Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More of my study strategies

I'm currently trying to figure out how to study smarter. Studying harder will only get me so far. For various reasons you can only spend so many hours a day studying. I'm already studying as hard as I'm willing to study. Now I need to make my studying more efficient and effective.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I have given up on study notes. For me they just take too much time to prepare and waste valuable time that could be spent actually studying. I'm now studying for another General A&P Test that I have to write tomorrow. I've discovered that if I use my lecture notes as a guideline for studying, and make annotations to those notes while studying, I end up with what I'm going to call hybrid notes. Hybrid notes are just lecture notes that are annotated while I'm studying. I'm not wasting any time by rewriting lecture notes or summarizing information from textbooks, I'm just adding to my existing lecture notes as I study those and my textbook(s).

I'm studying while I'm creating hybrid notes. I'm not preparing hybrid notes so that I can then study them. The hybrid notes are a byproduct of my studying. When I'm finished with the creation of my hybrid notes, I'm finished studying. In the future, I can use the hybrid notes to quickly review everything that I've studied. The hybrid notes should come in handy when I'm studying for mid term exams, final exams, composite exams and the dreaded registry exam of January 2011.

Using the above, also seems to be a hell of a lot less stressful and may result in me actually going to bed earl tonight.

Monday, September 29, 2008

So many blogs, so little time

I used to read a lot of blogs. Now I can only read two or three of them a day. I've been spending ridiculous amounts of time studying. If I haven't read or commented on your blog, it's because I'm too busy not because I've lost interest.

Later this evening I'm going to achieve a major milestone. In only a few more hours, I will only be 1 week behind in my school work. :-(

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fifth Test

I wrote my fifth test today. Now I know what kind of tests to expect from each course and instruct0r. Writing the first test for a course is always a bit stressful for me because I don't know what to expect.

This morning I decided to not make study notes any more. I spend too much time making study notes and not enough time studying. I have lecture notes, homework questions and textbooks to study from. I don't need to waste my time making study notes. I don't find that the process of making study notes, actually helps me to learn anything.

Note: In previous posts I made references to some quizzes. Officially, they're called quizzes but for all intents and purposes they're tests. If it's worth 10-12% of a course mark, I'm calling it a test from now on.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First real quiz today

I wrote my first real quiz today. It was worth 10% of the course mark. I wrote a quiz last week, for General A&P, and it was pretty easy.

Today's quiz, for my Applied Science course, was multiple choice and included a bunch of calculations. The quiz made me realize something. Writing down formulas and providing a pretty and "correct" solution is a waste of time. The name of the game is to do the math, without writing anything down if possible, and selecting the correct answer. Showing first principles, the formulas used, and identifying all species isn't required and will just slow you down.
  1. Understand the question
  2. Figure out the correct answer to the question.
  3. Select the correct answer(s) from the available answers.
  4. Repeat.

NOTE: Only write things down, if they assist with the timeley completion of steps 1 and or 2.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things I wish I could remember

Below are 9 numbers that I have to memorize for a test next week. I'm about to give up on those and start studying stuff that I can actually remember. I have 3 more tests to write next week, that don't require the memorization of things that my brain refuses to remember.

Trying to remember those numbers is like trying to remember chemistry nomenclature. I can remember facts, formulas, concepts, conversion factors and densities without any problems... I suspect that I have a big gaping hole in the part of my brain that people are supposed to use to memorize stuff like this.

Did I get dropped on my head too many times when I was a kid? Did I eat a bunch of lead paint when I was a kid. WTF?

Critical Pressure of Oxygen: 715.87 psig
Critical Temperature of Oxygen: -118.4 C
Boiling Point of Oxygen: -183 C
Melting Point of Oxygen: -216.6

Critical Temperature of Carbon Dioxide: 31.0 C
Boiling Point of Carbon Dioxide: -78.4 C
Melting Point of Carbon Dioxide: -78.4 C

Boiling Point of Nitrogen: -195.4 C
Melting Point of Nitrogen: -209.86 C

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Refrigerate after opening

I've transformed myself into a studying machine. The whiny complainy part of my brain, that thinks I have too much studying to do, is curled up into a little ball and sobbing quietly in the back left hand corner of my brain.

Last Friday I had my first General Therapeutics lab and almost knocked over a type E Oxygen cylinder. I kind of tripped over the damn thing. The lab instructor saw me do it and asked if I was OK. At that point I had both hands on the cylinder and was trying not to have a stroke. I told her that I was more concerned about the cylinder. Her response was, "Good RT". She seemed to think that my reaction was kind of funny. Note to self: I there are small Oxygen cylinders in the room, try not to knock them over.

I was hungry last night and had a craving for spaghetti. I cooked up some pasta and went to the fridge to get the sauce, that I had opened and used a few days earlier. The sauce wasn't there. WTF? Did I imagine the last time I ate spaghetti? Oh crap. I put it back in the cupboard after I opened and used some of it. It looked pretty good. It didn't smell or taste funny. Hmm. What could go wrong if I had some? I noticed the "Refrigerate after opening" warning and then promptly dumped the stuff down the kitchen sink.

Pasta with Ranch salad dressing, actually tastes pretty good...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blog Title Change

I'm changing the title of my blog a bit. I'm going to change it from "RT Scribe: Notes of a Respiratory Therapy Student" to "RT Scribe: Notes of a Student Respiratory Therapist".

Student Respiratory Therapist is the legally protected title for Respiratory Therapy Students up here, so it's the more correct term. Everyone at school calls us SRTs. I think I might even be able to put SRT at the end of my name, if I felt like it.

Study strategies

I wasn't really being too smart about how and what I was studying, so I found myself a bit behind in my studies by the middle of last week. Most of my falling behind was due to poor study habits and strategies.

I was actually trying to study in my living room! That didn't work out so well. The temptation to turn on the TV was too great to resist and I found myself taking frequent breaks, from studying, to watch "a little bit of TV". I now have a dedicated study space, formerly known as my dining room table, which I use for my studying.

I was reading stuff in my textbooks that wasn't required. If I'm supposed to read a chapter in a textbook, for a course, I now refer to what's in the course outline and in my lecture notes to make sure that I know what has to be read. If it doesn't have to be read, I try not to read it. Sometimes you can avoid reading several pages in a chapter if you know what can be safely ignored. It's better to focus on what you need to learn and learn it well. Unfortunately, there's lots of interesting stuff to be ignored...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Already fallen behind

It's only the second week and I've already fallen behind. I'll get into the details about what went wrong, on the weekend. I have to prepare for my first General Therapeutics lab tomorrow, so I don't have time to go into the details.

My scrubs arrived today. I will be wearing them at school tomorrow. I actually look pretty good in my nifty new red scrubs :-)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Correction (108)

Oops. I misread something.

dilbert.com has 108 Dilbert Animated Shorts and I'm watching them all. After I'm done, I might start studying A&P again.

Hmmm. I wonder if there are any new TV shows on tonight.


dilbert.com has 21 Dilbert Animated Shorts and I'm watching them all. After I'm done, I might start studying A&P again.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Last school day of first week

My reading list for last night, was a bit too optomistic. I still have to do a bunch of reading to catch up. I was only able to get throught the material for Respiratory A&P. I felt the need to read slowly and study the diagrams, so that I was actually comprehending what Iwas reading. For my General A&P course, I still need to read chapter 1&2 of Marieb and Module 1&2 of the course module package. For my Cardio A&P course I still need to read chapter 18 of Marieb and Chapter 5 of Des Jardins.

I had my first Infection Control and Safety class today. Wash your hands. Wash your hands well.. Wash your hands often.

I went to a BBQ this afternoon and met a few of the second year students. I also had a couple of interesting conversations with a few faculty members. I was feeling pretty anti social, so I was ot of there pretty quick.

Apparently we only have 4 students in our class that came straight from high school. They're known as the Highschoolers. Most of the students in my class seem to be in their mid twenties, with a few in their thirties and possibly a couple in their early fourties.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lots of reading today

I actually got a decent amount of sleep last night, so the material covered in the Cardio A&P lecture today made sense. Sleep is good. Sleep makes me less stupid. Being less stupid is a good thing.

Today is only the third day of school and I'm already starting to feel like I'm falling behind. Today I'm trying to catch up on my reading.
  • For my Respiratory A&P course, I need to read pgs. 831-838 of Marieb, pgs. 7-23 of Des Jardins and pgs. 174-180 of Egan's.
  • For my General A&P course, I need to read chapter 1&2 of Marieb and Module 1&2 of the course module package that the school self published.
  • For my Cardio A&P course I need to read chapter 18 of Marieb and Chapter 5 of Des Jardins.
Today I overheard my Cardio A&P Professor mention something about previous students "having breakdowns". I'm not exactly sure what she meant by that and I've decided that I don't really want to know.

Second day thoughts

Yesterday was my second day of RT School. This is some stuff I was thinking about this morning:
  • Everything except my Ethics course is taught by an RT.
  • My ethics teacher doesn't seem prepared for teaching his course. He's not very familiar with current events and stuff that's been making the news for a few years. He was telling us how we should be reading the newspaper, so that we know what's going on in the world...
  • In Respiratory A&P we were learning about the nasal cavity. Clinical relevance was discussed and made everyone very interested in the topic. An Endotracheal tube was discussed and passed around. I think we were also shown a nebulizer doing it's thing. That class was really short.
  • I am not carrying all my freaking books to school again. That was really stupid. I had this delusional fantasy about studying in the library after I was done with my classes. After my Genera A&P class, I just wanted to go home and sleep.
  • I have to start sleeping like a normal person. I could do my job on 5 hours of sleep. I can't be a very good student on 5 hours of sleep. Studying while tired is a waste of time for me because I can't retain anything that I've read.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First day of school

Today was the first day of RT school.

I have homework and it's not from any of my RT related courses. I have homework for my Workplace Ethics course, which is an elective. I've been exempted from one of the three electives that I have to take. At this point, I think that I will stick with the Workplace Ethics course and use it as one of the two electives that I still need to take.

In my Respiratory A&P course, the professor went on and on about how cool it was to be an RT. That was a good thing as far as I was concerned. He also mentioned some things that are in the good to know category.
  • RTs can go straight into Critical Care (ICU or Emerg) at the start of their career. A lot of other medical professionals only do that after getting some experience and additional training under their belt.
  • 15 countries accept Canadian RTs. The fact that Canadian RTs are trained to the higher standard of RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist), makes Canadian RTs more of a none quantity in other countries. If you're an RT from Canada, you're an RRT.
  • If you are into the cram and forget study method, you are screwed. You must learn and retain what you have learned.

The General Therapeutics course is being taught by the program coordinator. Most of the class was spent doing program orientation stuff. At the end of the class, we went down to the lab and were given our lab safety training. We will be using pressurized oxygen in the lab, so we have to be aware of some of the potential dangers associated with oxygen cylinders and compressed oxygen. Can make big boom and also make little fire very big and hot... Why is that lab right beside the cafeteria's kitchen?

There won't be a General Therapeutics lab this week, so we're expected to go to a BBQ that the second year RT Students have arranged. About 12 of the second year students came into class and mentioned the BBQ and said hi.

I didn't have an Applied Science class today but the program coordinator told us that she will also be teaching that course because the person who was going to teach that course can't anymore. The Monday morning class will now start at 9AM instead of 8AM. Yaaaay.

The professor who is in charge of the clinical placements and job shadowing came in and talked to us during the General Therapeutics class. The job shadowing for this semester is part of an actual course that will have assignments and homework. I will do job shadowing twice this semester. Everything except the job shadowing will be done online. The assignments are designed to make students more aware of what the RT profession is all about. One of the assignments involves making a poster for RT Week.

I found out that my scrubs haven't been ordered yet. Apparently, you can't just fill out an order form and expect them to order scrubs for you! I was supposed to take my copy of the order form to the book store and pay for them! I payed for my scrubs and bought a lab coat. I can wear the lab coat until my scrubs arrive.

I picked a locker that was close to the library. I wish that faculty would stop telling us how hard the program is. Some of us are becoming afeared...

Monday, September 01, 2008

One more sleep

One more sleep until I start Respiratory Therapy School. My first class tomorrow, at 8AM, is an elective course called Ethics In The Workplace. I'm trying to get an exemption from that elective. Until I know for sure that I'm granted an exemption, I'll be attending the class. I should find out tomorrow if I have been granted an exemption.

My other two classes tomorrow are Respiratory A&P and General Therapeutics.

If I don't get an exemption from that 8AM Ethics course, Tuesdays and Wednesdays will have 6 hours of classes and will be my longest days. My current timetable has 22 hours of classes on it. If I get the exemption, my timetable will have 19 hours of classes on it.

Day before school starts

School starts tomorrow.

That is all :-)