How to Study

  1. Its Saturday, which we all know means “uninterrupted day of studying.” You wake up later than you mean to, because you either a) were a gunner and stayed up late on Friday night studying or b) took a mental health evening and stayed up watching Disney movies until 2 AM.  Better make yourself a big cup of coffee to wake yourself up and a good breakfast to fuel your studying.                                                                 anna
  2. Oops! You get distracted watching Saturday morning cartoons while you eat breakfast and an hour goes by. Oh well, better get your notes out and start some intense studying.  But your desk is trashed from constant work during the week.  Honestly, it would be difficult to study under these conditions, so you HAVE to take twenty minutes to tidy up your desk.    cleaning
  3. In the course of cleaning your study area, you trip over the dirty clothes that cover your floor.  That’s a safety hazard–you could have seriously hurt yourself!  It would be irresponsible of you not to pick them up and wash them.  It will only take a few minutes to throw them into the washer.                                        GIF-Doing-laundry
  4. Now that the clothes are in the dryer, you could start studying, but you only have an hour before you have to interrupt your studying again to get the clothes out of the dryer. Besides, you noticed that your shower was getting a little gross.  How could you possibly focus with a dirty shower?                                                         brock
  5. Now that you think about it, the kitchen is still unkempt from breakfast.  And how long has it been since you cleaned your stove top?  That’s unsanitary. Better take care of that quickly.     colbert
  6. Clothes are out of the dryer!  Might as well save yourself some time and fold them now.  And look, you can watch Modern Family reruns while you do!                                                                                                                                       laundry
  7. Now its lunchtime and you’ve worked up an appetite with all that hard work.  You could make a sandwich to eat while you start studying, but you’ve got some hamburger meat that will go bad soon if you don’t use it.  It won’t take that much more time to whip up some lasagna.                                                                           pooh
  8. And the kitchen is messy again.                                                           snowwhite
  9. No more nonsense!  You’ve wasted the morning and now it is time to buckle down.  You get out your computer to access study materials, but while you are there you might as well check your emails.  Also, you should check facebook.  Hey–I know what you are thinking, but this isn’t irresponsible!  Checking the class facebook page could alert you of important things that you need to know about!  But somehow you fall down an internet spiral and end up looking through entire albums of your friends’ pictures.  When did she cut her hair?  Also, everyone you know is having babies–is something wrong with you?                                                                                                                                                       mylife
  10. Ok, pull it together!  You are smart and funny and in medical school–unless you fail out of school because you never got around to studying.  Focus!                          pro1
  11. Hungry again.                                                                                                                                                                                                     food
  12. This is the worst—you’ve been studying for two hours and you’ve barely gotten through two lectures worth of material.  Nothing is sticking.  Better make some coffee so that you can focus.                                              adventuretime
  13. Study break!  But no facebook–you know what happened last time.  Just pop over to youtube for a few minutes and watch a funny video.                                                                                                                                                                   break
  14. 30 minutes of youtube later, you are hungry again because you watched a video listing the thirty best donut flavors.  You are starved, but you don’t want lasagna.  You look in your pantry and realize you have no study food–no wonder you couldn’t focus!  Who could possibly review biochemistry without M&M’s and potato chips?  Better make a snack run.                                                                                              snacks
  15. An hour and $50 later, you are back at home with unhealthy food stuffs, ready to study.  You are going to be so productive, except you started eating Cheetos and get orange stuff all over your fingers.  You don’t want to make a mess, and you don’t want to constantly wash your hands every time you need turn a page, so you wait to start studying until you finish the bag.                                                          cheetos
  16. And now that you have eaten something salty, you want something sweet.  Where did you put those cookies?                                            cookie
  17. No more distractions!  You sit down, blast the study music, and focus on your notes.  Its slow going at first, but the next thing you know you look up at the clock and its midnight and you’ve looked over most of the material you meant to cover today. Good for you!  You are crushing the medical school thing.                                                                                                studying
  18. Time for bed–you want to make sure to get a good night’s sleep so you can do this all again tomorrow!

Nothing New

If you have talked to me in the months since I started medical school, you may have noticed a trend in our conversations.  Namely, that I am a boring conversationalist.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you–I do! Please, tell me about the strange, outside world where  people don’t study 12 hours a day.  What’s it like to actually see your friends, instead of stalking them occasionally on Facebook?  And if you could just tell me about the last book you read?  Because I miss reading for fun more than anything.  Tell me about your non-medical-school-life, because to me it’s like a fantasy world I want to visit for awhile.


But with me, there’s nothing new.  At the beginning, there were so many unique experiences to describe.  Not wall I do is study and go to class.  To me, it’s a new thing every day.  I’m learning new subjects and it is exciting (and exhausting), but describing studying to someone over the phone? Not as interesting as you might think.  Ok, it’s exactly as boring as you might think.  But nothing else is going on in my life.  Sometimes I study at a coffee shop in town.  Sometimes I have dinner with friends.  Sometimes I rent a movie.  That’s about the extent of the variation in my life right now.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my mom on the phone.  It was Saturday night and she said, “Where are you? I hope I didn’t interrupt your plans.”  I told her not to worry about it, that I had been at school studying, and that I was just heading home for dinner.  She sounded surprised, and asked if I had a test on Monday because I was at school on a Saturday.  Which was funny to me, because I can count on one hand the number of Saturdays that I haven’t been at school studying.

In my mother’s defense, my parents and I have this adorable thing going on where we talk Sundays while I am putting away my groceries.  It’s cute, because they are usually doing the same thing (I am basically my mother–I even adopted her habit of shopping after church on Sunday).  I tell them about my week and usually mention that I will be going to study after I get off the phone.  But I don’t give a detailed list of all the times that I am studying, doing curricular activities, or attending other school related activities because YAWN.  Who wants to hear that?  Not everyone wants to hear the intricacies of my habitual Saturday afternoon study schedule. And it will probably just make you sad to listen to how excited I get about the weekend (spoiler–it’s so I can catch up on my classes).


 I am not saying that I never take breaks, or do fun things.  But even those are boring.  Naps are my favorite things now.  I watch television.  Sometimes I go over to my friend Stephanie’s place and watch her toddler run around in circles (that’s better than TV).  And I stay indoors all the time, because it is freezing now in Missouri.   And even if I told you all these things, it still takes all of five minutes to describe in a conversation.

So I’m not trying to avoid you or blow you off.  There really is just nothing new going on in my life.   Which is half the problem of writing a blog about medical school.  I’ve started to run out of topics.  Medical school is hard (check). I’m busy all the time (check).  Getting all A’s isn’t important or feasible (check).   I’m running out of interesting things to say!  If this “nothing new” phenomenon keeps up, I’m going to have to start making up things to keep you all entertained.

Taking this into consideration, the next blog post involves me heroically saving the life of a townsperson by performing emergency sacral osteopathic manipulation, and the introduction of a new character:  Stefan, my rich Italian lover who has returned from abroad on a secret mission from the government.  How will I respond in an emergency situation? What is Stefan doing in Kirksville (and why have you never heard of him before)?  The answer to these questions and more are on the next episode of:  Emma in Med School!

Medical School Guilt

The other day a classmate asked if medical school what what I thought it would be.  We talked about how it is both harder than we thought and easier than we thought (its like a torrential downpour of information that is manageable until the weekend before a test, at which point your life becomes incredibly stressful).  But the conversation got me thinking about what it is about medical school that surprised me.

The one, big thing that I didn’t expect about medical school is that I have a constant, low level of guilt. Lets call it “med-school guilt”.  Its the guilt you get when you put something off because you have something to do for school.  Or the guilt you get when you put off school to do something else.

There’s so much material that I could be studying; therefore, anytime I take a break I feel guilty.  Not enough to go back to studying, but still–Do I really need to watch another episode of Criminal Minds?  Or better yet, do I have the time to watch the marathon of “The Lord of the Rings”?  No, I probably don’t have the time, but I will do it anyway.


Then, because all the rest of my time is spent with school activities, I let other things in my life slide.  For instance, I rarely talk to friends and family anymore.  I don’t realize how much time has passed until I call someone and have to think back to tell them what has happened in my life since then (spoiler alert, the answer is studying).

I also feel guilty about the messiness of my apartment.  During the week, I’m lucky if I wash most of the dishes, let alone pick up the floor or do any laundry.  I can’t really take the time to clean when I have quizzes, practicals, and labs to study for, but its embarrassing to  be as old as I am and find myself making pathways to the bed, fridge, and door instead of picking up my dirty clothes.

And then of course there is the whole “going to church and managing my eternal soul” deal.  Last Sunday the topic du jour was pursuing your relationship with God outside of Sunday Sermons and I was like:


Because I don’t know the last time I opened my bible outside of church.  So I promised that I would do a devotional in the morning (or something) but then I blinked and it was Saturday and that did not happen.

And to clarify, I’m not depressed about this, sitting around feeling bad about all the times I should have been studying (I don’t want you guys to worry about me!).  You cannot study all the time.  Eventually you hit a wall.   Usually if I feel guilty I just eat a cookie or watch a funny youtube video and the feeling goes away.

The guilt is just a weird phenomenon that I have noticed and think is pretty funny.  I guess its just that–at this point in my life–I have to sacrifice a lot of things in order to do well in school and I’m not used to that.  Maybe this is just part of the transition phase where I get used to the weirdness that is Medical School.  Maybe soon I will become Superwoman, able to balance all aspects of my life perfectly (I laughed so hard I snorted as I typed that).

But if you too are in a point of your life where things are falling to the wayside, and you feel guilty, take it from me:  you should take a few moments out of your day to do something that makes you laugh!  I suggest watching the Jimmy Kimmel “celebrities read mean tweets” series–watching celebrities read mean things about themselves makes my black little heart giggle.

Anyway , thanks for reading guys.  Today’s blog post was a bit whiney, but in my defense, I feel a bit whiney about all the work I have to do sometimes.  What can I say?  I’ve got a bunch of first world problems (“Oh no, I have to learn a lot in order to get my dream job!”).  Next time I promise I will be less annoying 🙂