Not doing well. Don't know what to do about it.

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by pstrick, Oct 11, 2017.

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  1. pstrick

    pstrick 2+ Year Member

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    I'm about 2 months into first year and I'm doing poorly.
    Not in all my classes, but in the ones that matter.
    If something doesn't change, I'm not going to make it to next semester.


    There doesn't seem to be a higher order to either anatomy or biochem.

    My biggest problem is how pointless studying feels for anatomy and bio chem.
    I just can't study for a sustained period of time when learning one thing neither relates to nor helps me learn another.
    There's no Aha! moment when studying. There's nothing to understand or 'get'. You study the urea cycle for and hour, and the only reward is being more familiar with the urea cycle.

    ex: topoisomerase II in microbes is susceptible to water metal ion bridges when human topo II is not.
    Interesting, sure, but irrelevant to literally every other thing I've learned in bio chem.
    Rinse and repeat for the next 2 years?


    Is this how it's supposed to be? Is this why everyone says medical school sucks?
    This is the least academically rewarding experience I've ever had.
     
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  3. BorntobeDO?

    BorntobeDO? SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Things that are different in microbiomes and humans are always important. They end up as mechanism of actions of drugs very frequently. In fact there are classes of drugs that uses that specific mechanism: Topoisomerase inhibitor - Wikipedia. The issue is you don't know what is important yet.

    That said I agree that biochem and MGA are not academically rewarding tho. They were my worst classes as well my first semester. But they will come up again. Its amazing the amount of stuff from Biochem that I didn't get at the time, but has turned up later. MGA does a bad job distinguishing important from unimportant IMO, but lots of it comes up again.

    My suggestion, as always is pomodoro (sp?) method: 20 minutes on: 5 minute breaks. Especially for dense stuff you can't stand. Its solid, and it works. Also use leechblock for websites that distract you too much. Make a minimum of 3 passes thru the material, try not to get stuck when it doesn't make sense. Even if you don't get it the first pass or second, it will start coming together. First year I would shoot for 4 passes. Now I don't have to, cause of board supplement etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  4. Roxas

    Roxas Giggity! Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    It sucks but it gets better. Do you start systems next semester or not til M2?
     
  5. Betabet

    Betabet

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    I didn't feel like a medical student during first year at all. It's mostly just going through the motions. But when you get to systems, you're going to see how all of that "useless" information ties in together. It's extremely important to have that strong foundation. It makes understanding everything else MUCH easier later on.
     
  6. sb247

    sb247 wait...you mean I got in? 5+ Year Member

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    Galt's Gulch
    It matters because it gets you to next semester, that’s all the validation you get for some things. Keep your head down and keep grinding
     
  7. 68PGunner

    68PGunner 5+ Year Member

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    MGA and Biochemistry blow a$$. They literally throw all the crap you need to know for the first two years of medical school when it comes to Anatomy and Biochemistry at you. Don't worry. Just keep pushing forward and play the game. I didn't use this for Anatomy but I did use First Aid extensively to pick up higher yield Biochemistry and Immune before each exam.

    As you move through the systems, it will come back again but everything will make 100x more sense by then. It's part of the suck.
     
  8. Wiggly Tuff Da Ruff

    Wiggly Tuff Da Ruff

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    I appreciate your reply and everyone else's reply on here. I'm not doing so hot either. Just hoping to pass atm.
     
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  9. AlbinoHawk DO

    AlbinoHawk DO Student Osteopath 2+ Year Member

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    A lot of that stuff sucks but it's the backbone that let's you as a physician know how to evaluate research when you read articles instead of being a protocol follower like a PA/NP.

    You need to power through many things in medical school that seem irrelevant and it isn't until you get to boards that it starts to get fun because you are able to put all systems together and the science relevant facts.

    Honestly, adapting to this endless studying and knowledge dumping is the most frustrating aspect of Med school, but that's how it is if you want to be a doctor.
     
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  10. atomheart

    atomheart

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    First semester is survival mode. You are quickly being fed pieces of a massive information dump and your brain is still adjusting to that.

    Get a higher order overview of the material and focus on organizing the information in your head. Then memorize as many details as possible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  11. Goro

    Goro 7+ Year Member

    Taking a wild guess, but maybe "topoisomerase II in microbes is susceptible to water metal ion bridges when human topo II is not." is important to understanding why some antibiotics work the way they do???

    It sounds like you're sabotaging yourself with an attitude of "this isn't relevant"...well, everything is relevant right now.

    Can't speak for biochem, but with Anatomy, what do those structures DO? It's not merely memorizing origins and inserions, but being able to apply.

    Read this:
    Goro's Guide to Success in Medical School (2017 edition)
     
  12. austintr

    austintr 5000 candles in the wind 2+ Year Member

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    I'm in your class, and it would probably be very easy for you to figure out who I am. I'm definitely not doing as well as the people in our class pulling A's, but I'm OK with that. Because I'm not in real danger of failing anything (yet) and I've failed one of the exams thus far. I don't have any real great advice for you that hasn't already been touched on here, mainly because I also get very frustrated with the fact that we're not learning real medicine yet. And the reality that >75% of how we're shaped to practice will take place in residency is also a bit frustrating. It's like medical school is just another (much higher placed) hoop to jump through. But if you ever need anything or want to study or have concepts to go over, like I said...it would be extremely easy for you to figure out who I am and just stop me in the hall/library/SEC or whatever and I would be happy to study with you. Things will get better. But they suck until then.
     
  13. Chibucks15

    Chibucks15

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    I'm in your class too. I've taken part in some of the talks by physicians, certain volunteering events, and other things going on around campus and it really helps to remind you why we're dealing with all this right now and whats at the end of the tunnel. Also I've found looking at research in JAMA or NEJM is super interesting now too because we actually know whats going on and why these projects are so important. Hell I just saw the discovery of new lymphatic drainage system in the brain right when were covering it. PM me if ya need any help @pstrick
     
  14. Atom612

    Atom612 5+ Year Member

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    I definitely get what you mean, at times it's hard to keep everything in perspective and know what will come in handy and what won't. Do your professors try to tie-in stuff clinically for you guys at least?

    For example, a complication of von gierke's disease is lactic acidosis. Lactate competes with urate (from purine catabolism) for the same organic anion transporter in the kidneys. Decreased urate clearance = hyperuricemia, so von gierke patients also have an increased risk for developing gout. Probably a zebra case and Idk if this is stuff better left for physio or path, but our professors include little tidbits like this in our lectures in an attempt to keep it more relevant in our minds.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017 at 8:46 AM
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  15. lnguyen1412

    lnguyen1412 2+ Year Member

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    I failed my second biochem exam and did not do so well in my first anatomy exam. It was super hard at first. But as I keep grinding and become familiar with the wording, vocabulary and have big picture of what going on in that block, and our school did a great job of connecting everything, I did above avg for the couple tests now.

    I think the key point is to be familiar with the material as much as possible. Going through power point once, and go home make your own note about it. Then, if possible and time allow, listen to the lecture on x2 speed. I'm super auditory learner. One more thing to point out is when you do relistening to lecture the second time, just focus on the lecture and do not try to take any note or do anything else. When I do that, I pick up more information and retain much better than just reading through power point. My grade went up significantly after I tried listen to all the lectures before the exam.

    I hope everything be fine with you. Keep grinding, you'll made it.
     
  16. Scrubs101

    Scrubs101

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    I'm a super "visualized" learner, for biochem I would just draw out pathways over and over. Draw them out, add in inhibitors/promoters, where diseases/defects can occur in the pathway, etc --> erase----> do it again. For anatomy going to open lab every day for an hour or two helped immensely, and getting a solid group of people to quiz eachother. Then for both once I had a solid grasp on the concept, I would do as many practice questions as I could get my hands on.

    Also now that we're in micro I have one thing to say, sketchy is god.
    Holy sh** it's like a visual learners wet dream, if i could sketchy every single class of med school I would happily.
     
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  17. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

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    As someone who is also an super visualized learner, this made me smile.
     
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  18. dushash

    dushash 2+ Year Member

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    here
    Lol, I thought so too, but it turns out 1st year was a light foreplay compared to 2nd. I really hope that rotations will be that long awaited "things will get better" haha
     
  19. Roxas

    Roxas Giggity! Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    As a third year who thought the first 2 years were hell on earth, I can confirm that it indeed does get better
     
  20. austintr

    austintr 5000 candles in the wind 2+ Year Member

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    My illusions regarding second year being awesome are non-existent. I fully expect it to suck. The material will be significantly more interesting to me, so that's a minor victory, at least. But I'm a clinical person, so I can say with nearly 100% certainty that medical school will redeem itself for me in the clinical half. Like many of us, I come to school with significant work experience providing direct patient care, and going back to biochem and anatomy is quite a shift from where my brain prefers to operate. Hopefully it gets better for you too.
     
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  21. Roxas

    Roxas Giggity! Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    How'd that test go yesterday @pstrick ?
     
  22. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

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    This is nice to hear, especially since I almost had an emotional breakdown yesterday.
     
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  23. 68PGunner

    68PGunner 5+ Year Member

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    How so? People tell me that third year is just more miserable.
     
  24. Psych_hopeful

    Psych_hopeful

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    I love this. Every time. Every single time. You may think whatever you are learning is useless and esoteric, but then somehow and in some WAY, it comes back. It could come back when you are seeing a patient, doing a board question or going to some Grand Rounds. But all the knowledge that is learned always, without fail, comes back in one form or another.
     
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  25. Roxas

    Roxas Giggity! Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    I guess it's possible, but depends largely on goals. My preclinical grades and comlex are meh, and I'm shooting for either Psych, FM, or IM. If I was gunning for something competitive the amount of time I'd need to put into studying for shelf exams to ensure honors and always impressing the pants of the attending might conceivably make it suck as bad as the first 2 years. In addition, there are times where you're put out of your comfort zone which is difficult. Standing and retracting for a 4 hour surgery sucks, but I'd take it any day over preclinical.

    Simply put, there's just more free time and far less stress. Only having 1 test a month is incredible, and they aren't hard to pass. I'm even at what is considered a tougher hospital as far as hours go, but I'd rather do 12 hours every day in the hospital than the misery that was studying for 1-2 tests a week. Seeing pts is cool. Most of the residents and attendings are awesome people. We laugh and shoot the **** a lot. I actually have stories to come home and tell my wife instead of droning on to her about my UW scores or whatever.
     
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  26. pstrick

    pstrick 2+ Year Member

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    It was my best bio chem test so far, but still below the class average.

    I'm probably not going to fail out, but I'm going to have to cross pediatric neurosurgeon and west coast dermatologist off of my list of attainable careers.
    That's something I can totally live with.
     
  27. Scrubs101

    Scrubs101

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    It ain't a week of medical school if I don't have at least 3 mental breakdowns a week :)

    In all seriousness I 100% get why my school stressed mental health so harshly at orientation now, shi* is so taxing on the brain
     
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  28. Atom612

    Atom612 5+ Year Member

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    Have a final exam (for the quarter) every day next week. I resonate strongly with this.
     
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  29. RamsFan&FutureDO

    RamsFan&FutureDO SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor

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  30. kovalchuk71

    kovalchuk71 SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 7+ Year Member

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    No way! Just start Bros/Zanki now. You got this!
     
  31. BorntobeDO?

    BorntobeDO? SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I almost agree with this satirical advice. They are so huge, and second year finds new way to steal your time.
     
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  32. Psych_hopeful

    Psych_hopeful

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    All about efficiency. In medicine, you learn things sooner and good things will happen. You learn things later and well, it sucks.
     
  33. license43

    license43

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    Well first of all I understand what your saying, sometimes we don't know why what we are studying is relevant...

    Having said that, those are things (minimal standards) that a medical student and physician really should ... Sure maybe the later no, you probably don't have to know the urea cycle and its several steps when your a family doctor... but dude you gotta know it now. Its on the boards which kinda determine if you'll become a practicing doctor and... you need it to pass your class exams. Sometimes while we hate certain stuff, we gotta do it and endure them.

    Just to give you an example, I really disliked Gross anatomy lab dude... I really DID, I hated my lab partners, they didn't do **** and just made fun of me when I tried to learn, but I didn't care, I fought through and got my hard earned B. I don't kare if others get A, they can suck it because at the end of the day what matters is whether you know the material and are passing.

    But dude, not trying to be mean, but you gotta at least pass those courses.... Biochem is kinda a foundation for what you see later on. If you don't get the stuff now... Its fair to assume things don't get easier....? Its not like all of a sudden biochem disappears. But dude, you need to get tutoring and pull those grades up asap.
     
  34. AlteredScale

    AlteredScale SDN Moderator 2+ Year Member

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    Doesn't sound like you have a clinically tie to make it feel relevant. Whether or not that is because of how your school is implementing your curriculum, you need to find a way to make things stick. For urea cycle, you should be studying with a goal in mind in terms of asking "if this enzyme was deficient, what would accumulate, what would go missing". You can make this easier by actually going through first aid in the urea cycle section, looking for the pertinent disease to that cycle, and memorizing. Then the urea cycle will be important because your future patient may have that.

    It's unfortunate that many of us get disenchanted when it comes to medical school since the first two years, especially the first really are so far removed from what you were expecting. But it all matters at the end of the day.

    That example about TopoII being susceptible to water metal ion bridges is ridiculous. The only reason that's being taught at a medical school level is because you have some PhD, MD/PhD who is obsessing over his/her/their research in some way and it's spilling into the teaching.

    You'll feel more rewarded when you start getting into pathology and pharmacology and clinical med courses. You'll survive. It's the last two years of formal class room stuff.
     
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