Saturday, January 27, 2007

Et Tu, Drill?

It is really quite ironic that the instrument meant to help me achieve success in completing my various dental procedures, my high-speed drill, has so often done the exact opposite, abetting numerous failures over the past few weeks. I can't tell you how many times I've been close to finishing an assignment just to have my drill slightly slip or move sideways and, thus, in the span of less than a second, ruin my efforts.

Remember that we're talking in terms of millimeters for these assignments and that even a slight shift accounting for less than half of one millimeter can prove the difference between getting checked off and being asked to start from the beginning again. Experiencing this on a daily basis makes me realize again and again how precise an art dentistry really is (much to my chagrin), and that it is a profession that requires MUCH patience and dexterity (both of which I unfortunately lack).

On a happier note, I was able to complete an assignment that had been tormenting me for the better part of the past week or so, so it was certainly rewarding to have one of my faculty deem it worthy of a good mark. Too bad that this only happens about once for every ten tries...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And Life Goes On...

Well, another midterm has come and gone and (fortunately enough) I'm still in one piece. You might be wondering if the lovely picture above (a superb specimen of Staphylococcus aureus if I do say so myself!) could have some relation to said midterm? Well, you'd be right to think so (I know, I know, I'm so predictable).

Indeed, as I mentioned in a previous blog posting, I just experienced my first microbiology and immunology midterm which wasn't nearly as difficult as I had originally anticipated (thank God). And, yes, as much as I enjoyed memorizing every minutiae of a series of bacteria (again, note the heavy sarcasm here) as well as the fine details of the proper uses of sterilization and disinfection, I'm, shall we say, quite "content" to be done with it.

Now you know what that means, don't you? More fun times in lab practicing my "drilling" (I put that in quotations since I still consider my drilling to be pretty sub-par)!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Must Be Exam Season

Ah yes, if my posts are getting shorter and (much) less frequent it must mean that exam season is rapidly approaching (estimated start date: Monday, Jan. 22). What better way to kick off the festivities than with a microbiology and immunology midterm?

Follow that up with a few lab test cases (oh joy!) and a few random midterms thrown in here and there (oral radiology, PRDS, etc) and you've got yourself a scrumptious test schedule! Oh, and another sign that exam season is slowly setting in? Sarcasm. And LOTS of it...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Nothing beats the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you're at home in your old stomping grounds. Though it may not have been the best time to head back home (and only for two days, mind you) due to the already dizzying amount of work I have waiting for me back in SF, I can't help but breathe a sigh of relief at being able to distance myself from all of that hoopla and focus on just spending some quality time relaxing (while studiously reviewing my flash cards for my microbiology and immunology midterm next Monday).

Thank Goodness for Long Weekends...

As may seem implicit in the post's title, though it is a long weekend I won't exactly be having much fine as I'll be spending the majority of it in the lab practicing procedures like:

Ah yes, the dreaded amalgam preparations... where precise motions and a skilled application of the high speed drill (both of which I unfortunately lack) can be the difference between sweet, sweet success and horribly agonizing failure. Add to this a few more procedures, including slot preparations, waxing and acrylic temporaries, and you've got a full weekend's worth of fun, fun and MORE fun (note the sarcasm here)!

Oh well, I guess it's not all bad: I get to head home tomorrow in the early evening to take care of some INS-related business (let's just say that if I don't go I can kiss my U.S. citizenship application goodbye) and to see my parents before my life becomes fully engulfed with dental school. I can't believe it's only the end of the second week, and I really feel way in over my head.

I don't know who told me that winter quarter would be easier than fall quarter but, whoever it was, must've obviously been operating on a different plane of existence than me... that or must've been much more capable (a distinct possibility).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The More, the Merrier

In an effort to make your UCSF blog reading experience a more balanced and wholesome experience, I've taken the liberty of adding the links to the blogs of some of my esteemed UCSF colleagues who represent the different health disciplines of the school. Though I tend not to pick favorites (OK, a total lie), I highly recommend you visit the first blog I link to, "UCSF Synapse Med1", which offers a very entertaining and titillating recounting of a first-year medical student's experience (if you didn't already gather that from the name of the blog).

I've also added the link to the UCSF Synapse website, the website for the school's student-run newsweekly that I proudly consider myself a part of. Besides for reading fascinating articles about everything under the sun, including restaurant reviews, music/movie reviews and news about the school, you can also "enjoy" some of my latest pieces, mostly op-eds but also news stories and a few random reviews for good measure.

On a different note, I've updated my "bookshelf", having recently started reading Daniel Gilbert's excellent and thought-provoking book, Stumbling on Happiness, which will radically alter your perception of, no surprises here, happiness.

Good News Everyone!

Relatively speaking, of course: I have, in the last few days, started to receive a trickle of grades from the past quarter which, fortunately enough for me, all began with that magical letter "P" ("Pass" for those of you not in the know) though I'm still waiting for the biggest fry, my grade for BMS 116, aka the trifecta of terror made up of anatomy, histology and pathology (source of countless nightmare for me).

Another positive development has been the fact that I've (wait for it) actually been enjoying my didactic courses so far. I'm not sure if it's because of the topics addressed (microbiology, immunology, oral histology, etc), the caliber of the professors presenting the lectures or the organization of the material, but I can honestly say that my experience so far has been much more pleasant the past quarter's (though that's admittedly not saying much).

Now if only I could start enjoying preclinical lab... Curse those slot preparations!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Yes, I'm Still Here!

Though, unfortunately, from the look of things in preclinical laboratory this quarter, not for long. As you may have surmised from some of my past postings, I am no big fan of preclinical work (waxing almost proved to be my undoing in the fall) so you can imagine my (intense) displeasure upon learning that the number of exams (or, as they're known in dental lingo, "test cases") that we would be taking had tripled. Yup, that's right: instead of 2 we're now talking about a mind-boggling (well, for me at least) 6 exams!

Now some may say that this is perfectly reasonable: with more experience in preclinical lab comes more responsibilities and examinations, to which I would kindly reply, "Have YOU ever worked in the preclinical lab before?" It's not really the amount of work I mind (OK, maybe I do mind it just a little) so much as the sheer pain and stress it engenders, much more so compared to the didactic exams we have and will continue taking. And did I mention that we actually have HOMEWORK this quarter as well?

Good grief...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Guess Who's Back?

After an enjoyable (yet all too short) break, I've just started the winter quarter of my first year which should prove much more doable than the fall quarter (don't ask) if my sources are correct. Today was actually not too bad: three lectures covering oral histology, microbiology and immunology (though the former was really more of an introduction than an actual "lecture" per se).

My only complaint so far? The woeful disorganization inherent in the way lectures are scheduled/organized. Besides the fact that we had to wake up at the crack of dawn (OK, i'm exaggerating a little here) to attend our first class at 8, we then had to wait until 10 for the second class, which didn't actually take place because the professor apparently was out of town, something which wasn't communicated to us until one of my classmates called said professor's voice mail and learned it firsthand. That and the fact that we STILL haven't received all of our grades from the first quarter (a simple "P" or "NP" would suffice) is quite annoying and a matter that I'm better off not elaborating on since I feel quite strongly about it (I'm guessing you know how I feel about it based on my short diatribe).

Ugh. Well, here's hoping the rest of the week goes off without a hitch... fat chance, I know.