Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Wrap

Well, first semester classes are done. I had my anatomy lab final yesterday.

It's now officially exam season, and my review ramps up as of today. I have physiology on Wednesday, anatomy on Thursday, and immunology on the 11th.

I'm not entirely sure what day I'm going to go full time at work. I'm taking a few days off but am still planning to have at least one full week. As it is, I owe my boss a few hours due to a sick day, so one of the full time days is already gone because I owe it.

Since I work 19h a week right now, the fact that I can only work an extra 18.5 maximum means I won't get a huge amount of extra hours this month. Especially with my exams going so late.

It works out that I'll have work an extra 35.5 hours this month, but I won't get paid for them until sometime in March, probably. It takes months to get paid for extra hours, which is why I typically just 'bank' them to take as time in lieu of. Strictly speaking, I'm not really eligible for that, but pretty much every student does it, and it means less paperwork for everyone, so it's tolerated.

That said, the extra pay should come in right around the time I need it for airfare, which is good. My student loan for this semester will be about $1600 less than it was last year (thanks to my scholarship. Awarded $2000, lost 1600 interest-free provincial loan dollars) so I'll only get enough to pay daycare for part of the semester, not enough to help with my travel costs.

Affording interviews will be a squeeze, but since I at least have the clothing part taken care of, I just have to buy airfare, and pay for food while I'm where I need to be. Having friends all over Ontario is helpful.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mist and Shadow

I'm watching Return of the King (extended edition, naturally) right now, because I'm on an LOTR kick ahead of next month's final Hobbit film. I just finished a course, so I'm allowing a movie before I do any more work.

I have now finished two courses, squeaking into a 90 in both. When I say I didn't really study this year, I meant it. And by "squeaking into a 90" I mean I actually got 89.5 but our marks round up on our transcripts.

See what I mean about being lazy this semester?

At the moment, I am procrastinating from my final two assignments (one of which is for bonus marks), both of which are almost done and aren't due until Wednesday. My kids were kind enough to share their most recent cold with me, so I feel like crap at the moment, though my morning swim did really help.

Tomorrow, I get to go hand out flyers for the blood clinic on campus during exams. Fortunately, pre-meds are an eager group, so I have others who will help. While it's not a huge campus, there are multiple major inlets of students in the morning.

It doesn't really feel like this is my last week of class. I've been reviewing a little for my exams, but since I only have three, it's not as much as I would typically be studying.

It's only around two months until Ontario invites come out, but December and January usually go very, very fast because it's a transitional period, so it will be interview invite time quite soon. I'm starting to get a little antsy about Ontario interviews. I have a feeling they'll be less relaxed than MUN's was. Many (not all, not even the majority!) of the Ontario applicants I've met are... rather cutthroat. The stereotypical I'll-get-into-med-school-no-matter-how-many-bodies-I-have-to-crawl-over sort. These people terrify me. They're the ones who give me the side eye. The "You don't belong" look.

I don't like those people, but I have a feeling I'm going to meet more of them at the Ontario interviews than I did at MUN. MUN's interview was mostly Newfoundlanders, and the reputation for exceptional kindness is very well-deserved so I felt quite at home. While I had many good years in Ontario, I left it for a reason and I'm not terribly eager to go back if I have any other options.

Time will tell, though. Have to finish my assignments and then curl up with some popcorn and Middle Earth.

Saturday, 22 November 2014


My husband and I went out with friends (we have friends to do this with now!) to see Mockingjay Part 1 last night. It was really enjoyable, and I love having friends who are movie buffs like me.

Right now, I'm knees deep in exam review. Since I really only have the one class that I can/must attend, I suddenly have a lot of free time. My last Sociology test is on Monday and it's only on two chapters. I've gotta say, an 80 MC test is really not fun for a topic like sociology which does involve interpretation. I can usually tell what he wants as the answer, but I disagree with it. That's REALLY annoying and really mutes any ability to learn from the content. I won't be taking the second part of the course.

Religious Studies finished two weeks ago, so I don't even have to think about that.

I have an assignment due on Wednesday in immunology, and my bonus question response for physiology. Basically, our prof gave us 3 cases and we have to do a brief write up on the physiology of the cases. It's CBL, essentially, and it's something I love to do.

She gave us our exam essay prompts already, which I think is awesome. We'll have 4 on the final (chosen from the 7 she gave us) and have to write three essays. There will only be like 10 or so MC questions.

Anatomy, I'm not really worried about. I haven't attended class in weeks (partly because I can't - there's only seats for half the class in the new room!) but he posts mostly complete questions online, and it's anatomy... it's something I can learn on my own.

Realistically, I'm expecting my average for this semester to come in around 90-92 at the most. Really good by most standards, but kind of "meh" for me. I have been lazy, and I admit that, but I also really needed it. This semester has been extremely emotionally taxing and after the past few absolutely insane years I have had, the ability to slack off without completely sacrificing my grades has been a sanity-saver. I have needed this more than I can describe.

Especially with next semester looming on the horizon like a dark, terrifying cloud of effort that I will need to expend. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Long Days

It's been rather cold late and for whatever reason, I am exhausted. The season changes usually take it out of me and that seems to be the case. 

My first exam is two weeks from today. The next is two weeks from tomorrow. My phys prof is giving us our essay questions ahead of time so we can prepare our responses. Those are due to go up tonight.

My final immunology assignment is due next week, as is my bonus question for phys. I haven't attended anatomy in almost two weeks. There was a problem with the room that the class was in so the class as moved and, unfortunately, there is only around half as many seats in the new room. I don't really bother going. 

The last immunology lecture was today, so I don't have an 8:30 class for the rest of the semester, conveniently. Since I'm not really attending my 9:30 class either, I have plenty of time to study. The only class I'm really attending is the one at noon. 

I have been REALLY lazy this semester because I can. I'm coasting by, barely studying, and still getting roughly the grades I want. I'm satisfied with low nineties now, I refuse to kill myself trying to get high 90s in everything - the return on that effort invested just isn't worth it. Low 90s, a few high 80s, that's good enough and I will do just fine, I know that now. My application is plenty competitive, I don't need a 4.0. 

It's taken until this year to really accept that, but I also have the advantage of having two years with a fantastic GPA under my belt already so I'm sitting pretty, for the most part. I would have to really, really screw up at this point to completely ruin my chances, and that's not really likely. I can still pull off an 87 in a course without studying. I don't think there's much danger of my suddenly getting 50s or something. 

The course I am likely to do worst in this semester is immunology. He has extremely high expectations and basically expects us to quote the notes on the exam. This is typical of this professor, and I know that going into it. I'm going to basically have to memorize my notes, but I fortunately have about three weeks to do that. 

My sociology course finishes on Monday, and my religious studies course is already done (haven't gotten my grades back yet though.) I only have anatomy, physiology, and immunology to worry about, exam-wise. 

As for tonight, I am going to go to sleep. I'm cold, and tired. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Interview and Flying home

The TaMMI was fun. I did my stations first and then the traditional. Kylie kindly picked me up this morning so I was there with plenty of time. I got to meet Melissa and Kathatine, whose blog you can find linked on the side. Everyone was super nice and very tolerant of my nervousness. 

Obviously I can't talk about interview content, but I think I gave a good impression of myself. I can see areas where I could have improved, which I'll keep in mind for any future interviews. As for MUN, my fate is now sealed. It's all in the adcom's hands now. 

I'm on my flight back to Halifax right now. I'm writing this in offline mode and will post when I get in. I've met a number of other applicants, all of whom seem quite capable and confident. I can see why it takes the adcoms so long to decide - everyone I've met will make a fantastic doctor.

At the airport gate, I encountered a young woman who is interviewing in Halifax tomorrow for her pharmacy residency. Very articulate and passionate person who certainly has a great head on her shoulders and I really hope she gets one of the positions she's interviewing for. The world needs more good pharmacists who know what the hell they are talking about. 

It has been a very pleasant experience and I am glad to have finally had the opportunity to see MUN in person, however briefly. 

I am exhausted and plan to fall asleep as soon as my husband picks me up at the airport (but I'm taking a minute to post this first.)


I think it went fairly well, but I have no idea how my interviewers felt. 

It was nice to meet Kylie and Katharine and Melissa, and get to know several of my other potential future colleagues. Everyone I met was really nice and the experience was quite enjoyable. 

Most of my MMI stations were really topical - things I had recently discussed with people, or experiences I've had, though obviously I can't get any more specific! I'm currently sitting downtown at second cup and trying to decide where to go for lunch. Yellowbelly was recommended so that I can have some pub food, so I think I'll head over there momentarily. 

I just had a celebratory cupcake, and I plan to do nothing productive for the rest of the day. 


Friday, 14 November 2014

Steep City

Charlottetown is sloped towards the water. The whole city goes down. 

This city is not just sloped, it is steep. You have to lean back while walking. 

I've been walking around downtown for a bit. Currently at the Gypsy Tea Room on Kylie's recommendation for some lunch. I was able to check in early to my B&B so my luggage is safely stowed and my suit is hanging so the wrinkles start working out of it. 

I saw a whole cluster of applicants hanging out just off the ramp when I got off the plane. They were talking about the interviews. I thought of saying hi, but I really just wanted to enjoy my alone time for a bit. 

As expected, it is damp and chilly here. This is apparently pretty common. 

Overall, the vibe of the city so far reminds me of Charlottetown. It's bigger, but seems to have a similar character. The houses with the brightly painted wooden shake look the same as the ones in Charlottetown, the sea air smells the same. There are more hills here, but my home is rather flat compared to most places east of Saskatchewan so that isn't tarribly surprising. 

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. For today, I'll just be one more anonymous tourist wandering around with a stupidly pleased smile on my face. 

On the wing

And by that I mean literally. I'm on the plane that will take me to St John's. My parents were kind enough to pay for a hotel room for us for last night so I am well rested and nice and happy. There are a whole bunch of young people with backpacks on this flight - I've seen at least 10 - so I know there are several other applicants flying with me. 

It is starting to snow as the plane fills up. Soft flakes drifting down and settling on the wings. 

We're about to lift off. On to destiny!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

On the road again

My wonderful husband is in the driver's seat and we're on our way to NS. There is the potential of a snowstorm on the way so we are leaving tonight to ensure there is no way we'll get caught up in it. 

My parents kindly booked us a hotel for tonight so we'll be well rested and breakfasted before I get on the plane. I'm kind of sad my husband isn't coming with me, but it will be nice to just do my own thing for a couple days. 

The last time we did something like this alone was when I was pregnant with our daughter. We went to Moncton for a 3D ultrasound because they wouldn't tell you the sex of the baby here at that time (the policy has since changed. It was terribly paternalistic!)

I'm not sure whether to be terrified or excited. At the moment, I suppose it is a mixture of both. Two days from now, I'll be on the plane back and my fate for MUN will essentially be decided. This is my last chance to make the impression I want to make, and I need to make sure I do just that. 

Deep breaths. A third of us will receive first round offers. Another 30-40 will get waitlist offers. I don't have to be the best, I just have to be very good. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday SATURDAY!

My MUN interview is this Saturday. I am alternating between totally confident and so nervous I could be sick.

My husband is taking Friday off to drive me to Halifax.  He'll be staying overnight with my aunt and uncle so that we can drive home Saturday night. He has some stuff he can do in Hali and this really is a way for him to be part of the process since this is largely something I am doing independent of him. 

Kylie (M1 at MUN) has kindly offered to pick me up Saturday morning, and she'll be driving two others (including Della from Oh The Places You'll Go (as a med student)), so I get to arrive at my med school interview with med students - grinning like an idiot, I'm sure. Rub some of your success off on me, 'k?

This IS going to be a bit strange because there are going to be several people I'll be meeting who have read this blog, and as a result know a fair bit about me, but whom I have never actually met and haven't had the opportunity to get to know well. While I am by no means shy, I am not particularly outgoing, but if any of my fellow morning interviewees are reading this, feel free to come say hi.

I'd actually love to get a bunch of interviewees together for supper Friday night, as a way to meet our future colleagues, but there are only a few on PM101 and I think it might be odd to post there.

There are 256 people interviewing Saturday. There are 80 seats, and waitlist movement will be around 30-40, so in the vicinity of half of us interviewing on Saturday will eventually receive offers, and 1/3 of us will make up the class of 2019. 

This is going to be an interesting Saturday!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Knick Knack

If you have not seen The Knick, you need to. It's a fictionalized account of goings on at the Knickerbocker hospital in 1900 and it is AMAZING. 

This evening I went over to my parents' house to show my mother my outfit and get some feedback. She is loaning me a really nice watch to wear and a little portable steamer so I can take out any creases after my flight. Everything is all pretty much ready to go, I just need to get to Halifax on Friday morning and my husband is taking care of that part. 

I'm having a bit of a rough day and tomorrow will be a full day at work and I'm not quite sure if I'm up for it, but that's life. I really just want to curl up and do nothing for a couple of weeks, but that's not an option so I just have to carry on. Really need to make sure I take care of myself this week because I need my mind in top form and my mood light for Saturday. Only six days until the most important interview of my life. 

Must remember to email the rural medicine interest group. Since I'll be done by noon, I want to meet with someone from the group and the invitation card said that can be arranged. 

I am so excited I can't even explain it. 

Friday, 7 November 2014


For reasons that would not really be appropriate to post publicly, I am EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED with someone today and I am really looking forward to my swim today because it's a great way to exhaust myself. I have to cut my swim short, though, because I have a meeting at my son's school and have to be dry and dressed for then. 

I have my first final tomorrow (yes, Saturday) at 8:30am. It's only an hour and a half long - it's a final for my religious studies course. The third (and last) test for my sociology course is in two more weeks and then I'm done that one too. 

I only have a few more days of class after today. One of my classes for today was cancelled and the other I have to miss for the meeting, so I'm thinking of not bothering to attend anatomy. It's not like I get anything from the lectures that I don't get from studying my Atlas app. 

It's really amazing how fast this semester has gone. Next week, I have only one day of class (Monday off, Friday I'll be in NS then Newfoundland) and then two weeks of class after that, three exams, and then work full time for three weeks. After that, it'll be January, time for Ontario interview invites. 

Ten weeks until Mac invites might start coming out! It feels like I was just starting my apps yesterday, but here I am almost halfway through third year!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hello, my name is Kay, and I want to be a doctor.

So this is the suit that most people agreed was the most doctorly (it's not as tight around the boobs as this picture makes it look!)

I'll be wearing those shoes (black suede-ish) but a different top underneath - probably black and shiny. Still haven't bought it yet, though.

I figure that while this is just as formal as a black pantsuit, it will stand out, though not startlingly so.

Accessories-wise, I'm going to wear my white gold diamond ring (gift from the husband, it isn't my wedding band but I wear it on that finger,) my HOPE necklace and earrings from Kasia, and possibly a white gold diamond tennis bracelet if my mother will let me borrow hers. I've debated whether to wear pearls instead of the HOPE necklace, since they might add to the mature student look, which is what I want to emphasize.

I'm not entirely sure whether to wear my nose stud or not. I've had it since I was 17 and it isn't terribly noticeable, but I can see that some more conservative sorts might have issues with any facial piercings.

Overall, my preparations for my interview are wrapping up. I had a bad day mentally so I'm just trying to get my head back in the game so I can focus for my anatomy test tomorrow. I only got 90% on the last one so I don't want to repeat that.

Also, sometime today the blog hit 70,000 views. At this rate, it should hit 100,000 sometime just before acceptances come out. :)

Monday, 3 November 2014

That rain looks awfully white...

As I was heading to school this morning, it snowed. I am unimpressed. It's only November 3rd!

That said, I have only NINE days of class left this semester!

Because we have Monday off next week, I don't have class Tuesday/Thursday, and I'll be traveling next Friday, I actually only have nine class days left. My two online courses are almost done, and then I just have three exams to worry about.

My exams are December 3rd (human physiology), December 4th (human anatomy) and December 11th (imm.) Yup, I have a whole week to study for that one exam, which I will need because the professor's reputation as a stickler for detail is not exaggerated. He is nicer than some people have made him out to be, but he really does have exceptionally high standards.

To be honest, I've been somewhat lazy about studying this semester and haven't been obeying my usual rules. It's not that I'm unable to do so, but I planned this semester specifically so that I would have an easy one, and that's precisely what I'm doing - taking things easy. Not so easy that my marks will drop precipitously, but easy enough that I have no reason to stress out. After how the last couple of years have gone, I really needed this and I am feeling a whole lot better for it. This is my 'mental health' semester, which will be topped off by a week off during the holidays (unheard of for me!) for me to do whatever the hell I want before second semester hits me like the ton of bricks it will be.

Next semester, I'm going to be taking:
- Human physics
- Biomedical imaging
- Molecular Biotechnology
- Endocrinology
- Biochemistry

Three of those are fourth year courses. So, yeah, I'm expecting next semester to put me through the wringer, which is part of why I ensured this semester was nice and relaxed. I can't allow myself to end up burned out like I did last year right before med school starts. Undergrad is just the beginning of the marathon. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014


Thirteen days until my MUN interview. 

I've decided on a skirt suit. While I do wear sarongs and my flowy, ankle-length skirts in public, this will actually be my first time wearing a skirt this short in public ever (really.) However, it looks the most 'doctorly' according to the people I've asked so I'm going to wear it. The skirt is currently at the tailor's and I'll be picking it up this week sometime. 

It is a below knee-length pencil skirt and it is grey. I figure most people will be wearing black, and I want to stand out a little (not too much, though, since at 5'8", and wearing heels, I'll stand out already) so grey seemed a good choice. I'm going to wear it to work once I pick it up, just to get comfortable in the fit and wearing it around. Fortunately, a suit at work is entirely appropriate, as are jeans. I have mentioned before that I love my job, right?

My husband is taking the 14th off work and he's going to drive me to Halifax and stay overnight with my aunt and uncle in Dartmouth so that he can meet me at he airport Saturday night and we can just come straight home. 

I've rescheduled the test I was going to write on the 14th to the 13th, and I'll be doing the lab for that day on the following Wednesday. Everything is in order and ready for this. I just need to ensure I arrive feeling rested, confident, and happy. This is the school I most want to attend and they are granting me a huge honour just by interviewing me even though I won't have a degree. This is a big deal. It's not just a trial run for whatever other interviews I may get - it's the one I most want to succeed at.