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Valuable Lessons from Films: a Movie Review

Today, I managed to watch two films. The first was “Jurassic Park” on Netflix, and the second was “Beauty and the Beast” in the theaters. In fact, I also watched “Good Burger” on Netflix last night. I definitely recommend watching all three movies.

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  1. Good Burger is definitely one of my favorite childhood films. There is definitely a goofy factor to it. Having only been to California twice in my life, my image of Cali stems from movies such as this. This and Mighty Ducks. I think the film does a good job of portraying the dangers of chemical additives to food, driving without a license, and conning a person into signing an unfair contract. I feel like we need to be constantly reminded of these seemingly cliché concepts that are portrayed in these kid’s movies. People nowadays seem to ignore these fundamental lessons because we somehow believe that we deserve more sophisticated lessons in life wrapped in more complex facts and vocabularies. Yet, the root of disconnect and widening gap in our society could be exactly attributed to overlooking these basic ideas.

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  2. I loved dinosaurs as a child. I used to memorize the names of all the dinosaurs. The first Jurassic Park is definitely a classic and a must-watch. I heard the book is actually better than the film, but there is something magical about the film. I liked Spielberg’s interpretation and the visual image he was able to produce as a director. My favorite line is by Dr. Malcom who says, “John, the kind of control [control of breeding through genetically modifying sex of dinosaurs] you’re attempting simply is… it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.” My second favorite line is also by Dr. Malcom who says, ” 

    Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now [bangs on the table] you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. Well…
    John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…
    Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

     

    You’re welcome to interpret those two moments however you like. But the biggest lesson from this lesson is to freeze when there is a T-Rex nearby.

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  3. Beauty and the Beast, the animated version, is my childhood. So I was actually quite excited to see this new film with Emma Watson. I am a fan of her from the Harry Potter series, so I definitely had high expectations. I was also worried because I know how critical people can be, especially when it comes to experimenting with an already established classic. Overall, I really enjoyed the film. I was fine with missing an elite eight game for it. I think the lesson with this movie is pretty obvious. Make sure you know how to dance because there may come a day when you have to on a big stage. And make sure you read books, so you recite a few lines with a loved one. I really cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading. I feel like more and more people are able to speak out nowadays due to the advent of social media and internet, which is great. But we also need to be able to support our arguments and opinions with evidence. And that evidence really comes from reading. Listen and watch as they are good also, but don’t forget to read for yourself. Lastly, don’t judge a person by his/her appearance. It is as simple as that. There is no need to over-interpret that. I fall into the same temptation all the time because stereotyping is part of our social DNA. But the actions we decide to carry out towards others should always be double and triple-checked. Think before you act. We need to constantly remind ourselves of these cliché statements.

I know I was supposed to talk about my exam results and analysis tonight. Tonight, however, I just felt like talking about films and cliché life lessons that we should not overlook. I will post the exam results by the end of next weekend. In any case, cardiopulmonary and renal systems begin tomorrow for me. As for the rest of you, have a great week. Cheers!

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Burnout

So it has been quite some time since my last post because I have been busy studying for exams that I just took yesterday. The results are in, so I will post them tomorrow. For tonight, however, I want to talk about other topics pertaining to our human mind.

For this third exam, in particular, I have been starting to spot signs of burnouts among my colleagues. This reminded me of my post prior to the start of medical school in which I discussed about the importance of dealing with “burnouts.”

According to PubMed, “Experts have not yet agreed on how to define burnout. And strictly speaking, there is no such diagnosis as “burnout.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072470/)

The following is from the same PubMed article:

There are three main areas of symptoms that are considered to be signs of burnout:

  • Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and do not have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and stomach or bowel problems.
  • Alienation from (work-related) activities: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start being cynical about their working conditions and their colleagues. At the same time, they may increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and start feeling numb about their work.
  • Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity.
The signs seem to be pretty familiar and I can say with confidence I have experienced them myself. Burnout, especially exhaustion, is inevitable whether you’re a medical school student or an undergraduate. I can only speak of these two although exhaustion can be observed on all levels of work environments. As an MPH student, I can also confidently speak of the importance of managing stress in our daily lives because stress is one of the biggest causes of deleterious health effects.
So burnout is inevitable. Inevitable. Yet, prevention and preparation are still important role because they will allow us to control the severity of burnouts. Burnout is like a hurricane. We know it comes every hurricane season, and we cannot stop Mother Nature. We can, however, prepare for it and make prevention efforts to ameliorate.
What I had discovered with this third exam was that burnout hit most of us regardless of whether we had aced the first two exams or performed less-than-expected. In other words, previous performance played little role in the ability to completely prevent the occurrence of burnout. And I thought to myself, “why?” The most likely reason is that there are still two written, one practical and one standardized patient exam left in the term. And nobody could afford to perform poorly on the third exam regardless of the performance for the first two exams. So the work keeps on piling up, time does not wait, and the high expectations start to asphyxiate.
So how do we move forward? This is probably the most important part of my post tonight. The key is to prioritize. But I feel like too many people take the word for granted. Yes, it could simply mean listing things on a post-it note and making sure that you cross of tasks starting from #1. To me, however, prioritization means much more. It means that my daily schedule has to revolve around that task labelled as “#1.” For me, that #1 is studying musculoskeletal system, for example. And on particular day, I might have to give all of my undivided attention to the brachial plexus.
Now here’s my secret: I take frequent breaks. This allows me to disperse the amount of sensory information that I receive over a particular period of time. I realized this on the first day of anatomy lab when I was exposed to the unique scent of cadavers after having completed three hours of case discussion, patient examination and ultrasound. The anatomy instructor was talking about how students had fainted before because of lack of sleep, lack of food (breakfast) and sensory overload. Sensory overload can make you faint in extreme cases such as this, which reflects more an acute effect. What we don’t realize is that when we are studying in the comforts of our own room, we are actually letting sensory overload take effect surreptitiously over an extended period of time. We most likely don’t realize the effects until burnout has set in place because our minds tell us that we are in our comfort zone. It is as if we are able to compensate and suppress the overload until we hit some threshold in which the effects are too large to suppress with our comforting thoughts. In any case, often times I will take a break as often as every 10-15 minutes. And this might seem like I have an attention deficit, but it is really a way for me to absorb the information while letting my brain cool. The important part is to actually focus for the 10-15 minutes. And you have to be very efficient with how you absorb information during that short period of time. Otherwise, there is really no point in taking a break because there was no sensory overload to begin with. I will take a 5-10 minute break. And during that time I might watch a short youtube clip or close my eyes and start storing information using method of loci.
Someone might ask, “what about during lecture?” That is a good question because you cannot just take a break in the middle of the lecture to watch a video or store info into your memory palace, which requires a specific environment. To accommodate for the fast-paced, no-break lectures, I actually preview extensively. I almost teach the material to myself prior to the lecture such that the lecture is similar to a review. I will usually reserve three hours in the morning or the night before to accomplish this.
Another important aspect of managing burnouts is to keep in mind that you are going through something that is inevitable. You have to simply accept that the emotions and exhaustion you are going through are completely natural and ordinary. If you are a student, then make sure your life revolves around your studies. This means it is okay to take frequent breaks because you should be able to confidently tell yourself that studying hours take up a significantly larger portion of your daily schedule. Prioritization does not mean prohibition even though a certain level of self-control is crucial. Lastly, keep in mind that you will not be given tasks that you cannot handle. That is just a simple rule in life. Cheers!

 

Tomorrow: Exam 3 results & post-exam analysis

Post-exam deux & studying techniques

About three weeks ago, I promised that I would post my post-exam analysis for my first exam. Little did I know, medical school is much like holding onto a fire hose. If you lose control over it, then you will most likely find yourself on the ground. You will be forced to regain control of the fire hose, which flails in an unpredictable manner. Well, that is what happened after exam un. I was totally zoned out during lectures on the day after my first exam. And I quickly fell behind. In fact, it took about three weeks to regain control just in time for my second exam. 

I am currently listening to Mozart as I compose this post. My intention is to update on my academic progress as often as possible. I have another exam in about four weeks, so let’s see if I can write one more sometime in between. 

I would like to talk about my first exam before I move onto my second exam. For my first exam, I only listened to classical opera for the seven days leading up to the exam. I’ve decided to forego baroque because it was putting me to sleep while I was studying. Opera worked out well for the most part because it kept me awake, kept me energized, and kept me productive. Finally, I used Anki and method of loci for spaced repetition and memorization.

Now that I have taken my second exam, I can finally compare the two exams.

Figure 1. Exam 2 results
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Overall, I am satisfied with my results. This time, I actually have no idea which one I might have missed. According to the specific score report, I’ve missed one on cancer genetics and one on pharmacokinetics. I will just have to review those two concepts again until I have completely mastered them.

For this second exam, I actually did not limit myself to classical opera. This time, I listened to other genres such as hip hop and EDM. I feel like it worked out to my advantage because I felt more liberated. I believe studying should be enjoyable, so studying with enjoyable music just made more sense. With the last exam, I felt stressed at times when I had to force myself to listen to opera only. From now on, I have decided to listen to any kind of music as long as I am able to enjoy and focus on my studies.

Last time, I also talked about the three highlighter method. I would use purple for preview, lime green for lecture, and red for review. I really like this method because it allows me to quickly navigate through my lecture notes and focus on the keywords. And I pay closer attention to them when transferring to Anki cards.

Anki cards are very useful because spaced repetition really forces you to hammer information into your brain. One improvement I would like to make for the future is to make them on time. For exam 2, I made them five days prior to the exam and was only able to flip through them 2-3 times. There is really no point in doing spaced repetition over the course of a few days. Such time schedule will not be enough for a satisfactory result in the future as the amount and difficulty of information increases.

Lastly, method of loci. I tell a lot of people about it, but they are not attracted by it. I have to explain how our brains perceive and store information. Moreover, the actual process of storing information using method of loci requires a lot of time and effort. Many more are attracted to simple mnemonics such as acronyms or memorable phrases, which I find to be relatively short-termed and ineffective. Yet, I’m also opposed to completely disregarding such methods because I know plenty of people who do well while using them. I just know that the method of loci works well for me. In fact, some of the images are so disturbing that they are quite difficult to erase or transform in any other way. I’ve used this method to memorize drugs and common genetic disorders thus far. I hope to use them extensively for anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal system.

For this exam, I was definitely more assertive in making decisions when I had narrowed down the answer choices to two options. I always say that there are two ways to improve your score on an exam: 1. study well before the exam, and 2. make better decisions during the exam. I simply made better decisions this time. What is the best answer? What are my reasons? Is this really the correct answer? I call the last question a “touch of skepticism.” It helps to filter out red herrings and tricky wordings in the question, which I found to be fairly common for this exam.

Well, that is all for now. If you have any advice for conquering the musculoskeletal system, then please leave your comments below. Thank you as always. Cheers!

First exam results

Figure 1. Results of my 1st med school exam

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I’ve been away for the past three weeks because I had to prepare for my first exam. I took it yesterday morning and the results just came out. Long story short, I am not satisfied with my result. What can I say. I am firm believer of “you reap what you sow.” Ergo if I had studied perfectly, then I would have received a perfect score. [The score report is about three pages long, but I only cropped out the very top part.]

I don’t care if the class average is an 80 or a 50 because my success in med school is solely based on my performance. In other words, there is no curve. I don’t have to put down others to succeed. There is no blame game to play. There is no need to be a gunner. But I have to bear all the weight of failure, which is totally fine. I like to take responsibility for my own actions and mistakes.

Naturally, I like to conduct a post-exam analysis with every exam so that I may improve for my next exam (in two and a half weeks). The actual post-exam analysis will be posted this weekend.

Obviously, there needs to be some kind of improvement in the way I approach the exam. I always used to tell my tutor students that there are two ways to improve your performance on an exam: 1. studying smarter before the actual exam (studying skills) 2. making better decisions during the actual exam (test-taking skills).

The five questions that I have missed on the exam could be attributed to either reasons. I remember there were about the same amount of questions, which I had narrowed down to two answer choices. In reality, it could have been a question that I was certain about although the chances of that occurrence are less likely.

As you can see in the figure, I need improvement in the subject of genetics. I feel like I’m comfortable with genetics, but I know I’m not the best. That I admit. I don’t even remember how I did on genetics on the MCAT. I just know that biochemistry is my strong suit, which was reflected on my MCAT (97th percentile on chemical foundations). But strong suits are strong suits… you also need to know how to play the bad hands. That’s what separates a good poker player from one who only knows how to bet on an Ace-King. I need to know how to play my genetics cards for the next exam and throughout med school.

I would appreciate any help/advice on how to best tackle medical genetics in the comments section below, thank you! 

Fortunately, I was able to recall two questions for which I’ve chosen the wrong answers. They both were minute details that I had overlooked aka “low yield.” Foolish move I must say… foolish move. I suppose for my next exam, I should try to store all information including minute ones or somehow improve my decision-making skills since they were both narrowed down to two choices.

Today, I just wanted to update my blog. This weekend, I intend to discuss about my study approach for this past exam and potential novel tactics for the next one. Cheers!

Post FDOC

No class today ergo I can afford to write one post reflecting on my first day of classes.

I had a two-hour small group session and a four-hour lecture today. Quick lunch in between consisting of two PB&J’s. On my previous post, I discussed about my sleep schedule. As planned, I was able to go to bed at midnight. After exactly six hours of sleep, I was able to wake up at 5:55 am to beat the alarm that was set at 6 am.

While anticipating for my sleep inertia (see previous post) to dissipate, I watched some news and previewed for the day’s lectures.

I use an iPad for lectures, and a MacBook Air + iPad combination when previewing, and a MacBook Air + iPad + ol’ school paper notebook combination when reviewing. This is something I’ve been working on since last semester because that is when I first started using a tablet. I also had to trade in my MacBook Pro for an Air because the Pro was too heavy to carry around and I didn’t need all the specs for med school.

On my iPad, I use Notability to highlight and make notes on a wide variety of electronic documents including PowerPoint lecture slides and research articles. When previewing, I use a purple highlighter (P for Preview and Purple) to highlight all the keywords in the lecture that were mentioned in the outline/objectives. During lectures, I use a lime green highlighter (L for Lecture and Lime green) and highlight all the keywords that the professor mentions and/or emphasizes. And I like to use a red pen to make notes because they just stand out more for me. Finally, when reviewing, I use a red highlighter (and you get the idea why) to highlight keywords that I would like to go over one more time to force them into long-term memory. So keywords that have been highlighted three times are most likely crucial because they have been stated in the objectives, in lecture, and have been covered again at least once during review.

After lectures, I went to the gym for a quick 40 min workout working on my delts, hamstrings, and abs. I try to workout my legs and abs every time I go to the gym because they seem like the most important when I’m sitting down and studying. This is not evidence based though… maybe I’ll pursue a crude research on this one day.

After dinner, I watched the Cavs vs. Warriors game because that is actually the only sports game I watch nowadays. Back in high school, I used to live off of ESPN. In undergrad, I rooted for my alma mater. Now, I just don’t have time to keep up with it. But Cavs and Warriors are quite intriguing to watch because they are good, there exists a rivalry, they have a history, and they are very competitive. Unfortunately, this game was far from suspenseful. In fact, I fell asleep by halftime. Hopefully, there will be a better matchup next time and I hope to see them in the finals for the third time in a row.

On my first day of classes, I ended up falling asleep at 11 pm. Maybe it was the one-sided basketball game or my new sleep schedule. Whatever the reason may be I was able to wake up at 6 am sharp this morning. And now I’m in a study hall ready to start my review and preview for tomorrow’s lectures.

 

Six in the morning

I arrived on campus exactly one week ago. I am, however, just able to update my blog because I had to attend various orientations and meetings of sorts with my friends and colleagues. In addition, I am ill. I am now starting to think that I might have contracted my illness on the airplane, which House M.D. would call a “flying cesspool.” Of course, it also could have been the cold temperature. In any case, a mild case such as this hardly serves as an obstacle as I pursue my objectives this semester.

All exams are held at 8 am. Lectures, labs and small groups are held later. So I began to think about my sleeping schedule. When is the optimal time to go to bed and get up, and how many hours should I sleep? So I immediately began my crude research.

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I was able to find the above figure on the National Sleep Foundation website. Although 7 – 9 hours of sleep is recommended, 6 hours may also be appropriate. And this was good news because I usually sleep for six hours unless I’m on the first week of vacation.

Then, I needed to decide when I should go to bed. For this one, I wanted more evidence to support my argument. My primary objective is to schedule my lifestyle around my exam because that is the most important activity. Moreover, all other activities are held later in the day.

From personal experience, I know that I feel groggy and not “fully awake” as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. Then, my question was, “how long does it take for me to be “fully awake?” That is the real question.

As I was googling, I came across the term “sleep inertia.” According to Jewett et al., sleep inertia is the impairment of alertness and performance immediately upon waking from sleep. And this phenomena “has been observed in a wide variety of performance tasks, including short-term memory, vigilance and other measures of cognitive functioning, as well as reaction time, ability to resist sleep and grip strength.” Excellent! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!

To put it short, fifteen young men (mean age +/- SD, 22.7 +/- 3.4 years; range, 19-29 years) were studied. This is good because I fit that profile. The researchers measured subjective alertness and cognitive throughput against hours since scored waketime. They have concluded that “sleep inertia dissipated in an asymptotic manner and took 2-4 h to near the asymptote.” This suggests that there is some upper boundary to subjective alertness and cognitive throughput and that these are approached 2-4 hours after waking up. Furthermore, the researchers have concluded that “subjective alertness and cognitive throughput were significantly impaired upon awakening regardless of whether subjects got out of bed, ate breakfast, showered and were exposed to ordinary indoor room light (~150 lux) or whether subjects participated in a constant routine (CR) protocol in which they remained in bed, ate small hourly snacks and were exposed to very dim light (10-15 lux).” This suggests that a Red Bull in the morning may not relieve sleep inertia.

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(Source: JEWETT, M. E., WYATT, J. K., RITZ-DE CECCO, A., KHALSA, S. B., DIJK, D.-J. and CZEISLER, C. A. (1999), Time course of sleep inertia dissipation in human performance and alertness. Journal of Sleep Research, 8: 1–8. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.1999.00128.x )

In conclusion, my plan is to go to bed at midnight, sleep six hours, and wake up at 6 am. This will give me the appropriate amount of sleep and enough time to dissipate sleep inertia before taking my exams.

What is your sleep schedule like?

Cheers!

 

Anki and Baroque

For now, read these posts with a grain of salt. 

Today, I had the pleasure of catching up with my best friend who also attends medical school. If my sidearm is MPH, then his is MBA. Or at least he hopes to in the future. I am the type of friend who encourages expeditions of sorts and new objectives in life when I can fathom the potential. I don’t really have to shoot down people’s ideas because the society will naturally filter out the possibilities of occurrence. You can only do harm when you encourage deleterious behaviors or statistically improbable obsessions such as buying lottery tickets or pulling on a slot machine with the expectation of making a steady income from it.

There is a saying that goes, Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime (Source: quoteinvestigator.com/2015/08/28/fish/). The reality is that you also have to teach a person what kind of fish to catch. In other words, a good counsel should involve substantial directions and suggestions.

So I suggested that he start out with the very basics of economics before delving into business. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith seemed like an appropriate first choice. Would you all agree? It is like reading Gray’s Anatomy for medical students or like reading On the Origin of Species for biologists. As a matter of fact, The Wealth of Nations is on my 2017 reading list. I also suggested that he seriously consider an MBA if he is serious about developing business models in the medical field.

Today, I want to talk about Anki and Baroque.

Before I begin, I just wanted to remind the fact that these so to speak experiments carry no actual significance. There is only sample! That is myself. I’m just exploring new avenues.

Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard program (Source: Wikipedia)

I found out about this software by chance as I was searching online for methods to improve my studying skills. I am still learning how to use this program effectively. I am interested to see if I perceive an improvement in my learning experience. An improvement should naturally translate to good grades. So improved perception is the primary objective and good grade is the secondary objective that is as important as the primary.

Next is baroque. I really enjoy listening to Bach. According to one study: Baroque Classical Music In The Reading Room May Improve Mood And Productivity, “The greatest positive effects were noted with regard to mood and work satisfaction, with 63% and 50% of respondents reporting a positive impact.”
(American Roentgen Ray Society. (2009, April 26). Baroque Classical Music In The Reading Room May Improve Mood And Productivity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 4, 2017 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423132615.htm)

I have no comment regarding the validity of this study. I find it amusing. To be honest, I expect information bias anytime I conduct an experiment as this on myself. Nonetheless, I am still interested to see if there is a change in perception when I only listen to baroque music during my study hours.

But how do you measure change if there is no baseline? I can’t really serve as a control myself because I can’t relive the experience of learning new materials or retake an exam or risk the possibility of performing at less-than-maximum potential. I can recall my past experiences but that has recall bias written all over. Recalling, however, seems to be the only option.

A new era of learning

Table 1. MPH, final grades and GPA, fall semester, 2016

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Up until now, I have been using a fairly standard approach and method. Key words: Attendance, participation, undivided attention, preview, review, flashcards, visualization, quadruple check, and process of elimination. Table 1. displays the outcome of my standard approach and method in combination with 1% of luck. You can probably guess what I mean by each of the keywords mentioned previously. I don’t think I really have to go over each of them because I am not really here to teach anybody how to learn, study, and perform. In fact, I don’t think I’m qualified to do so. I am, however, interested in conducting new experiments on myself to see how I improve over time.

Different subjects require different approaches and methods. Medicine equates to vast content. From what I know thus far, the subject not only requires memorization but also application on a sophisticated level. Simple memorization and regurgitation are methods of the past. Although they are still required, advanced methods are needed to digest the colossal amount of information and apply them in novel and/or modified situations.

Last week, I read Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. I’ve since become interested in different memorization methods as I see their potential in aiding my studies. I am currently most interested in the major system and the method of loci

The major system is a mnemonic technique used to aid in memorizing numbers. The system works by converting numbers into consonant sounds, then into words by adding vowels. The system works on the principle that images can be remembered more easily than numbers. (Source: Wikipedia)

The method of loci (loci being Latin for “places”) is a method of memory enhancement which uses visualizations with the use of spatial memory, familiar information about one’s environment, to quickly and efficiently recall information. (Source: Wikipedia)

The major system should come in handy when memorizing useful quantitative values related to medicine. I wish I had known this technique during my first semester of MPH for obvious reasons. Since reading the book, I have been developing my own memory places for the method of loci. They mainly include my residences. I am also thinking about adding buildings in my medical school campus to expand my collection. Practicing is going to be the key with these new techniques because I have to be comfortable with using them. Otherwise, they will do more harm than good.

So I suppose I already have two experiments for 2017. I am of course using the word experiment lightly here. The first experiment is to observe the effect of utilizing the major system in number memorization. The second is to observe the effect of method of loci on memorization in general.

I actually have two other experiments in mind right now: Anki and Baroque. They will be discussed next time. Until then, back to reading Adler’s Understanding Human Nature.

 

First day of 2017

Happy new year!

I no longer have to (or rather can) write the four numbers 2-0-1-6 in succession to denote today’s date. From this day on and for the next 365 days, I will be writing 2-0-1-7 in succession to denote the year of today’s date.

How would you describe your 2016? For me, it was a rollercoaster ride. I started out the year with uncertainty. A lot of patience was required for the first half of 2016. After being accepted into medical school, the fun came. I went on a trip with my best friend to one of the most entertaining places on this planet. Then, I had the pleasure of going back home after three years of committing myself to pre-med. I also had an eye-opening experience at paradise on earth. The latter half of 2016 consisted of first semester at medical school and break spent back home.

How do you picture your 2017? For me, I see a lot of smiles and a lot of work. My utmost priority is to do well in classes and be the best in my class. I want to keep track of my thoughts, experiments, findings, performance and objectives on this blog. My one hope is that others will find this blog resourceful in a positive way. I am always looking for ways to improve myself and this year is no different. I expect to put in the blood, sweat and tears. One thing different about 2017 is that I will be tackling new academic materials and I will be utilizing new techniques to improve my learning.

Here’s to 2017, the new year.