Thursday, June 19, 2014

June Madness

What a crazy month this has been so far and it's only half way over!  Even better is that it marks the half way point of the September 2013 class being on the island!  Time sure does move fast when you're moving with it.  Don't get me wrong, I love the island but some days are so tiring and so filled with air conditioning and studying that I briefly forget I'm even on a beautiful island.  I didn't even think that was forget that I'm living in one of the top vacation destinations.  

I'm sure there was March, April, and May Madness as well but this month has seemed more hectic than usual!  Along with our regular classes we had ICM3 (Introduction to Clinical Medicine) classes, quizzes and physical exam & interviewing skills checkoffs, basically a fancy way to say an evaluation to make sure we have some idea of what we're supposed to be doing.  We also celebrated my Birthday!!!! More about that epic celebration in a minute.  We also had Block exams.  All in a span of 3 weeks.  I'm still trying to catch my breath.  I know I was there for everything but it's all pretty much a blur at this point.  When I need some inspiration to keep going I think back to all the fun we had on our full day off!!!!!!

We chartered a private yacht from a company called Private Yacht Charter (PYC) and planned have a great time cruising around St. Maarten.  After a 35 minute drive we pulled up to the pier and all stared at the boat in amazement.  Wow! Were we really about to board this beauty for the day??? Yep!

The 2 man crew quickly gave the safety briefing and we set sail.  Breakfast of fresh French pastries, fruit & mimosas were on the menu and boy were they good.  Then...sea sickness hit half of our group!  Yours truly wasn't spared either.  There was a passing storm in the morning and the water was pretty choppy.  This most definitely was not how we planned to spend the day.  Our crew, Jeff and Emmanuel, promised that it would get better as soon as we made our first stop.  We just needed a little time for our eyes, ears, and brains to all sync up.  I won't bore you with the scientific details of how all that works but he was right! The first stop was Tintamarre, a protected island close to St. Maarten.  The waters calmed and once we got on shore everyone felt great!!! There was no more sea sickness for the rest of the day--Thank God.

We spent part of the day on Tintamarre and then set sail for Pinel Island.  I think Pinel is my favorite beach in St. Maarten so far.  I've been to multiple beaches and I love, love, LOVE Pinel Island!  It's so chill.  A place to just relax and enjoy paradise.

Lunch aboard the boat was delicious and the conversations and camaraderie was unlike any other.  We snorkeled, swam, lounged on the beaches, ate, drank, tanned on the deck, laughed and joked all day long.  There were no thoughts of school and no guilty feelings for the entire day; at least I didn't have any!  That was a miracle in itself. With so much pressure to perform well, keep up with everything, memorize endless diseases, drugs, microorganisms, processes, integrate everything and apply it to real life situations is a feat unlike any other. Not thinking about any of that for just one day was just what these Future Doctors needed!  Having that time off re-energized us and made going back to the daily grind more palatable, especially since the dreaded Block Week was upon us, as usual. 

I know it probably seems like it's always block week.  If it's not block week, we either just had blocks or block week is next week, hahaha...that's how we live.  3rd and 4th block are a little better because there are 4 weeks in between each one.  More room to breathe but that much more new material is crammed into the added time.  By now, we're pretty used to the endless information overload.  Each of us in our way does the best job we can managing it all. 

Feels a little weird but dare I say, things really are starting to come together!  Some of the bits and pieces we learned early on are starting to make sense now that we're getting into more systems based learning and pathology.  This is what it's all about.  The 25,000 piece puzzle has a border and the inside is starting to be filled in.  Random I know, but I loved putting puzzles together when I was younger.  They were really difficult until you got the frame done then the rest started taking shape much easier.  School feels a bit like that.  Starting off, putting the border together seems impossible, and school is like working on a puzzle without the box to let you know what it's even supposed to look like.  As the professors add more nuggets of information it's like we now have the box and see where we're headed so some days, putting the pieces together is a LITTLE more manageable.  I'd say that's progress. 

I hope June Madness hasn't been as crazy for you as it has for us.

Here's one my favorite pictures from our time on the boat. 
Too bad it feels like an eternity ago =)

 Until next time...