Medicine Woman’s Dairy Diaries: orienting to Madison

Posted by on 08.27.08 | 1 Comment
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From America’s Dairyland

PART 1: Corn…

Madison is great. I’ve been all over town already, scoping out the scene and buying things for the house… I don’t have my coffee shop yet, but that will come with time. I’ve eaten Turkish and Thai food already- yeah, new restaurants! I’ve got the major streets down, and all the Targets. I explored the Arboretum one day and walked through campus the next. I went to farmers’ market today AND the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival- local high school girls in aprons husk corn on an assembly line, butter and salt it for you (but that’s if you buy the “tote” of corn, with 6 ears. I bought a single ear, so had to husk my own at what was appropriately labeled the “Single Ear Sweet Corn Processing Station”). I am already eating local cheese, reading about the founder of the Progressive movement in Wisconsin (well, I bought the book but haven’t started it yet), and dating a prenatal neurosurgeon.

OK, that isn’t happening yet either.

PART 2: Cheese…

http://blogs.jsonline.com/fishoutofwater/archive/2007/07/03/ode-to-the-cheese-curd.aspx

Except for the abundant love of cheese curds, I feel I fit in here pretty well. My neighborhood is dotted with Obama yard signs, and it’s a pretty quiet suburban family area. 2 blocks away from Borders and Starbucks, and a few other yuppie chain stores. Definitely not the funky neighborhood, but I kind of like it that way, it’s very peaceful. My roommate is really nice and laid back, likes my cats, and is cooking me zucchini and curried lentil smush tonight. He has opened two bottles of champagne in 5 days, and bought me a maple syrup stick at the farmer’s market today. We’re already talking about spring plantings and have begun the search for living room art. Unless something unexpected turns up, I think I’ve gotten pretty lucky in the roommate department.

I’m starting orientation on Monday. Classes start the following week- Genetics, Immunology, Epidemiology, Biochemistry and something along the lines of “How to be nice to patients and be a human and doctor at the same time.” No cadaver lab until next semester so sorry, there won’t be any gooey stories for a while.

PART III- Medical School!

Day 1 began with a talk about the journey we are about to embark on- to become healers, stewards of the public’s health, ambassadors of the human potential to do good rather than harm… it was both humbling and self-congratulatory, and brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know who aligned all these stars for me, but I thank them for it. I am where I am supposed to be. Honestly, up until I was sitting in that lecture hall and hearing this, I wasn’t sure. I knew at that moment that there will be moments or perhaps waves of doubt, but if I could just remember that feeling, I would get through it all. I didn’t know that the first test of that feeling would come immediately. It was called Orientation Week.

On Day 2, my “House” of 40 fellow students broke into small groups to craft portions of our own professional code of conduct, then “came together” to engage in heated and defensive argument about the professional obligations of a physician-in-training. I didn’t think professional conduct would be such a contentious topic, but I suppose I will have to accept the reality that my own values aren’t universal, even among those sharing many common goals. Surprisingly, for example, not many people were interested in my group’s radical ideas about living within our means, or valuing the empowerment of all people. Maybe I do need to re-examine the difference in my mind between ideals, and obligations. I often confuse the two.

Beth talked about multi-tasking in her recent post, and let me tell you, there’s a new generation of college grads that I don’t get. In a lecture addressing the importance of our medical school curriculum taking a heavily public health-oriented approach (an important message, I thought), I witnessed the following: The girl next to me was listening to head phones, playing Tetris on her laptop, viewing photos from what seemed to be a recent trip to India, reading articles about the Bejing Olympics and security threats in a country I’d never heard of, and typing notes from the lecture (although I can’t imagine what in that lecture she actually heard and was able to write about). I could not stop gaping at her computer screen.

So let me add to the conclusion reached by many, that multi-tasking diminishes the quality of attention and productivity of the multi-tasker. It also diminishes the quality of attention and productivity of the person sitting next to her (me). I need to hatch a plan, find my nook in lecture hall, my cranny of a coffee shop, so that I can keep my low-tech, single-tasking self intact.

Drawing - two young women 
sitting in coffee 
shop, studying. 
fotosearch - search 
clipart, illustration, 
drawings and vector 
eps graphics images

The upside? I found a few like-minded classmates on Friday night and ditched the quasi-mandatory bar crawl to drink chocolate martinis in a cute little hole in the wall next to the Capitol building. Come Monday, I commit to a fresh outlook and renewed faith in this crazy path I’m on!

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