Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm so pretty, and witty, and gay!

Through my research fellowship we're supposed to take at least one grad level class per semester. Last semester I took Biostats, and it was so boring it made me want to gnaw my own face off. I was also taking it pass/fail, which basically meant I'd get a big P even if I never went to class, never did the homework, and never took any exams. Which is basically what I did.

This semester I decided to forego the grad school syllabus and got special permission to take an undergrad level Spanish class, because I figured that'd be far more useful than trying to learn the Mann-Whitney U test or whatever because that's what we hire statisticians to do for us anyway. So today was the very first day of Spanish class. I strolled in munching my blueberry muffin and slurping my Starbucks coffee and simultaneously checking my voicemail. I picked up a copy of the syllabus as I walked in and saw a list of rules printed sternly at the top:

1. NO FOOD NO DRINK NO CELL PHONES. Oops. (And are you serious? You're going to have 7:30 AM class and not let people drink COFFEE? In med school there was practically a buffet going every morning at lecture. And then we would use the 10 minute break between lectures to go buy more food. I spilled coffee all over myself more times than I care to remember.)

2. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MISS A SINGLE CLASS EVER IF YOU ARE ABSENT FROM CLASS I WILL REQUIRE DOCUMENTATION AND GIVE YOU EXTRA HOMEWORK. Well that's just annoying. No one cared if you missed class in med school. In fact it was sort of welcome because your empty desk gave people a place to put their coffee and breakfast.

3. BE ON TIME ALL TESTS AND WEEKLY QUIZZES WILL BE GIVEN IN THE FIRST MINUTE OF CLASS . TWO LATE ARRIVALS OF MORE THAN 5 MINUTES WILL COUNT AS AN ABSENCE. If we had that rule in med school I would have flunked out before Thanksgiving of my M1 year. I always managed to walk in about 30 seconds after the lecturer had started talking. It was an art I perfected over 2 years of daily 8 AM lecture.

4. YOU MUST TURN IN HOMEWORK WHEN IT IS DUE LATE HOMEWORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A GRADE OF ZERO. We didn't really have 'homework' through med school, but I guess the closest would have been the 8,000 stupid essays on ethics and feelings and compassion we had to write every week. I think they sort of expected us to never get those in on time. They used to send out reminders towards the end of a unit telling us how many essays we hadn't turned in yet.

That was all the retardedness of college that I realized I totally don't miss. (And damn! I definitely don't remember being this disciplined when I was in college.)

Anyway, at the end of class as we were all getting our things together to leave the girl sitting next to me who I'd sort of been chatting with before class asked me if I had class now or did I want to walk over to the bookstore together to go get the textbooks and by the way her name is Carrie. I was secretly thrilled (She thinks I'm a college student!! Maybe 3 years of med school did not in fact suck away my youth and inner happiness and optimistic nature!!) and it also made me a little sad and nostalgic for those days of college and even through the first year of med school where you just want to meet people and make friends and you're all just so happy to be there and everyone loves each other and wants to go out together all the time and it's all just one big lovefest.

Until 2nd and 3rd year when the intense competition and brutal work schedule pits you all against each other and you start to hate everyone because you're just so damn sick of seeing them all the damn time and it makes you ill to even set foot in the library because all the gunners will be in there dorking it up and you just want to tell them to GET A LIFE and stop studying 18 hours a day and ruining the curve for the rest of us and you're pissed off at them for always knowing everything in the most obnoxious way possible and being able to answer all the pimp questions at rounds even the dumb ones like "Who were these surgical forceps named after?" and "Who is the glass case in the lobby of University of Chicago's women's hospital reserved for?" (usually Adson or DeBakey and for whoever discovers the cause of preeclampsia, by the way) but you're also secretly a little pissed at yourself because you don't have that kind of work ethic or capacity for concentration and you have these pathetic weaknesses like the need for sleep and human contact and you become a bitter mean old lady.

Whew...umm...sorry. I got a little sidetracked. Now where was I? Oh, yes. Spanish class. Muchos diversiones.


oodles said...

I'd like to defend Biostats by saying it was the easiest class I ever took in grad school. At some point, my friends and I would take exams in pen, just to make it a little difficult.
Espanol es bueno, pero no me gusta "the rules" de la clase.

punchberry said...

I am an M1, and we actually do have one class (Biostats) where we are not allowed to eat. Consequently, nobody goes.

I think you should push the limit by chewing gum and see what happens.

I am jealous, though. I stupidly took French in high school, and hope that I will get my act together and learn Spanish one day.

square peg said...

Ahhh...M1 year. How I miss it. (Well I don't miss memorizing the 11 branches of the external carotid artery or the thrilling minutia of lipid synthesis, but I do miss the M1 lovefest. God bless it.)

Anonymous said...

I teach entry level college French and wanted to say that I sincerely hope you know that stuff like that in core curriculum syllabi is not aimed at people who actually have their shit together like you. :) I speak from experience when I say that the more one deals with 18/19 -yr olds (at least at big state schools, for example) in this country, the more stringent one's syllabus becomes - each of those rules was probably borne of very specific situations with previous students who made them necessary. We instructors would like nothing better than not to have to concern ourselves with such drivel and nit-pickiness; we long just to Teach and have as enjoyable a time as possible doing so with our students.... The current post-high school generation simply can't be trusted to conduct themselves with much semblance of responsibleness. Sad but true, at least in my own experience and, I'd guess, in that of your Spanish teacher.

SquirrleyMojo said...

the lovefest.

yep, i'm stuck in that track--in fact, i want to be your new best friend--