Monday, June 29, 2009
If you have not been following the news, this was a reverse discrimination case in which 20 firefighters (19 white and 1 hispanic) were denied a promotion, after scoring highest on the promotional exam, just because no other minority firefighters scored high enough for a promotion. Similar things have happened in fire departments (and other places) all through the country; where fair outcomes are rejected just because an employer is afraid of lawsuits. Hopefully this will set a new precedent: if you want to compete, you're going to have to be competitive...no matter what race you are!
Full story can be found here
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Usually, these engine bays are the home of an engine, truck, haz-mat unit, and two medic units. But, it's apparently been converted into a tennis court, to give the guys something to do between calls. I'm not complaining, just jealous that we didn't think of it first at Arbutus.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Sure, there are way more questions on path, pharm, and micro, but they also cover a ton of information. There are not a ton of behavioral questions, but there's also not a ton of info to cover. So, it's not necessarily high yield for the overall exam, but it is high yield relative to the amount of time it takes to learn it well. Spending just a little time on Behavioral will hopefully get me a few easy correct answers. And, those few easy answers could be the difference between a pretty good score and a very good score! Obviously, I'm hoping for the latter.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I'm feeling nostalgic today. This is the library at UMBC, where I spent a few too many years in undergrad. For the next couple of weeks, while I prepare for the step, this is going to be my new home. Walking onto campus, I remember how much I miss this place. I'm glad to be done with undergrad and going into my third year of med school, but I still miss the place. It's pretty much everything I wish AUC was, besides the minor fact that UMBC cannot give me an MD degree.
Being at UMBC also makes me remember how glad I am to be back in the US. Everything just seems to work here, I'm not constantly frustrated, and my blood pressure has probably lowered 20 mmHg. Now, it is time for me to go upstairs, find a comfortable spot (of which there are plenty in this library, and get to studying.
-- Post From My iPhone
Monday, June 22, 2009
Many of them were MD/PhD's, they were all experts in the field they taught, and they were mostly very good. The only really bad professor was the cardio guy we initially had, but Falcon made up for that by giving us access to the online lectures, and bringing in another fantastic cardio guy to redo the lecture. The anatomy guy was monotone and a little difficult to stay awake through, but he did do a good job of pointing out the most important topics. Goljan was as good as people think he is and did an incredible job bringing everything together. I cannot think of a better person to go at the end of a review course. The micro guy was good at micro, but not good in immuno. Immuno was the only subject in the class that I felt I had to go back and watch the Kaplan video. They also seemed to spend the appropriate amount of time on each subject, relative to its importance on the step (most of the time was devoted to pharm, micro, and path, with the rest sharing the remainder of the time). Almost all of them were very good about keeping on schedule and giving regular breaks. Overall, few complaints about the professors, and many good things to say.
The hotel is nothing fancy, but it's nice enough. The beds were Sleep Number beds, so they were among the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever slept in. I definitely did not have any trouble sleeping due to the bedding. There was an adequate desk and comfortable chair, along with a mini fridge and microwave. Room service came in 3 days a week to clean up, which was just the right amount. There was rarely any noise from outside and when there was, it was almost always from inconsiderate fellow Falcon students. The only real complaint about the hotel was the internet, which was about the same speed as St. Maarten internet (which is very slow). Also, like St. Maarten, they kept saying they were upgrading, but it never got better. In fact, it got worse towards the end. They do have a shuttle around the local area, which is free and makes multiple trips a day, but more on that below.
Breakfast was terrible pretty much every day. There are only two different options, which rotated every day. One day would be cereal, bad oatmeal, bad danishes, and biscuits with very bad gravy. The next day was always extremely runny eggs, usually cold pancakes or french toast some sort of breakfast meat, and toast which was pre-toasted (cold). They always had fruit, but they'd reuse it for a couple days until it ran out. One day you'd have all kinds of good fruit, and the next couple days it would only be cantaloupe and honey dew (after people had eaten out the strawberries and grapes). Some of the fresh fruit was mixed with fruit from a can. We asked them to put out cereal and fresh toast every day, but they never did it.
Lunch was better, but got old very fast. Pretty much every day was some permutation of chicken and/or pasta. Sometimes it was very good sometimes it was pretty terrible. But, it's not easy to have a good buffet for 7 weeks, 7 days a week. I guess most buffets would get old after that long.
Overall, the food was not great, but good enough. It was definitely convenient to just have it there and not have to worry about it. Room Service (for dinner) was also significantly better than the buffet food for breakfast and lunch.
Falon is techinically in Dallas, but it's a good distance from the actual city of Dallas. More accurately, the hotel is in Garland, TX. Garland is a bit of a dump. There is practically NOTHING to do in Garland, many businesses are out of business, and there is almost nothing in walking distance. There are actually only 3 places close by: a gas station, a sex shop, and a marijuana paraphernalia store. That, alone, should give you a good idea of the area. The only restaurants which are relatively close by are mostly fast food. There are some very nice areas, such as Addison, not far away, but they're about 15 minutes by car. I wouldn't say that Garland is unsafe, and I never felt in any kind of danger, but I also wouldn't walk around the area at night. They say that they have the course in Garland purposely so that there's nothing to do but study. And, that may just be true.
Fortunately, the area does have a brand new Super WalMart and a Bally's gym close by. Both are not in walking distance, but there is a free shuttle to both places, a couple times a day. Ballys gives Falcon students a special rate of $40 for the 7 weeks, which is a pretty great deal. Since the hotel does have a refrigerator and microwave in each room, most people had a good amount of food from WalMart in their room. Personally, I find Super WalMart somewhat magical; they seem to have just about anything I ever needed...like they could read my mind. That, or the place is just so damn big that they do have almost everything anyone could want.
Like I said, I liked the setup of the course, and felt they spent the appropriate amount of time on each subject. Their "patented study method" involves recording yourself reading the notes, and then reading them again while you listen to your tape (that's the abbreviated version of it). It sounds a little silly, but I do think it works. It forces you to pay attention to what you're doing and focus on studying. It also forces you to see the information many times over (once in class, once the first time you read through, again as you record, again as you listen, and again later as you listen for review). I made tapes for most of the lectures, and they are definitely easier to review than the areas I did not tape. Class begins at 8am, ends anywhere from 2-5PM, depending on the instructor. Goljan is the only person that goes past 4 though. There is an hour for lunch and usually 10 minute breaks every hour.
The course is given in the hotel ballroom, setup with rows of desks. You can see pretty well and hear perfectly no matter where you are in the room; you're not particularly at a disadvantage, no matter where you sit. Despite this, some overachievers get there at 6:30 AM to secure a front-row seat. Personally, I felt sleeping was much more important. For Goljan days, there was a line probably 50 people long by 6:30 AM, which was (in my opinion), a little stupid.
I'd recommend the course and I would take it again, if I had to go back and decide. Some people say that they think PASS is the best review course, but likely for two reasons. One, they're lazy and don't want to take a 7 week course. Two, they haven't been to Falcon. There is just no possible way that you can fit what we learned into the 4 weeks of PASS. It simply is not something that could be done. By the end, we had probably a foot and a half of lecture material. Friends at PASS said they had one book which was about two inches high. I have often heard said that if you are really worried about just passing, take PASS, as they cover the highest yield information. But, if you want to do well (and have the ability to do well), go to Falcon. One friend even said he thought that if you knew the PASS notes inside and out (and nothing else), you'd get a 210. If you knew the Falcon notes inside and out, you'd probably get a 240 or better. I'm not saying PASS is a bad program, but they don't cover as much. Overall, I also liked the Falcon professors better than the Kaplan videos. I don't have my score yet, so I don't know exactly what it's done for me. But, at the moment, I would say that I got my money's worth. Any other questions? Post them in the comments.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I'm sure there are people that what to know what I thought of Falcon, now that it's over. I'm not going to do it right now, but sometime soon, I'll write a thorough review. Overall though, I liked the course. 2 weeks now to try and remember everything they reviewed. We basically covered 2 years of med school in 7 weeks, and now I've gotta cover 7 weeks of review in 2.
For now though, bed time. Oh...the new iPhone 3G S is pretty damn amazing. But, I would expect nothing less from Apple.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Today, I was easily beat in arm wrestling by a 66 year old man. Although, he's not just any 66 year old man! He's a 66 year old man who is basically the god of pathology lecturing, and also happens to compete in arm wrestling competitions.
So, today, he offered to let people see if they could beat him. As you can see, I did not stand a chance. I figured I'd lose, but I thought at least I'd be able to hold my arm up long enough to actually see myself losing. That was not the case, and it was over before I hardly knew it had begun.
I did feel a little better after seeing the rest of the people try. Of everyone that tried, I was probably the smallest, and most of the others were beaten as fast as me. Two people (out of probably 10) made him work for it, but he didn't lose. The first guy was probably 250 lbs, and about 7 ft. tall. He looked to be twice Dr. Goljan's size, but even he could not win. The second guy was also well over 200 lbs., and was the last person to go. That match wound up in a draw, but Dr. Goljan had already taken about 9 other people down, including one that went on for a while, and had to be tired.
I like to make myself feel better by thinking that I was the person who made him most tired. But, I probably shouldn't have posted the video if I wanted other people to think that.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I really do not like Michael Moore and as I think he's generally full of shit. Particularly, his movie on Healthcare was a fantastically one-sided and largely inaccurate exercise in mindless drivel. However, I also do not support the way Obama has been spending money lately....more money than any other president in the last 100 years! So, when this came on in the movie theatre the other day, I found it hard not to be amused.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I've always followed the school of thought that class time is not your personal time. If you have a question, it should be asked during office hours, not during class. Fortunately, Dr. Goljan (or Poppy, as he prefers to be called) agrees with me. There is an hour after class that you can ask questions though. You can also ask during breaks, but not during lunch. Speaking of breaks, he gives them frequently. He sets a timer for 50 minutes, and then gives you a 10 minute break. He runs perfectly on time. If it continues like this, than he'll likely be worth the price of the course by himself.
For those of you who cannot see him lecture live, he does follow his book (Rapid Review) very closely. It's obviously a lot better to hear him go through it and explain it all live, but the basic content is all in his book.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
But, now I am back and it is time to study, after a shower to remove the copious amounts of sweat that the laundromat caused. The rest of tonight is dedicated to micro. Tomorrow, it's finally the first of 6 days of Goljan, which is a large reason that most of us are here in the first place! Sorry to all the people that have asked me to record him but with rules the way they are, that's just not in the cards.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Unfortunately, immunology class today was not half as exciting as the weather. We have the same guy for immuno that we had for micro, which is not the usual situation. I really can't say that I enjoyed the immuno class, which is a shame, because it's an area I need a lot of work in. Sadly, I think I'll be listening to either Kaplan or PASS to learn the immuno stuff well. I'm over the micro guy. But, we only have him half day tomorrow. Then, we have a much needed day off, which I'll be spending on micro, and then DR. GOLJAN for path! The whole class as been looking forward to this guy for weeks. In fact, he's the reason many people choose Falcon. He's basically the superstar of med school review, but he does not come without a few changes in the rules.
Since he is so popular, people sometimes try to sneak into his lectures, and often try to record them. Because of this, they do not allow anything electronic in the room, whatsoever, during his lectures, including cell phones, MP3 players, computers, bags, or even pencil cases. All you can bring are your books and pens (in a ziplock bag, or in your hand). They also are very strict on checking IDs (every time you walk in the door) and they lock the room over lunch break. Personally, I find these rules very easy to live by, but many people, sadly, do not.
I just don't get it. Maybe it's because my time in St. Maarten taught me that things aren't always how you'd like, and sometimes you just have to deal with it. But seriously, some people here are just acting like children. You should have heard the complaints when they announced the no bags or cell phone policy. You would have thought that someone just told them that their children were being taken away. Seriously people, why do you need anything but your books and pens in class? The answer is YOU DON'T. If you want to be on your cell phone or computer, don't come to class.
When they were told that they'd have to bring a ziplock bag if they needed a bag for their pens, someone seriously suggested that Falcon should provide the ziplock bags! Yes, you read that right, people are that ridiculous! Can you not carry your pens? Do you need that many colors, shapes, and sizes of writing instrument? I may be going on about this, but it really just blew my mind. They simply asked us to only bring pens and books to class, and people went crazy. The common concern was that they're adults, and don't need to be treated like children; that if they're asked not to record, they won't record. Yeah, OK, in a perfect world, that may fly. But, in the real world, it doesn't always work that way. And, by making a big deal over the rules, you're just proving that you're not quite as adult as you think you are.
So here's a little advice. On Sunday, when Goljan starts, show up with a pen (or 50 pens, in a ziplock bag) and your books. If that's not good enough for you, don't come to class, or tell Dr. Goljan how you feel about his rules. See how that works out for you.
P.S. - thank you to St. Maarten, for teaching me to just accept that things aren't always as I would like. And, to our TA who announced the rules, I apologize on behalf of my classmates for attacking you when there was nothing you could have done. I know it's a non-issue, you know it's a non-issue, and hopefully they'll figure it out soon enough.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Teacher: Group A strep is inhibited by bacitracin
Barely medical student: But I thought it was bacitracin sensitive?
Teacher: Uh.....right...[silence for a moment as he wonders if they're joking]...they're the same thing!
Barely medical student: oh, right.
Teacher: Giardia causes a particularly foul smelling stool
Barely Medical Student: But it already smells bad, so how do you know if something is wrong?
At least stuff like this keeps the class interesting. I really worry for patients if these people ever make it through the step though. On the positive side, today was the last day of micro! I have a TON of studying to do now to actually learn everything we went over. Micro is not my subject.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
If you can't tell by looking at it...that's a new iPhone application by AirStrip that allows you to stream patients' information to your phone! This goes well with Epocrates, the Osirix iPhone app, Med equations, and numerous other apps that are already available.
Simply put, no other phone even comes close. Some people are making a big deal out of the Pre, but today is not a good day to be Palm. Today, Apple also announced the new iPhone, which is obviously a much bigger deal than this new application. The current 3G iPhone already has many of the same features as the Pre, plus some that the pre does not have, and about 50,000 applications, compared to 18 on the Pre. However, what's much worse for Palm than the new iPhone (which beats the pre in just about every area), is the fact that the current 3G is seeing its price dropped to $99! So now, you can get an iPhone, which is already arguably better than the Pre, for $100 less than the Pre!
He went along at a decent pace today...not fast, but fast enough that he should get through everything without having to rush. He has some pretty amusing stories and he definitely knows what he's talking about. He also seems good about pointing out the most high-yield topics. He does cover it MUCH slower than the Kaplan videos, but I think that's the whole point of the class! I don't need someone to speed through basically reading the Kaplan book to me....I can do that on my own. I need someone to go through it slowly and pick out what's most important. He's also doing somewhat of a review of micro-related pharm as he goes along, which is a big help. I'll have a better idea of how he did when I start doing USMLE World questions, but so far, so good.
Current proposals by the democrats would have a national health insurance program set up, unsurprisingly paid for mostly by even more taxes on the wealthy and forcing employers to pay for their full time employee's health care. Although...I do have a good solution for that one: all employees will now be working 39 hours/week. Forget the fact that the US cannot possibly afford to pay for a national insurance company, the biggest problem is that they'll no doubt try to determine who gets what treatment, and how much it should cost. I guess I should just leave medical school, because doctors really don't know anything. Naturally, the best people to be making health care decisions are politicians. Why have someone qualified make the decisions when you can have politicians, who know nothing about medicine, make the decisions for you? You think they're having trouble finding primary care physicians now? Just wait until the government moves in.
All Obama has managed to do during his time in office is spend more of the taxpayer's money, largely to private companies, and come up with proposals to spend even MORE! He has not, however, come up with a way to actually pay for anything or help the country out of the recession. Unfortunately, people have allowed themselves to be blinded by his campaign BS and have no idea how much he is going to screw up this country. Yay for socialism!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
That's probably why I want to be a surgeon; I want to actually go in and fix people. I can't imagine that I'd enjoy figuring out the diagnosis, but then handing them over to the surgeon for the repair. I'm going to keep an open mind going into clinicals, but I'd say there's about a 95% chance that I'm going to wind up a surgeon. At the moment, Trixie the Pixie, the caffeine junky (yes, that's her real name...the whole thing) is going through her surgical core rotation, and has decided that she now wants to be a surgeon. I know that my time is coming up in a few months, but for the time being, I could not be more jealous of the stuff she's doing and the experiences she's having. You should definitely check out her blog, which is linked on the right side.
I'm hoping she lands a kick ass surgical residency spot, and then can put in a good word for me ;)
Also today, since it was a half day of class, I went to see Land of the Lost...Will Ferrell's newest movie. If you really like him (which I do), you'll think the movie is funny. But, despite the fact that it made me laugh a few times throughout, it was probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It definitely does not live up to Step Brothers, which is one of my favorite movies. OK...time to get to bed so I don't wake up tooooo late tomorrow (10 or 11 sounds good).
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Doctors need to know an awful lot of stuff, in case you didn't already know that. If you asked me 2 years ago, I would have probably told you that I knew a lot about medicine, and didn't really have to learn that much more in med school. Turns out, I would have been VERY wrong. In fact, it might have been the most wrong that I have ever been.
On another topic...if you're debating taking the Falcon course and want to be as jacked and awesome-looking as I am, you'll be glad to know that we get a pretty nice discount at the local Bally's. They give us unlimited access for the 7 weeks, for only $40. The gym is huge, so even though it's usually pretty busy, you almost never have to wait for equipment. Here's a picture of the outside of the gym. It probably will not be helpful to you at all, but I wanted to post some sort of picture. I would have included myself in the picture, but after coming out of the gym, I probably would have eclipsed the building. Sometimes its tough being me.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Update: OK, I went there tonight with Chuck, Geneva, Tangra, and Josh. Gotta say, I was a little disappointed by the free float, even though it was free. For one, please use root beer which is carbonated. Second, it really should not be soft serve ice cream. I understand that they were pumping these things out in volume, but that's really no excuse for bad quality. Chuck didn't even drink his after trying Geveva's! But, the chili cheese dog and tater tots pretty much hit the spot.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Yesterday began pharmacology lecture - about 800 pages of material that we have 5 days to memorize! This should be a lot of fun! The pharm guy is not extremely exciting to listen to, but he does know his stuff, points out the important points, and doesn't put you to sleep either. Unfortunately, no matter how good he is, I just have a ton of stuff to memorize over the next few days. I suppose that I should get to it...
Oh, P.S. - I was VERY disappointed today to learn that Boston Market has discontinued ham! What in the hell were they thinking? I loved their ham!