takes most of a day, and I usually had to book time off work to do it because I couldn't know until day-of how busy the clinic would be, if the morning clinic would be full before I got there making me wait until the late afternoon, etc. Follow up was nearly impossible for longer issues. Referrals frequently didn't go through, and addressing multiple issues in one appointment was never allowed which meant even more time off of work and more time waiting.

If there was a possibility of multiple disparate issues being linked by a common cause, the lack of continuity of care meant those connections would never be found.

I had to learn as much as I could about my own health because I had to be able to suggest those connections. Like the mould in my son's room causing his repeated pneumonia episode. Or the fact that my asthma, hypermobility, multiple miscarriages, and poor teeth have a common cause (a collagen defect.)

Not having a family doctor is a big deal. While I can still access health care when sick or injured, no matter how much money I have, which is something I am very proud about with our health care system, the quality and continuity of care is significantly decreased by not having a family doctor.

That's why I want to go into family medicine. I know, I know, people say that everyone changes their mind about what to pursue in med school, but I really do like everything, and have a passion for ensuring the continuity of care of people. Having personally experienced its value, and seen what a difference it makes, I really do think I will end up in family medicine. No one ties together a person's health care experience like their family doctor, and I believe they are so very essential.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Days to Go

Not very long left, so I'm plotting out my book purchases.

The ones I own and have read are second hand international editions, which is why they were so cheap. From speaking to upper year students, I have learned many profs assign questions out of the book by number. International editions regularly have the numbers (or question styles) changed around quite a bit, so to optimize my grades, buying Canadian editions is best.

I knew this was a possibility when I bought them, so it's hardly the end of the world, but I am a bit miffed. For brand new IEs of all my books, I would spend less than $350 including shipping. For new Canadian editions, close to $900, pre-tax and without solutions manuals.

Kind of sucks.

So far I've found all but one of my books used for under $60. One class (Spanish) is using an entirely new book this year, so I will have to purchase that new anyway (at around $160. Ouch.)

But not only do I have to buy the books, no I need the solutions manuals, which run about $60 (used) each, and I need one for four of my classes. Plus, buying used books, I'll need to buy access codes to online content (again, for four of my classes) which are $50+ each. All told, buying USED books, I'm still going to spend $900.

This is insane.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Lofty Goals

Capes were not enough. This morning, I am making little tiny helmets with lightning bolts.

It's too hot to do anything, so crocheting is probably my best bet for today anyway.

My son's Angry Birds are developing quite the wardrobe.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Method to the Madness

Tuesdays and Thursdays, I only have two classes and no labs. Each morning, my kids will be at school/daycare for an hour to an hour and a half before classes start for me, and they go to bed at eight, me at eleven.

This leaves me quite a bit of potential study time, nicely distributed throughout the week. I have about fourteen hours I can spend in the library weekly as well as twenty or so at home, assuming I accomplish all housework while they are awake (a habit I have already shifted to.) This is not as much free time as the traditional undergrad, but it is still quite a bit.

I read very quickly, and have a rather high degree of recall which makes studying something a great deal faster for me than most people. At first I will use every spare moment - and may occasionally have books at the supper table - until I have found my rhythm, but I do think I will settle into being comfortable with less time than I have scheduled for studying.

My initial study plan is thusly:
- Read all books before class begins, work on practice problems as time allows (done/doing)
- Reread books during the semester, at least a chapter ahead of assigned readings.
- Take copious notes in shorthand, type up at end of each day to further retention.
- Assignments are to be completed as soon as possible upon being set, an outline at the very least must be done the day it is assigned.
- Review reading/class notes for that day's classes during morning study time
- Flash cards for any memorization necessary
- Sit at the front of each class.
- Dress nicely. This is your job now, dammit. Treat it like one.

This will all, obviously, be modified as I find what works best for me, but I do think it's a good system to begin with.

A cape is, of course, essential

My son is obsessed with Angry Birds, and now Angry Birds Space. He has around a dozen of the stuffed toys, including pigs, and he builds very complex levels with blocks, then knocks them down and rebuilds.

This morning, he decided it was absolutely essential that his birds have capes.

Having just cleaned out the dressers of outgrown clothing yesterday, I conveniently had a bag with a bunch of t-shirts sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be loaded into the car to go to Value Village.

A bit of cutting and stitching later, he now has all his birds outfitted with little red capes.

I'm pretty awesome with a needle and thread, if I do say so myself, though obviously my sewing machine is better for larger projects. Maybe I'll enjoy suturing as well, though I can't help but wonder if tissues are easier or harder to sew than fabric.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Can't read alone, apparently

I was reading earlier and my son was curious what I was reading, so I showed him.

He managed to sound out the word 'dehydration' and so I explained what it meant, and the parts of the word (de, taken away, hydra, referring to water, -tion, an action or process) and he figured out on his own that 'dehydratED' was the result of something experiencing dehydration.

He's been reading since he was a toddler, but it's always really fun to see how well he's able to grasp concepts on his own.

Well, at least he tried

My son has been having a very rough few days behaviourally, and the night before last a potential cause for some of his grumpiness became apparent.

So off we went to the clinic yesterday as our family doctor - who is lovely and can often see people same-day - was out of the office for the day.

We had about two hours to wait, but this clinic gives you an approximate time so you can leave then come back. We went for a long walk and came back with still a bit of time to wait, but both kids were very well behaved. My son was being cute and making people laugh with his (for once, non-disruptive) antics, then he decided to try out his relatively newly minted conversational skills.

Thing is, he isn't very aware of societal norms. Most kids his age have some gaffes now and then, anyway, so at least it is rather easily excusable at his age.

He sat down beside a very friendly-looking woman and said, in that little boy voice that carries over the loudest crowds, "I'm here because my bottom half is broken and it hurts when I pee!"

Dead silence for a moment, then the room as a whole burst into guffaws.

I'm putting that one down, so I can remind him when he's 20.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Things changed

Things changed, I'm back online at least in a limited way for a couple of weeks.

Countdown to school: 32 days.
Countdown to my son's vacation: 12 days.

I'm very excited for him, he's going to have an absolute blast spending most of a week without me. We've been butting heads a lot lately - the result of him being home for the summer, I suppose - and I think a break from each other will be good for both of us.

Stuff seems to be stabilizing a bit with my husband's work situation, but I'm trying not to get too hopeful because, clearly, that changes with little notice. Options are being explored, though.

My school does a variety of events for New Student Orientation week. It begins September 1st, and while some of the stuff is absolutely unappealing (eg. Late night party at the campus bar) I do plan to participate in many activities. It should be fun, and I'll at last get to meet many of the students I've been chatting with on the Facebook group for new students.

Still can barely believe I'm less than five weeks from the beginning of school. I've waited so, so very long for this and it is finally being realized. My notebooks are prepared and everything is organized. I don't have a backpack or a laptop yet, and I still need a desk, but because school supplies have already gone on sale for ridiculously low prices, I'm set for everything else.

Let's get this party started, shall we?