Friday, March 22, 2013


 It was really nice and warm, and then it started snowing last week and hasn't stopped since. We've gotten almost a foot maybe more in places. I don't really mind the snow, but I think I'm ready for it to be warm again. Back home I used to be out snowboarding almost everyday of the week and here it's so flat and there isn't time to ski, which just makes the winters long and cold. It also really stinks because spring break just started and there's more snow outside right now than there is on Everest.

Speaking of spring break, my grandmother get here on MONDAY! Despite how much work I have to do while she's here, I'm so excited! Before she gets here I need to do some serious scrubbing in my apartment. Part of having a test or two every week for a month and a half is that some things don't get done. And my apartment has definitely suffered. I need to vacuum, mop, dust, scrub, wash and wax before my grandmother gets here. On top of that I need to get cracking on my studying for my next exam because while she's here I probably won't be doing too much as far as studying.

I do wish I could have went home for this break though. It's the only time we have off until the middle of July, and then classes start back up in August (Polish scheduling is a little bit um...strange, particularly for our class. I think it's because they don't have 4 year programs usually in Europe). I would have decided to go home, but I didn't know until about a week ago that classes and exams were going to be cancelled and moved so we could actually have the WHOLE week off instead of starting break on Wednesday afternoon. I guess it just makes the times I do get to go home more special.

At least I have Copper to keep me company until Monday and he's family so I guess I'm not totally alone in this! And he loves the snow!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Great Lessons of Pathology

This really happened!!!

Old Professor: And what other type of changes you see?

Class: (No response).

Old Professor: You are not learning. I take machine gun and shoot you all. You not make good doctors! 

A few minutes later

Old Professor: (Asks hard to understand question).

Classmate: (Answers question wrong).

Old Professor: I shoot you first. 

My Irish friend very conveniently pointed out that she's crazy for threatening school shootings in a class full of Americans. Anywhere else this would be more than enough to get fired. But not in Poland! Here they make you the head of the department!  

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Besides the fact that I feel like I'm clinging to my sanity while someone steps on my fingers, I'm doing good. Yeah, things could be better, but they could be a whole lot worse and that makes things seem okay. 
We finally got the retake schedule sorted out. Almost everyone is happy with it, though it still has to be approved by the department and there are only four days between most of the exams. Which really is not enough time to even do practice questions let alone read five chapters in the book. Some people are fooling themselves if they really think they'll pass with preparation like that. And I still don't agree with is messing up the break for a lot of people, but what can I do? Just deal with it I suppose.

On another note, I ordered my first stethoscope this week!!! It's a littmann cardio III, my Grandmother's going to bring it when she comes at the end of the month. Oh did I mention, my Grandmother is coming in 16 DAYS!!!! I'm so excited!!! I really need the break. Unfortunately, the Wednesday after she comes I have a test and then the week after that I have another one. So I'll be studying most of the time, thanks to the wonderful land of fail everyone and inability to schedule. We're still going to go to Krakow so I can show her around and she can get a better Polish experience, because where I live there's just rude people, the town square, and apartments. 

YAY Me-ma!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, March 4, 2013


I don't know how most medical schools work, but here in Poland failing someone repeatedly is considered good for the educational process. I've actually had professors who were pissed off that everyone passed on the first go.

Of course this causes a bit of a problem. Most North American students aren't used to failing, and North American medical or even pre-med students really aren't used to failing at all! That's not to say that before coming to Poland I never failed anything, but here I seem to do it an awful lot. Guess what it sucks.

The funny thing is there is always a group of people who usually pass. And of course this makes the rest of us look terrible. For example, in our most recent block exam in patho out of forty-eight people only about  twelve passed. That's a 70% fail rate. If that were to happen in the U.S. or even in England I think the dean would be looking at firing someone, because there are only a few options.

  1. We're all stupid and need to quit now. 
  2. We're not being taught adequately. 
  3. The test is not over material being taught and is above and beyond the level of knowledge needed in real life situations.

I might be biased but I think that it's a mixture of #2 and #3, because I've read the big Robbins Patho book twice for one block exam and still failed twice (and reading that damn book is no small undertaking). As to why people can pass....I'm going to suggest that there are certain papers with certain answers to certain exams floating around amongst a certain subset of people (I'm not saying that some people pass on their own merit, we do have some extremely smart and likable people in my class!) Anyway, this post is not about the massive cheating that goes on here, this post is about retakes and actually trying to study.

So we have all of these retakes. Right now we're looking at about five retakes for one class. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons that allude me the first round of retakes for some of the blocks have been pushed off as have all of the others that should have been continuously scheduled through the year, and all of the retakes have to be completed and passed by the second weekend in April in order to take the final. This means that there is one block exam every week for the next month, not to mention retakes for the blocks that people fail for the second, third, or fourth time.

On top of all this we also have spring break plopped right in the middle of all of these retakes. And many people because we were told we'd have certain days off booked flights home or just made plans in general. Some people in the class are becoming very nasty about this, and want one of the retakes scheduled the day before we officially start break, which wouldn't be a problem, but they want the exam on a Monday two days after another retake and the last day before break starts- so naturally most people were just planning to skip that class and fly home to relax before they have to study for the step.  I can see how they want to get it out of the way, but people like me who have to take the other test are getting screwed because others want to get the exam over with quickly. Additionally, people paid a lot of money for plane tickets and I myself have to go to the airport to pick my Grandmother up on that day (she's 71 years old, and she's not taking a cab in Poland by herself!). The class representative is even in the midst of trying to move Monday classes, so we can have it off officially too.

Long story short, people are bashing and harassing people on facebook and "friends" are throwing friends under the bus. People who only have one retake exam are dictating the lives of those who have two or more retakes, just because they think they're better, or smarter, or whatever the hell they think they are- even though they have more time to study in general than a person who's taking more than one! I know one person said to another that they were stupid for wanting to go home, because they've failed so many block exams and they need to learn how to schedule studying appropriately. Even though the person who has to take the retakes, schedules studying better than anyone I know and needs to go home because she is so damn stressed out right now she might explode!

So what's the point of this post? Keep it civil people, conduct yourselves in a manner you'll be proud of when the darkness that shrouds second year lifts. In Poland just because a person has to do a retake does not make them stupid or any less of a good student. It's partly the bad scheduling of the tests, combined with bad teaching and test writing.

On a final note, I think it's funny when a person who has failed multiple times fails something people say it's because they're stupid. But when a person who usually always passes fails, it's the test or the professor.

All of the great people in history have failed at least once before they've succeeded, it takes failing to really learn who you are and what you know. 
                      But, it still stinks! 

Friday, March 1, 2013


I cannot even begin to explain how happy I am that today is the END of the week! It's beed weeks since I've actually gotten to enjoy a few hours of "free time" the prospects of having only one small test, and two quizzes next week, versus the three BIG tests and two quizzes I had this week is wonderful!!!

On top of this 'fun filled week' I woke up this morning in the wee hours with what is either a scratched cornea (AGAIN) or conjunctivitis. So, I'll be spending my weekend tucked safely inside my apartment where it's warm and dark (though the light doesn't seem to be bothering me nearly as much as last time). What I really want to know, is what exactly am I doing while I'm sleeping to do this to myself?!?!?

On another note, today after what I think was one of the worst Pharmacology seminars to date, I went and bought the Goljan Pathology Rapid Review book (because having Big Robbins, BRS, Organ Systems, AND Patho Secretes somehow isn't enough).  I feel like I needed to try something different and since I study by listening to the Goljan audio lectures and then watching the Kaplan videos, all while highlighting and marking the hell out of the First Aid Organ Systems book, I figured that the Goljan book can't hurt.

What's really bad is getting a new book for me is equivalent to a kid on Christmas. I almost skipped home in excitement. Too bad I can't keep my good eye open long enough to read it (the eye that's not affected has some blind spots...).