Distractions and Tolerance

Grumpy post today about the things that most easily distract me when I’m studying: noise and smells.

Noise: Sometimes our library is more like a dorm room/hall of residence. Some students think of it as a meeting spot, to eat, watch videos, chat and generally be noisy.  In these situations my headphones come out straightaway.

Smells: I’d purposefully got to the library this weekend and was settled and ready to go, brain engaged, pen at the ready – when it wafted past. The perfume. It was so strong and although I tried to ignore it and concentrate, I was just wasting time re-reading sentence after sentence and not taking anything in.

Another time I caught a whiff of something bad. Looking around I spotted someone had taken his shoes and socks off. Shoes and socks! That part of the library is really warm with poor ventilation so the smell coming from his sweaty feet was overwhelming. Now I realise why there was nobody sitting next to him. If you have smelly feet please keep your shoes and socks on!

From working part-time as a healthcare assistant I’ve had my fair share of bad smells and in many clinical environments it’s part of daily life –  but in a library…? I can deal with noise by plugging in my headphones or using ear plugs. But smells, how do you deal with that?

Grumpiness aside, I wish these things wouldn’t get to me and I guess I have to learn to become more tolerant and develop ways to study in distracting environments.


Bye-Bye Christmas & Hello Revision

Did I say in my last post that we had exams? Well we’ve had another one since then, plus we’ve got a big one straight after the winter break. That is just plain cruel of the medical school. Whatever happened to Christmas and having a rest? So that’s what I’ll be doing over Christmas. On the other hand, it’s a huge privilege to study medicine so I mustn’t grumble…

The digital flashcard program I mentioned is turning out to be productive. It takes time to create each card but only a little more than I’d need to read and understand the material and I consider that time also as study and revision. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the topics which I’ve created flashcards for are also the ones I feel I understand the most. So a thumbs up so far.

Recently I bought the Gray’s Anatomy Flashcards. They cost about £22.00 (~US$35) with my NUS (student) discount card (!) and there are more cards than I thought there would be. They’re split into sections e.g. Thorax, Abdomen…etc and they include a big ring for threading through the hole in the corner of the cards which you want to carry about. So I get them out of my coat pocket whenever there are a few minutes to spare. They’re just the right size for the rush hour commute when we are squashed like sardines in a tin, people looking over my shoulder, they too finding themselves learning about indirect inguinal hernias…