What’s the first trimester schedule like at Palmer?

So I was thinking back to one of the tours I gave a couple weeks ago, and I remembered one of the prospective students asking me what the typical first trimester schedule is like here at Palmer.

I was thinking back to how much of an adjustment this schedule was for me, coming from my senior year in undergrad, having only one class at noon and an internship in my last semester to having full days that require me to get up at 6 a.m.

A typical first trimester class has about 100 students in it, depending on the start date of the trimester, some trimesters tend to have smaller groups of around 70 and others have larger groups of around 110. The first class of the day started at 7:30 and the last class ended around 3:00. In between each class there is a 5 minute break, and you typically get a lunch break for 50 minutes around 12 or 1:00.

They are nice to you in the first trimester, keeping a number of classes in a row in the same classroom so you don’t have to worry too much about getting lost trying to find your classrooms. And when you do switch classrooms, you are all going to the same place together because everyone in your class has all the same classes together all day long. So there is usually someone who has figured it out, and everyone else follows them.

On top of the 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. schedule, there will be a few days when you’ll have a lab in the evening or on Friday afternoon (because usually on Friday you only have a half day with classes in the morning) the labs are one or two hours.

And that’s a typical first trimester day! The trimester lasts 4 months and it flies by and before you know it you will be up into second trimester!



Extra Credit

Extra credit cat

Extra credit cat

I love extra credit points! You know when your professors surprise you when you least expect it with that little extra credit quiz. It really just brings up my mood when I know I was there for the class and am going to earn a couple extra points that might make up for something I missed on a previous exam or assignment that I was kicking myself for.

Some professors ask a few questions using the clickers, or some ask you to hand in something on a notecard. The question is usually something related to what we did in class that day, so if you were paying attention at all, you are usually going to get the points!

Sometimes our lives just get so busy for whatever reason, and we just find ourselves unprepared for an upcoming quiz, exam or assignment. And when we do poorly on things like this, it’s easy to get down on ourselves and think back to all the times we could have put in a little more study time or a little more effort to focus and pay attention in class. After each time this happens, we swear we will change and do better next time, which is good. It’s good sometimes to do something wrong, if only to learn how we can improve for the future.

But that being said it still is nice to get a little boost as a thank-you for attending class and trying to better yourself for the next thing. It takes a little bit of the stress off by getting those extra credit points, after all it could be the difference between a B or and A or even a pass or a fail!

Cheers to extra credit points!


Labour Day

So summer has come and gone, and I have to say looking back it didn’t feel much like summer. This was my first summer having to sit through classes on sunny days, living vicariously through my friends who are now graduated or get a full four-month summer because they are still in school. It honestly flew by. As soon as I felt like I was getting back in the groove and ready to start putting my full attention back on school, I realized here we are at September 1st with only one month left to go!

It was nice to have this Monday off, I’m sure most people took advantage of the long weekend by heading home to see family and friends if they lived close enough or having some local adventure. But August was a crazy month for me (with two weddings on back-to-back weekends and an unexpected trip home for a death in the family). So I was very appreciative to just have an extra day to look at the month I have ahead of me, and see where I need to focus my attention for school and make a plan to tackle everything coming up.

This was also my first summer in the Midwest, and I have to say I am a little excited for fall. This humidity was something I was really not used to, and, as I mentioned before, I was traveling home a lot for weddings and such in August. And every time I came back to the Quad Cities, as soon as I would step off the plane, I was always shocked by how humid and hot it really gets here. I did enjoy some of the warm weather, but being in school during the summer just doesn’t let you take full advantage of all the spare time summer usually offers for hanging out around a lake or a pool and having barbeques and bonfires with your friends.

It wasn’t all that bad though, and, like I said, it really flew by. That is something I am thankful for because that means I am just that much closer to becoming a doctor!

Cheers Eh!


The middle of the week!

Dr. Barber, my microbiology teacher likes to joke that Wednesdays are the only day of the week that she really gets our full attention and interest. She claims that Monday is no good because we are all just coming off the weekend and not really ready to be back in school. And then Tuesday is better, maybe at the same level of attention as Wednesday (which is a good day because we are all back in the groove of school and paying attention). And then Thursday is a big drop off again because we are all just looking forward to the weekend. Then Friday–if there is class–is pretty much a wash because nobody wants to be there.

I think for me it progresses throughout the week. Monday is great because I just had a break, so I’m feeling rested and ready to tackle a new week. And then Tuesday and Wednesday are fairly good. By Wednesday I’m losing focus a bit. Then Thursday is a struggle, and Friday is really tough. Especially if there were exams during the week, and you spent every spare minute you had cramming information into your brain. And that on top of staying up late and getting up early just takes a toll on your mind and body, which makes for a tough Friday.

I think Fridays would be easier for me if all my classes were in the morning and we were done with them all in a row and got out early in the day. Instead of my schedule now where I have class then a break and then class then a break. Each break seems to make it harder and harder to want to stay for the next class!

But looking back, we are already one month done with this trimester, so if the next one goes as fast as this one, we will be hallway done before I know it!

Good luck with the rest of the week everyone!!

And of course, cheers, eh!


One week in the books

(written 7/11 – we’re still catching up on posts!)

Well that does it for the 1st week of 3rd trimester!

I am already enjoying this trimester a lot with some new classes that have some interesting material! I love pathology and microbiology and immunology and learning about how we get sick or injured or infected and then how our bodies are capable of fighting it off and healing.

I think now that I have been in the program for 2 trimesters maybe it is seeming a bit more relaxed because I am starting to get the hang of things. Most of the professors I have this trimester I have had a class with before, and I have a pretty good idea of their style of teaching and what their exams are going to look like, so I feel like I am doing a better job of focusing in on what they are saying and what they emphasize that might be on an exam.

I also feel like I have personally improved my skills. Nunchuck skills, bo hunting skills, computer hacking skills … No, I’m just kidding! I feel like I have learned better how to stay focused in class ,and I have learned what type of studying works for me and just improving my ability to absorb large amount of information and stuff it into every little sulcus and gyri I have. It helps that a lot of our classes are build on top of classes we have already had, so there is some review as well as expanding on things we already know about and making more sense of them or tying them in to other things!

Maybe it has to do with the good weather and the fact I can study outdoors, and getting up in the morning isn’t that hard because the sun has usually beat me up even at 6 a.m.! And staying up later isn’t so bad either because the sun stays up later, so it doesn’t feel like 1 a.m. at 7. The days seem like there are a few more hours, which I could always use!

Have a great day, everyone!

Cheers, eh!


Reviewing old exams … it’s worth the time!

I took the time to go up to my professor’s office to look at one of my old exams. I would highly recommend taking the time to do this to any student at Palmer, especially if the class is cumulative because sometimes the questions you miss the most will show up again on the next exam.

So I went up to Mr. Morter’s office to look through my exam and check all the things he marked wrong on it. Now this is for Spinal 2 and so there are a lot of drawing and fill-in-the blanks on our exams. So it can either go in your favor (if you have a general idea of the answer you can usually get partial credit for writing something close even if you thought you were wrong) or it can go against you if you misspell something or forget the exact wording ( you really have to know your stuff to be able to write it back out vs. picking it out of a lineup like in multiple choice).

When I go back in to look at my exams, I usually already have a pretty good idea of the questions that I got wrong. But sometimes I’m surprised because I made a really stupid mistake because I was rushing or just said the wrong thing even though I am sure I meant to say something else.

So sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not as good as you thought, but either way, going in and taking the time to look over your last exam will help you be a better student by correcting the things you got wrong so you don’t make that mistake again. It can also show you what areas you need to review or look over again.

Give it a try!



Practical Over!

(from Friday) First Spinal 2 lab practical is over! I am feeling pretty good about it. I definitely made some silly mistakes, but overall I’m expecting a good grade. Even though this practical is over and it is one thing to check of my list, I still have a really busy weekend ahead so there won’t be much time to relax and decompress from all the studying for the practical.

This weekend is the David D. Palmer Trust Foundation Seminar for Rugby. A lot of alumni who played rugby here at Palmer are going to be attending, so it will be exciting to get to meet and chat with some people who were once standing in my shoes and see where their achievements have taken them.

Another week is in the books for second trimester, and so far I am surviving. Next week is a short week, so I am definitely looking forward to the long weekend. But I have three exams to tackle first. Biochem, Philosophy and Spinal 2 exam 2.

Wish me luck for another crazy week ahead!

Have a great weekend everyone!



The sun’s out!

Break out the shades and the Frisbees! It hit 55 degrees F today!

Break out the shades and the Frisbees! It hit 55 degrees F today!

Considering the winter we just had, it comes to no surprise the talk around Palmer today was all about the weather! I can proudly say I left my winter coat at home today 🙂 … and it felt amazing to not have to drag it around with me!

But for those of you who remember or who are still taking classes there you will understand when I say I was immediately regretting not having it at soon as I got to Gross 2 in W216. I completely forgot how cold that classroom was, and I sat pretty much numb through the entire class.  But that aside, it was a perfectly beautiful day at 13 degrees! (Or 55 for all you Americans.)

It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do to a person! I really felt the attitude in the classroom and all throughout the school was a little more happy and enthusiastic than it typically is.

This will be my first spring/summer spent in Davenport or even in Iowa at all, so I am curious as to how the summers are. I have heard nothing but good things so far and can’t wait to check out the farmers market and all the festivals and outdoors patios I have been hearing so much about! Hopefully I can find a way to stay motivated and study during all the nice weather!

In the meantime, I am going to keep my guard up just in case we have another bout of cold weather.

Cheers, everybody!



Get to the gym!

19184225.thbEven though we just had a break, it only takes one day back into actual learning to make it feel like you never left! Today was back to routine, which for me means up early for a morning run before a long day of sitting on my Ischial Tubes.

At first I thought I would hate getting up in the morning, and I would get so worn down, but now that I have started doing it I feel like it really helps me get through the day. On the days I don’t run, usually by about the fourth or fifth class in a row of that day, I’m feeling antsy and basically vibrating in my seat. This is usually the class right before lunch, so it comes at a good time but just not soon enough!

I truly think a little exercise will help keep you sane here. With all of the sitting and studying we do, it is so good to have a mental break, lift some of that stress off and feel accomplished! Palmer has a great gym with everything you would need. I was impressed actually by the different areas they provide.

There is an area for all the Crossfit fanatics with rowers and kettle bells and a jungle gym, and then there is a class area with all of the video classes you could imagine provided to play on the big screen, and then there is a weight room and a cardio area, and in between it all there are two basketball courts where people are always setting up some kind of game, whether it is volleyball, pickle, soccer or basketball.

So for those current students that haven’t made it down, give it a try if your feeling bogged down and for those of you coming in, I highly recommend planning on getting involved there and finding something fun to add in to all this structure and work. And for everyone else I hope you can find a good physical activity to help reduce stress in your daily life!

Get to the gym everyone  🙂