The After Boards Fog

Well Boards are over, and now it’s time to get back to reality. The trimester is moving full steam ahead, whether we are ready for it to or not.

This week has felt a little like slamming into a brick wall where all of the things I was ignoring or putting off to focus on Boards and study need to get done, and I am unprepared for them. This weekend is going to be a much-needed reset. I need to actually look at my calendar and figure out all of the assignments and exams and practicals I have and when they are, do laundry, get groceries and maybe even sleep in a bit.

It has been hard to focus in classes this week. I feel pretty exhausted from studying all the time and like I just want a break to relax and not spend every minute studying. But, on the other hand, I also feel like I have so much spare time on my hands. When school is done and I don’t have to spend the next six hours in a study room cramming information into my brain and I can just spend an hour or two going over things, it feels pretty good.

I think by next week things will be back to normal, but it’s definitely been a bit of a crazy week, feeling like I don’t know what is going on and like my brain isn’t working all the way, resisting putting more information into it.

A Reflection on Part 1 Boards

National Boards is about studying, studying, studying.

National Boards is about studying, studying, studying.

The weeks before Part 1 Boards were pretty crazy. Fifth trimester was just starting up, and our class load that tri was fairly substantial. At the same time as this, we were all feeling pressure to review everything we have learned over the past year here at Palmer so as to prepare for Boards.

The days were long. I would be up at 5 or 6 a.m. to get ready for the day, sometimes going for a run or heading to the gym to clear my head before a long day of school and studying. Classes this trimester start at 7:30 a.m. and go until 4 p.m., so the day was long already and then after all this I would find a study room and start reading through review material until about 10 p.m. each night. This was a pattern for the first three weeks of the trimester.

It felt like there were so many concepts and details to go through, and the more you dove in to learn something, the more information there seemed to be and it was almost overwhelming to think of all the questions they could ask.

It is a bit of a game studying for Boards. There are things you focus on because professors and other students and even review classes will tell you certain things that boards will focus on and that you should know a certain thing really well. So the entire time you are studying, you’re trying to learn all the exceptions and rules and trying to guess what things seems more important to know that they would ask.

The stress was high for sure, but I think it’s good to be a little stressed about doing well, I think this means you care about it. You want to do well, and it’s important to you, so you worry and you stress, which helps you to focus and move through all the review material.

Overall the studying was good. Going over some things made me feel really smart, and it helped me to start putting things into a bigger picture instead of just small details. It has proved to me how much I have learned and how far I have come in a year and made me really proud of myself.

I hope all my classmates feel that way after taking Part 1 Boards. And if you haven’t yet, I hope you feel like that when your time comes.




My Favorite Trimester

Snow angel

Snow angel

I have to say that the winter trimester is my favorite one. This is the trimester I started in, and I think it is the best one to start in because of the winter recess for Christmas.

Not only is everyone in such a good mood because of the holidays coming up, but having a break right in the middle of the trimester allows you to catch up if you were feeling behind and unprepared. Our program is pretty intense, so having the break will allow you to spend some time catching up or even getting organized and ahead for the exams and things coming up right after the break.

Then if you took some time over the break to catch up and prepare for that stuff, finals is only about a month away and you are a little more prepared for the because you took the time to study properly instead of cramming for everything.

This Christmas break I will be spending a lot of time going over things for National Boards. I have Boards in March, so this break comes at a great time for me to be able to go back and study older material without having to be in class and studying for new material at the same time.

Then again, I will be in Sweden visiting my fiancé for the holidays, so it’s probably going to be pretty hard to study!


First Exam of 3rd Trimester!

Even though we are already about a month into the trimester, we had our first exam. I always think it’s funny how for the first month there is nothing really going on at school, so you don’t really feel any pressure to study or be productive. And then all of a sudden in one week you have an exam in every class you have.

Being in 3rd trimester now, though, I have learned my lesson. I have fallen into a groove where I feel like I am ahead of the game. I kept on top of my studying so I am more ready for the bombardment of exams I have in the upcoming weeks than I would have been previously.  Also I have two weddings over the next two weekends, so I was forced to do some studying ahead of time–because I know I won’t be able to utilize the weekends I am gone to get as much studying done as I would if I was here at home all day.

The first test went well! It was in pathology and I really enjoyed how our professor (Dr. Roeker) did an overview of the notes on YouTube so I could sit at home and listen to him explaining things that maybe I missed in class. I found it really helpful to have a complete overview of all the material on the exam in a few hours instead of how it is in class over the weeks prior.

It makes me think about recording the lectures and listening to them at home that night or on the weekend and going over the notes with the lecture so I have them in front of me and the teachers explanations there to listen to as well.

Do you record lectures? I would love some feedback on it if you do!

Cheers, eh


Day Off … Not

So I’m writing this on Memorial Day, which, yes, it was a holiday from school since there were no classes. But that didn’t stop me from spending time at the school. With finals approaching fast, my Monday was spend in the lab at P.A.S.S. preparing for Spinal and Gross Anatomy lab finals.

Lab finals are typically held before finals week, which is nice because it gets those out of the way and means I won’t have to worry about getting in to the lab to study during finals week when I already have other exams to study for.

Because the lab hours are limited it, gets pretty busy in there and so you want to get in the earlier the better to start seeing things and getting familiar with them so when the lab gets busy you don’t have to fight with 10 other people to see one pro section you were hoping to work on.

I am getting really excited to be done with labs and not have to stay at the school super late and have two things to think about for one class and to be able to pass on my stinky coat to a first trimester student who will need it, because we won’t have to be in the lab again after second trimester unless you decide to become a P.A.S.S. lab tutor.

On the flip side, I know it is pretty rare to get the opportunity I did to work in a cadaver lab and be able to learn as much as I have about the human body and see first hand the variation and amazing things the body does to work and heal and function. We, as chiropractic students, are among a small percentage of the population that is learning about the things we are and getting to see the things we do!

Back to the books!



Drained and ready for a break

Thank goodness for Easter weekend! These last three weeks have been a grind … running on not enough sleep and more coffee than I thought I would ever have drank. This little break was exactly what I needed to help recuperate and prepare for the upcoming weeks.

Sometimes it just feels like you hit a wall, and you don’t think you can possibly stay focused or learn another thing, and right now that’s where I’m at. I cannot wait to take at least one night off and just not look at any books and turn the TV on and catch some playoff hockey! We do have an exam next week, but it’s only one and a whole six days away, so I don’t need to be cramming at all hours of the day and night.

The good thing about Palmer during these heavy exam weeks is that the professors communicate with each other, and many of them were once in our spots and know exactly how we feel. They know when to ease off the gas pedal in one class so we can put more focus on others by giving clinical lectures or going at a slower pace. It’s nice to feel like they are here to help us, reinforcing and encouraging us through a stressful time.

But I am glad last week is over. I am totally drained and cannot wait to get home to my couch.

Cheers everyone!


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!



Spinal Lab Practical #1

All last week our class was completing their lab practical for Spinal 2. This class is a little bit notorious around the school for being a major contributor for the difficulty level of 2nd trimester. So it is safe to say all my classmates and I are cramming and carrying around our bag of bones so we can mark color them in and practice identifying parts of all the bones.

I heard that they were removing the spinal 1 class that I had in first trimester, which I think is unfortunate for the new trimesters coming in. I definitely feel like spinal 1 is the reason I am not stressing out as much about this practical.

The exam is 2 hours long, the first hour is in the lab with the cadaver identifying muscles and structures, and the second hour is upstairs in a classroom identifying features on bones of the vertebral column and ribs. We are responsible for knowing all the actions and innervations that go along with the muscles we might be asked to identify so it is a lot of information to put in your head.

I’m really glad that we have access to some of the bones with markings on them like they will be on the exam, it has helped immensely to be able to go in and practice on those. Also, the P.A.S.S session for this class has been super helpful. Especially the bone review, just because the way he asks questions and they way he expects us to write our answers is very unique. And if you didn’t know at all, you could easily fail this exam even though you identify the right feature.

So thank you to Afua and the P.A.S.S program for helping me out with this exam! One more night to put it all in there, and then it’s go time!

Wish me luck!