M203 Diary

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

10 Minutes Late, Or 50 Minutes Early?

Monday last week, I turn up almost an hour late for tutorial. Monday this week, and I’m almost an hour early. A truly bizarre anomaly. After ruling out laziness, and technical issues with my alarm clock of a handphone, I set out in search of an answer. I conducted a mini research task with a team of one. I also had enough on the budget for a bag of chips and a bottle of coke.

Eventually, I happened upon this article on daylight saving time. PMS students take note. On further investigation, I also found one of Benjamin Franklin’s more obscure discoveries (No, not the “kite + rain = zap” one): Messieur Sun is so good, he don’t have a lag time when it comes to getting it on for you in the wee hours of the morning.

Conclusion: Readjust all clocks back by 1 hour.

Additionally, my success in elucidating the primary cause of this mystery prompts me to believe I’m good at information search. I’m not exceptional, but I can make do with what I have. Yet maybe we as medical students don’t give it the amount of attention it deserves, if you consider how important it is, especially for the forseeable future. I think it’s just about knowing what to look for, where to look for it, and trying to make sense of the stuff you do find. Being able to interpret the more technical data means it’s essentially more reliable (though maybe less essential), and you’ll save yourself the time you spent looking for a dumbed down version.

I learned to read when I was really, really young and that shoulda helped somewhat with the process. Looking back though, I realize that the first time I ever really read a book for the sake of reading, was when I was in college. Sad, I know. You probably wouldn’t call it a true book either: “The Joy of Work”, a Dilbert book.

But it was through reading it that I was introduced to the term “telecommuting”, where you work at home with the help of an electronic device that acts as the sole link between yourself and whichever lot it is you’re associated with.

Basically, it means you regulate your own productivity, whilst attempting to achieve goals set by your superiors, which in turn involves submission of periodic progress reports, or perhaps other forms of proof that justifiably deny you’re simply monkeying around. On a higher level, this means you get to eat, sleep, play and (heaven forbid) work, as and when you please.

Instantaneously, I was captivated by this concept.

Today.. No.. Actually since I got here, I’ve been able to run a trial in an attempt to prove a point. To fortify a creed that has been ingrained upon those who have been so fortunate to have graced the Internationally-acclaimed (or so they claim) Medical University’s learning system, or some such of similar standing. Anyways, taking a page out of old Bennie Franklin's book, I lay claim to the discovery of an adaptation of telecommuting as a device for learning under a virtual zero-pressure environment.

Structured Independent.. Learning At Home! Otherwise known as SILAH, (pronounced see lah, like when you say “har, har, you see lah you”, and you HAVE to say it like that because I made it up) and it works just like how any “does what it says on the tin” tin does.

As the pioneer of SILAH, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Anyways the main objective is to determine the viability of SILAH as a means of getting through this semester, which feels like last semester, which as a result, makes me feel like I’m going in circles whilst all other M203ians seem to be going forward, or in a downward spiral due to excessive vegetation. Naturally, forwards is the trend I hope to observe.

Phase I of the trial involves skipping all Rheumatology week’s lectures and studying at home. Then finally I go for Friday tutorials (aka PBL 2) and see how badly I screw up. The task force is made up of the one and only, numero uno, me, and some other people that randomly turn out to contribute inadvertently. Activities in the trial: Reading up on random online Rheumatology stuff that I think might be important, and discussion of relevant case studies with 2 or less (usually less) other people, such as KReatz. For all intents and purposes, and more specifically the purpose of assigning credit, his role is of course not as significant as mine.

I said Friday. Today is Thursday. Time doesn’t travel backwards, unless you’re saving daylight.

1) I accidentally went for 1 lecture. I have a propensity for guilt-related mistakes.
2) Discussion can sometimes go nowhere, or somewhere else. This is all Jo En’s fault.

Depends on the results. Phase II also depends on the results, in addition to how much chips and coke I have left. This really is a work in progress, but at the moment, I feel really invigorated by the freedom I’ve bestowed upon myself. On the other hand, people who don’t go for lectures ALWAYS miss out on something important. So don’t try it. But on the off chance that you do, please feel free to inform me of the results.

Here are some helpful links to get you started:

An overdose of medical cases..

Free! Always a good cause..

The answer to everything! Seriously..

If you're looking for journals..

If you do intend to cite me, you can make it out to kenJ and nobodyelse et al. I am gonna be so famous..


Saturday, April 01, 2006


Starting today, I begin a countdown to my longest official holiday yet, since arriving at Newcastle. Easter break begins 14 days from now, and goes on for another 14 days, and I can’t wait! Apparently, it's a very important Sunday. Somebody got resurrected, started giving away free chocolates, then disappeared. Commentators on the matter suggest that he either went home to look for his Daddy, or started a Chocolate Factory. To this day, both theories have spawned successful bestsellers and blockbusters, attempting to duplicate this fascinating tale.

Anyways, I can't believe I missed such a momentous occasion. All that free chocolate..

I guess I don't really know much about Easter, but hey, nobody complains about a holiday period, right? Not that I've needed or wanted a holiday though, because so far, my stay here has been like an extended vacation. Other than the interspersed moments where I visit the forest reserve that I call a university, I'm free to do whatever I want to.

Which brings me to my main problem: I have TOO MUCH TIME!

Coupled with the fact that I'm not sleeping too well, I'm left staring at the ceiling all night. Actually this happens a lot to me. Of the many reasons that plague me like a diseased rat from 14th century Europe, I've narrowed it down to my absurdly variable sleep pattern. Which I put down to my gaming habits. Which is linked to the time I have because I'm not going to class. Which is related to my lethargy. Which is..

Wait a minute. I haven’t been going for class?

That's right. And it's not because I have a psychological disorder, which may be indicated by the fact that I'm not sleeping well, or that I'm blogging to myself. It’s just that there are times it makes me feel like I failed Sem 5, and I've got to do it all over again. There are only so many times you can go through the same stuff and find it riveting. In medicine, it happens to be zero.

On the other hand, if you saw someone alive after being proclaimed dead via the liver jab test, you'd go HOLY $&#**^% CHRIST! Either in honorary tribute, or sheer amazement. Because you don’t see that every day. And I just know medicine can be as equally miraculous. Only I’m pretty sure I’m not going to see it in a classroom, where the biggest tragedy that could be is failing your exam, and the miracle is when you actually don’t. Been there, done that. Don’t wanna do it again..

So I’ve got a lot of time to myself at the moment. And even more yet to come. What am I going to do..