It is definitely no secret that I want the anatomy GTA position. I’ve kinda been gunning for it before I even got accepted into this school. (Just so we’re clear, I’m about the farthest thing from a gunner, but I love anatomy. Perhaps a little too much.) Dr. Gross instilled in me a great love for the subject, and the fact that I wasn’t too shabby at it made it all the better. I was super flattered when someone mistook me for the TA when I was teaching someone the structures in GI system. Twas a sign. It’s something that I would happily do for free (lemme amend that to “it’s something I’ve already been doing for free since then”).
But when you add in the perks of the GTA position, hands down, I want/need it. (Being $250k in debt is not my idea of fun. ;_; ) In short, you graduate a year later because you essentially have two “third years,” where you spend half of it teaching and half of it on your rotations. In return, they pay for your tuition and student fees for those two years, as well as your fourth year. They also pay you for the two years that you work (~$1k/month, which you could argue is almost nothing, but I was only expecting to lose money when I went to med school, not make money). I could easily live off of $12k/year and likely have money to spare, so having 2.5-ish years’ worth of loans (1st 2 years of med school + residual grad school loans) sure as hell beats 5 years. That, my friends, is >$100k saved and $24k made (technically less if you factor in living expenses for that extra year, but we’re looking at the big picture here).
My mom is actually really against this idea, although she does try [unsuccessfully] to hide it. I think it’s because she wants me to just graduate on time and come home to CA. I’ve been attempting to convince her that this is a wondrous opportunity that I would really, really love to get, but I guess she won’t have to worry about it until I apply for it next year. For my year, there is only one spot for my year. :[ My partial hope is that everyone else in my class continues to dislike anatomy, although I feel like I wouldn’t be going out on much of a limb if I were to say that no one else in my class seems to be as enthusiastic about anatomy as I am.
I went in to talk to my favorite GTA a couple weeks ago since he was back from rotations and I wanted to find out more about how to apply for the position, what they’re looking for, how I can make myself a better applicant, etc. He gave me a bunch of awesome suggestions, and also said that since he’d still be around next year during the time our interviews were happening, he’d put in a good word for me and would be rooting for me. (You are awesome, Matt! :D!)
Since they’re looking for someone with experience who’s also easy to get along with and hardworking, my plans (as a result of his advice/suggestions/tips) are currently as follows:
-work in the anatomy lab over the summer so the anatomy staff will get to know me
-continue being an anatomy tutor over the course of next year
-show up in lab to help out the first years whenever possible
-hold anatomy review sessions for the first years
-let them know that I reallyyyy want the position :x but try not to come off as desperate and don’t scratch on their doors
Sometime this month, we’re supposed to find out about our work study options and such. If everything works out the way I’d like it to, this is hopefully how my very last summer ever will be spent (all my limbs are crossed; please send good thoughts my way ;_; ):
-working in the anatomy lab ($!)
-playing piano at the Greenbrier ($$!)
-volunteer at the no-kill shelter + nursing home + kids’-exercise/nutrition-group
-reviewing this past year’s worth of material
-going over the USMLE First Aid book + Pathoma
-drawing up anatomy review charts/summaries/memory aids to help out the first years next year
-exploring WV + hanging out with friends who are still around
-hang out with family/friends
-volunteer at PHAC
-all the pole/silk classes my body can handle
-continued review of whatever else I need to brush up on
-learn how to play the ukulele
My other blathering rants about anatomy are as follows:
My newest nickname is the “Asian shrimp.” More often just shortened to “shrimp.”
It was also, in essence, self-imposed, because we were talking about games we used to play during recess. I happened to mention that one of the things I’d liked other than wallball was Red Rover, because the opposing team would always pick me due to the fact that I was an Asian shrimp (in 6th grade, I was 4’11” and weighed 68 pounds, so there is little else you could’ve called me) and they tended to underestimate my ability to hurtle at them at a rather quick speed with unexpected force.
They think it’s particularly amusing because I can’t even eat shrimp.
I think it’s cute though, so I’ll take it. :O
While we’re talking about my shrimpy status (I’ve gained 52 pounds and 4.5-ish inches since then), I’m pretty proud of my latest two accomplishments (more so of the running than anything because if you know me, I am basically a shit when it comes to endurance/running anything more than a sprint)!
#1: I ran a 7:30 mile!
Just to clarify, this is exciting because from the start of elementary school to age 14.5, my fastest mile time was a 9:14. Yep. In my sophomore year of high school, our mile runs were graded on improvement, and I (stupidly) ran the fastest mile I’d ever run (8:19) and had to improve on that throughout the year. I made it to an 8:02, due in part to the fact that I gave up sprinting the last 10 feet because I thought 8 minutes had already passed. (sigh.) I’ve only gone running like…4 times since June (which I really don’t recommend, by the way), so whoa there. :O Where did this come from?
#2: I’m up to squatting 150 lbs! :]
But my deadlift has gone to shit (I think it’s mostly because I’m afraid of murdering my spine again. I should really go get that fixed one of these days). Slowly but surely!
It appears that if the class does really terribly on our tests, the GTAs get chewed out for our performance. I’m not sure how this makes sense, because honestly, they do nothing but help us. Without them, I’m pretty sure most people would have failed. If anything, I believe class performance could have been due in part to the fact that they didn’t bother trying to make appointments with the GTAs until the week before the final/practical, and trying to stuff in all that material and cement it within a single 1-hour session generally isn’t the smartest of ideas. (Read: it’s wildly ineffective.)
My neighbor was talking to one of the GTAs last week (his group tends to always book appointments with Chris and my group always books appointments with Shawn) and he was asking how he did.
A: I did fine. You probably don’t ever hear this enough, but we really appreciate what you guys do. Honestly, if it weren’t for you and Farrah, I probably would have failed.
C: Who’s Farrah?
A: You know her. She’s the one who’s not in my actual lab group who comes every time? You called her “Dr. Lee”? (haha, that was actually Shawn. Chris doesn’t tend to joke with me very much.)
C: Oh, her! The girl who knows everything?
A: Yep, that’s her.
C: Yeah, I can tell she knows her stuff. She must have had a very good anatomy lab in the past. (damn straight. Thank you forever, Dr. Gross!)
A: She definitely did, and she’s been teaching everything she learned to me. The book she has is amazing. (the book = my binder of extensive notes from undergrad in teeny-tiny handwriting)
C: Yeah, it’s really good that you have her. Although sometimes I feel like I should tell her to stop answering my questions because she already knows everything. But then no one else answers if she doesn’t.
While I definitely couldn’t ever make any claims about knowing everything, that is wildly flattering. :O I would also like to think this means that my shot at snagging a GTA position is somewhat high. If I host anatomy review sessions next year and kick butt at it, that could only increase my chances, yes yes? :D?
It is a well-known fact that I <3 anatomy, partially because it just makes so much sense. You can usually reason things out at least to some degree even if you can’t remember what exactly something was. Case in point: on the musculoskeletal midterm where they apparently decided that the brachial plexus was completely unimportant despite stressing it on half the 38 lectures we had, I definitely resorted to staring at my legs a lot because they tested us pretty crazily on the lower limb. Therein comes the worry that the proctors would suspect that I was cheating because I was palpating my own pulse on my foot to affirm to myself that yes, that pulse was indeed found posterior to my medial malleolus.
F: I kinda feel like I’m cheating because I kept looking at my legs to confirm stuff about veins and such.
A: We work hard to be skinny; we deserve it.
I like this logic.
Aside from exercise bio and my music courses, anatomy was, hands down, my absolute favorite course in undergrad. This was largely due in part to the fact that I had an amazing professor who basically taught us everything he taught the med students.
Aside from being a magical human being (by that, I mean that he’s an MD/PhD, volunteers in Africa every year providing free medical care to kids and adults alike, is a pediatrician at UCDMC, teaches anatomy to the undergrads and med students, has 2 foster children and 3 kids of his own, does relief work [e.g. went to help in Haiti after the earthquake] and somehow still has time to spend with his family). He taught it with clinical correlates, which instilled a great deal of love on my part for the subject. I could finally see the point to learning what I was studying. It was applicable to real life, and what was even more awesome about it was that I could basically be studying while I was at the gym. Doing squats? What muscles are you working out? What innervates them? What’s the blood supply? Where do they attach?
I owe my knowledge in anatomy to that course, and that has been beyond helpful here. While many people have been floundering, because this course is not an easy one to stomach on so little time (another plus to the quarter system–10 weeks and we learned it all), unless you happen to be a genius, or have photographic memory. My group met with one of the GTA’s today and he eventually banned me from answering any more questions.
S: What are you doing here anyway? You already know everything. Why aren’t you teaching the course?
F: Not everything. There’s some stuff I’m fuzzy on. And I would love to! In two years. (I want your job. ;_; )
A: You could be out drinking or something.
F: But I like this subject. ;_; And I don’t drink.
(Everyone else: whatta freak.)
S: That’s all for the upper limb, unless Dr. Lee has anything to add.
(Lab group looks around.)
F: …Were you talking about me? My last name’s not Lee. Chen or Wong would’ve been good guesses. Lee too, I guess.
So racist, hahaha.
In any case, I got roped into going to the anatomy review the second years put together yesterday because they needed people who were good at anatomy. While I don’t claim to be amazing at anatomy, I do admit that I pick up things a lot faster when I enjoy the subject. That being said, Dr. Gross gave me a pretty awesome foundation to start with, so it was really just a matter of review to solidify old knowledge again. Adam’s mentor was apparently the second year who was putting it all together, so he asked Adam to help teach, and Adam asked me to help him. I’d originally thought that they just needed people to kinda stand around and point stuff out and talk about things–not just straight-up teach, but we got assigned to teach the posterior lower limb, which is actually what I’m weakest at, but we went with it, and it went really well. :D! (It reminded me of once upon a time, when I was standing in the UCD anatomy lab in the back of Haring telling someone about the digestive system. Someone mistook me for a lab aide, and I was super flattered.)
I’m super happy, since this is basically what I’d like to spend half my third and second-third (if I get the position) year doing. Early practice is always good to have, and teaching other people helps me to solidify my own knowledge. I think we managed to instill a good amount of what I knew into other people, and Adam and I worked really well together. :]! (I felt kinda bad though because I eventually just hijacked the whole thing. I’m somewhat of a zealot when it comes to anatomy. :[ Sorry Adam.) All in all, things went smoothly aside from one guy who was being all kinds of selfish/inconsiderate and downright rude (the kind of person I love to hate). After he left, Adam and I turned to each other and said at the same time, “That guy was kind of a dick, wasn’t he?” (A sign that we probably spend too much time together, haha.) One of our mutual friends said she was surprised that I had managed to remain so patient with him/didn’t clock him in the face. I hadn’t ever actually interacted with him before, so although I’ve heard all kinds of weird things about him, both of us like to reserve judgment until they prove it outright. Now that it’s been done and we each have anecdotal evidence, I think we can reserve the right to think of him as an asshat.
Since Adam knows that one of my many dreams is to be an anatomy GTA (seriously though, >$100k to do what I would have done for free? sign me up!), he talked to one of the second-years who’s applying for it, and was told that they’re mainly looking for someone with experience in anatomy (hooray! 1 undergrad anatomy lab and lecture taught at med school level coupled with another anatomy lab course where I set the curve, A+’ed it and have a recommendation letter where he writes that I’m within the top 1% of all the students he’s ever taught in the bay area, along with a master’s level anatomy lab/lecture taught by the same professors who taught it to the med students should be a good start, yes yes?) and has the ability to communicate with others (I think all the shit I’ve done in the past several years from high school and on has been building on that, so double hooray!). I’d have to undergo a formal interview process, but anatomy is honestly one of the few subjects where I honestly feel like I really really know my shit (Adam said he was super glad I was there today and that Shane [his mentor] was really impressed; fistpump fistpump; twas a good day :D!), so there is hope for me yet!