Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


The past few weeks

The past few weeks have been rough, but I’m grateful to have had the opportunity. I, along with 24 other students, participated in a premarticulation program. I consider it a mini-medical school boot camp. We were exposed to and tested on topics in gross anatomy, genetics and molecular medicine, physiology, histology and embryology.

The pace of the information was fast, which was expected. This helped me tweak my study techniques as much as possible before I start the real deal in another week. It is very true what I’ve heard many people say — you won’t be able to study like you did for an undergraduate degree and you won’t know what will work for you until you’re actually trying techniques out.

Here’s a quick summary of my thoughts and what I learned:

  • The goal is to find the most efficient and effective techniques that will help you learn the material quickly. These techniques will be different for each class and for each individual.
    • If you haven’t already, take a learning style quiz to see what techniques may help you. I am a kinesthetic and visual learner so I try to focus on answering questions, drawing diagrams and pictures and reading in an interactive way.
    • Ask fellow classmates or upperclassmen what they do or did to learn the material for a particular subject or class. Someone may have found a technique that works for them, which may help you.
  • Don’t expect to learn everything. Aim for the most important information.
    • I struggle with this one. A classmate offered to help me sift through the material to pick out the most important information, aka the high-yield facts and concepts we need to know. I may have to take her up on that!
    • The descriptor I’ve heard the most often is that the information is like a water hose. You can only take in so much. I think working in groups and asking myself, “What is the most important info?” will keep me on task.
  • Time management will be your friend!
    • It sucks, but it works. I have done this in the past and it’s helpful in squeezing in all the things you need to do.
    • I’m not very good at allowing myself to schedule personal things in there, like hobbies or relaxation. I am working on that.
    • Don’t get behind! When your time is up for a subject, put it aside. It will be too hard to catch up if you get behind. So, do a preview for each class and review after lecture in the allotted time you have.
    • “Weekends are for catching up.” That’s what the academic support director told us. If you didn’t finish reviewing some information during the week, set it aside and note that you’ll review it over the weekend.
  • Build your survival team, and don’t take them for granted. You will rely on your classmates, faculty, staff and family/friends.
    • A second year medical student shared similar advice during a student panel discussion. Take the idea seriously.
    • Studying in groups will help you keep up, will allow you to teach and quiz each other and will allow for some human contact. (Ha!) They know what you are going through and can relate to issues you may have.
    • Don’t take family or non-medical friends for granted. They will be there to give you a break from all things medical and will be there to lend emotional support.
  • Eat, sleep and exercise. You can’t live a healthy life or be productive without these 3 things.
  • It will be difficult, but you can and will do it.
    • Some good analogies the academic support director shared with me are a mother with a colicky baby or a newly-divorced mother with young kids. You may not like what you’re going through, but eventually you wake up one day and you realize, “I don’t like this, but I’m making it and I’m doing a darn good job of it.”
    • Don’t keep your struggles to yourself. Talk it out with fellow students, a mentor, an advisor or the school’s counselor. They know it’s tough and they’re there to help. Be honest with yourself and seek help when you need it.

Good luck and congratulations to all the incoming MS1s! It will be tough, but find time to enjoy yourself.

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Juggling schedules

Classes start next week, so Chris and I have been discussing how we’re going to manage the pup’s care. Specifically, making sure someone will be available to take her outside for a bathroom break and administer her meds during the day.

On some days, Chris could leave mid-morning, especially when he has evening meetings. He’ll be able to take her outside one more time and make sure she receives her midday pill before heading to the office. Within 5 or so hours, I should be back home and will be able to take care of any other needs.

But there are going to be days when Chris can’t arrange to leave later in the morning, and my schedule will not allow me to get home any earlier. So we’re looking for other alternatives. Back-up plans, if you will.

The in-laws have offered to swing by during the lunch hour or to watch Sidney during the day. For them to watch her, Chris will need to drop off and pick up Sidney from the in-laws’ house. It’s a little out of the way and will add to Chris’ hour, one-way commute. People do this daily for child care, so it can’t be that much of an issue, right?

The in-laws can’t, understandably, be available every day. When they can’t help, we may hire a pet sitter. Does anyone have any experience with those? We’re thinking, at most, we might need assistance 2-3 times a week.

I’m hoping in a few weeks my schedule will allow me to be home by early or mid-afternoon, which won’t be too long for Sidney to wait. Until then, we’re gonna have to make it through the next four weeks.


Settling in

We officially moved into our new home last weekend. I’ve been rearranging things, unpacking and generally settling into our new space. Chris didn’t begin his new job until Wednesday so he was around the first part of the week to help.

This weekend we’re adding shelves and a light to a basement closet, adding drainage pipes to our gutters, hanging pictures and setting out decorations. We hope to spend some time exploring more of our new neighborhood before another long work week begins Monday.

Things from this week:

  • We saw DeSales High School 2014 graduates walking down Kenwood Drive to Iroquois Park, presumably for their graduation. Many people cheered and honked car horns as police vehicles escorted the seniors across roads and side streets.
  • I’ve got my library card! The librarian, who registered me, is pretty darn cool. All the libraries in the city are linked so you can order a book and have it shipped to your home branch. Then you can drop the book off at any city library. No need to have it sent back to the branch you checked it out from.
  • Kentucky requires you to visit two different offices to get your driver’s license and tags. To receive the tags, the sheriff’s office has to inspect your car.
  • Like North Carolina, if you’re not registered with one of the two major political parties you don’t get to vote in primaries. I like Virginia’s system better. You get to vote in either primary no matter how you’re registered. That’s great for when the real race is the primary. Oftentimes the only contenders are from the same party.
  • In some large cities, residents and employees have to pay income taxes to the municipality.
  • Fences can be a source of tremendous stress. If people would be true to their word, life would be much more pleasant.

I start a summer program June 30. That’s six weeks to get into a routine here at home and to finish getting things organized and into place. Classes begin Aug. 4. I need to pick up some school supplies before then — a required iPad, a study table or desk, etc. The remaining tools will be bought during orientation the last week of July .


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Pjs, some hemming and a quick update

Hello! How’ve you been? Did you think I forgot about you? 🙂

I just finished a pair of pj shorts for Chris this afternoon. It felt great to finish a project and have something to show you.

I have much more of this fabric and plan to make me a pair of pj bottoms, too. That’s actually next on my list, as well as, a shirt for me.

I also sewed a button (for the second time) on a pair of shorts this afternoon. I’m not sure how the it fell off the first time, but I made sure to sew it on extra tight this time. I’m not sure how that man loses his buttons. 🙂

And, weeks after buying them, I finally got around to hemming two pairs of jeans for Chris. We bought them at Ross Dress for Less (my favorite store!) for about 20 bucks or so. Usually we have a hard time locating some good prices on jeans for Chris, so, though they were too long, I encouraged him to get them if he liked them.

But then I forgot about them. Oops!

So, now they’re ready wear. Hope he likes them. 🙂

And, a quick update. I’ve returned to the classroom!

As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of my personal obligations have fallen by the wayside. It’s been a big adjustment, but I’m excited for the opportunity and glad that I can concentrate on this full time.

So, I can’t promise I’ll post weekly, but I’ll post when I can. Sharing my projects and recipes are still very important to me, but I’ve had some major changes in my routine and it’s been a lot to get used to.