Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friending

This week I tried to meet as many of my new classmates as possible. Thus far they all seem like fun, interesting, and intelligent people. Our average age this year is 27, which means most of the class is younger than me, but that's fine. Everyone acts like adults, not your TV stereotype of college kids. Because this curriculum is designed as a second bachelor's degree, everyone has already been through college once and has some amount of life experience. I suppose no one would have applied for this, much less been accepted, unless they had a working brain and a certain level of self-possession.

I've already found a decent pack of friends to hang around with. I don't know that I would call it a study group yet, only because we have not had any exams to study for. The cliques mostly seem to have assembled based on similar outlook and sense of humor. A very few of us have gravitated together because we were already acquainted, from prereq classes we took at other schools.

Weirdly, though, it seems I have a reputation from one of those other classes. At the welcome breakfast on our first day, someone who knows me told a small crowd all about how I broke the grade curve in Microbiology. Then they brought it up again yesterday at lunch, to a different group. I sort of feel like I should be offended that they're telling stories about me, but it would be ridiculous to get upset just because they told people I'm smart.

That does make me glad none of our current classes are graded on a curve, though. This accelerated program is full of high-energy, type-A students. If they thought I was a threat to their GPA, I might be lucky to get out of there alive.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Engage

Day One of school is complete. Fracking awesome.

Sure, I got up at 5, but I wasn't sleeping much anyway. I woke up about a dozen times overnight to check the clock. (Apparently my subconscious doesn't trust the alarm.) No rest, but also no need to rush out of the house in the morning. I got to campus more than an hour early.

Morning session was largely fluff. We were fed breakfast, listened to orientation, met the faculty, and had the obligatory campus tour. Most of that was just buildings. The simulation labs look like a lot of fun; they're full of complex medical equipment and weird animatronic dummies. I'll have to post more about them after I have some classes there.

At lunch break, I ate in a cafe that used to be a Lutheran chapel. I want to know the story behind that conversion.

After lunch, actual classes! And learning! And homework assignments! I think they tried to ease us in slowly, because the first class is about Health Care Communication. Slightly tougher stuff begins tomorrow. Then they stomp on the gas pedal and don't let up 'til graduation. My first set of midterms are two weeks away. Craziness! I have a Pharmacology exam in two weeks, and I don't know any pharmacology yet!

This is going to be difficult.
This is going to be so much fun.

If I ever complain about the workload, just remind me I asked for it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Final Check

Classes start on Monday. What have I forgotten?

I have sent or submitted transcripts, medical records, insurance forms, CPR certification, loan paperwork, drug test, photographs and fingerprints. I've been scanned, poked, needled, tested, researched, and background checked. I bought textbooks, notebooks, pens and pencils, scrubs, lab coat, white shoes, stethoscope, and my campus parking tag. I've done everything on my task list and own one of everything on my supplies list. But I can't shake the feeling that I've missed something.

I guess that's probably just nerves. I'll admit I am freaking out just a bit. After years of preparation and anticipation, today is my last free weekday before I'm a full-time student again. I'm not at the point where I'm counting down hours (...yet!) but I really want this weekend to go quickly.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Outfitting

Less than two weeks until class starts and my posts become marginally more interesting!

I finished assembling my uniform today. This involved a bit of tailoring. Scrubs don't come in regular pants sizes with selectable waist and inseam. All you get is basic sizes-- small, medium, large, etc.-- and the men's sizes are all proportioned for stick figures. I'm not a particularly large guy, but the smallest size that would fit over my butt was waaay too long in the leg. I had to break out the straight pins and measuring tape and sewing machine, and think back to 7th grade Home Economics where they taught us how to sew a hem.

Finding decent shoes was more difficult. The school requires that shoes for clinicals are white leather, with no decoration or logo in any other color. That doesn't leave very many options. My other inflexible requirements were that they be: 1) men's shoes; 2) available in my size; 3) comfortable and supportive enough for eight-hour shifts of constant standing. If at all possible, I wanted them to be neither hideously expensive nor hideously ugly. I spent a couple of weeks shopping at websites, shoe stores, and uniform stores.

Eventually I found these Brooks sneakers. They're not any uglier than they have to be, and not so expensive that I will feel bad about trashing them in six months. I've added better insoles and a few coats of waterproofing spray, and I think I'm good to go.