Monday, 28 February 2011

First day back

So the first day back went pretty good. I'm sure that I'm going to come to hate Mondays pretty fiercely, as I start with a two hour lecture at 9am, followed by a two hour class, we then have a one hour lunch break then a two hour lecture and two hour class again. I don't know if it's just me, but nine hours on a Monday seems pretty intense.

It was good to get back into it though, to see everyone from last year that I haven't kept in contact with and also to get back into the swing of learning things. As apposed to last year, all the subjects this year are very nursing-based. Acute Care, Assessment and Decisions and Medications in Nursing. I suppose it's good to get into the practical side of things and especially medications, but I already feel that I'm missing science subjects. Good then, that I am taking chemistry and physics this year as extras.

I've felt the need to shave my beard for the last month or so, and I kept telling my self that I would before uni stated again, however I never got around to it. No one really seemed to make comment, but I think people are questioning as to why I would have such a thing on my face. It's not exactly well kept, it's really just a product of my laziness. I don't know why my beard is significant, but I can see myself looking back at this post in a year or two and laughing at it. I'll have to try and get a picture of it on here, which is difficult because Corrin (fiance) doesn't have the usb cable to hook up her camera to the computer. I also find it funny that one of my favorite hobbies is taking pictures, and I have about 12 cameras, but not one of them is digital...

On a side note, my cat Pippin will not shut the hell up. I suppose it's time to feed the little fatty. I do have a picture of him available, so enjoy.

Thanks again for the interest and the well wishes in the comments, I really do appreciate them.


Here he's decided that my pants make a warm bed immediately after ironing them early one morning.

Sunday, 27 February 2011


So tomorrow's that day! Finally starting uni again.

I'd also like to apologize for not updating for the last few days, I've just been busy with work and getting ready for school and other things. I do want to try and update each day, so I'll make an effort to be more prompt with that.

Today was mostly spent printing out an abundance of things that we're going to need for uni; subject guides, assignments guides, lecture notes, additional information, et cetera. Unfortunately, after printing about 200 pages, the toner in my laser printer ran out and I can't print anything more. I called officeworks to see how much a new toner cartridge costs, and it's about $80 (as much as the printer in the first place). I suppose it's my own fault for not checking that when I bought the thing, but I still think it's stupid that they charge so much for toner. Anyway, I'm not going to be able to afford that for another couple weeks or so, as a bunch of bills came in in the last couple of weeks, so I'll just have to head over to my parents' place to do printing.

Another money killer is the textbooks. I'm looking at about $800 all up for just the ones that I need (far less than all of the recommended books). So they're going to have to wait as well. I'm not too concerned about the nursing ones, as last year I was able to get by alright just sharing books with other people and using library copies for a while. However, this year I have the two subjects that I'm doing through OUA (physics and chemistry) that I really need the textbooks for, as I'm doing them over the internet. I'm thinking that if I budget correctly, I should be able to afford them in the next couple of weeks. I can't wait any later than that though, because stuff is due in week two for both subjects..

Also, looking at the physics stuff today looked a bit daunting. If anyone that follows has had something to do with physics, I would love to have someone that I could ask questions.

Again, thanks for the follows and whatnot, I'm going to make some dinner now. Be sure to check back tomorrow, I'll be letting everyone know how the first day went.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

First day of uni for first year students

Today was the first day that all of the first-years got orientated to the university, and guess what? I was helping orientate them! The day went pretty smoothly, just guided them to the lecture halls they needed to be at, then to lunch, then in the afternoon, a full tour of the campus. It was good to meet some of the new students, it was also good to catch up with my classmates that I haven't seen over the summer break. We also got some faculty of health sciences t-shirts, a usb flash drive and a $50 gift card, so I guess it wasn't entirely voluntary!

Later in the evening I attended the annual trivia night that they have during orientation week at the uni. It was pretty fun, but lots of sexual innuendo, as they're trying to keep the interest of 18 year olds. My team of second years didn't win, or even come close for that matter, but it was still a really fun night.

Corrin (fiance) finished work at 10pm, we had a late dinner (11pm) then after a bit of relaxation and talking to my brother on the phone that's living in South Korea, we made our way to the gym at about 1am. I suppose that I haven't mentioned that I've started going to the gym recently, as I'm trying to lose weight. I think I might keep a record of my progress on here if anyone is interested. Anyway, it's 3am now, I'm tired and I work at 7:30am, so I should be able to fit in 3 hours of sleep.

Nighty night blog world, and thanks for the comments and interest, I honestly wasn't sure if anyone was actually going to be interested.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

University peer mentoring program

I attended another training session today, although this one was more intense; 0900-1700. Augh, it's definitely hard to sit at a desk and listen to people tell you what you already know for a whole day. Reminds me of some of the first year subjects about professionalism and communication... Anyway, I digress. As I said in my earlier post, this mentoring program is for first year university students that may be finding it difficult transitioning into university life.

I'm excited for this program, but in a different way from the middle school program. In this one, I'll have my own group of five students that I look after for the whole semester. We meet once a week and talk about how things are going and I give them guidance and whatever they need to help them get along in uni. It's the program's first year, so it will be interesting to see how it works without have the guidance of previous mentors to help us. However, I'm sure if things go to plan, it will be very helpful to the first-years (as myself and others would have definitely benefited last year). I'm also sure it will help me with my social skills and teaching skills (only a little, as we're not actually allowed to teach them things). The main thing is that it will look good on my resume, and also counts towards a La Trobe award.

On a side note, I got my guide books and things from Murdoch University today for my chemistry and physics subjects. I can't access any of the course work until the 26th though. Exciting!

Just can't wait to start!

in2science mentoring program

Late last year I applied to be part of this mentoring program called in2science that involves university students, that have completed at least one year of a science-related degree, going into middle-schools and acting as a mentor to the students encouraging them to keep an interest in science. The story behind it is that the Victorian government recognized that there is a decline in specific science-related university graduates (mainly mathematics, physics and chemistry), and they are funding this program as a long-term solution to that problem. I was invited to participate in the program earlier this month and attended a training session yesterday. Which is the reason I didn't blog yesterday, as I was at this thing from 0900-1400 and then at work from 1430-2200.

So yeah, I'm really excited to participate. I'll be going into a school for three hours a week and assisting in a science-related class and just generally encouraging kids to take an interest in science. If I complete one semester of this, I get a nice certificate and a shirt, if I do two semesters I get morning tea with the dean of the university, and then subsequent semesters they work out other prizes and badges for you. So very eager to get in and inspire young minds.

I'm sure it will also help me build my communication skills, my teaching skills and should help me revise and subjects that I may be rusty in. The trainer guy even said that we can run presentations or demonstrations for the class! I'd love to do a physics-related demonstration, something akin to what Walter Lewin of MIT does in his physics lectures that are hosted on Academic Earth. And just a note about Academic Earth; I really have to recommend it to anyone that is considering studying certain fields, or even is already studying. It has entire semesters-worth of world class lectures from Harvard, Yale, Stanford et cetera, and is an invaluable resource for anyone interested or studying particular subjects.

I'll wrap up now; in my next blog I'll talk about the training session I did today. It was for another mentor program, but this one is for first year university students in my course, nursing.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

So busy at work... not really.

So I work at the local hospital as an "Operating Room Assistant". This basically consists of cleaning and setting up the operating theatres in the morning, positioning and moving patients for surgery, setting up and use of surgical equipment and cleaning up after surgery. I enjoy the job, as it gives me insight into what I'm studying, and I have access to a whole host of nurses and doctors to ask questions about things I want to know.

For the most part, things are pretty busy. Lots of running around and organising things and making sure things run smoothly. Sometimes we even get the big emergencies when people are dying and all that and it's loads of fun. But sometimes, namely on weekends, it's just slow, so slow in fact, that we sometimes don't even do a single case for the whole day.

Today is one of those days. I've literally been sitting around, then getting up and trying to find something to clean, then sitting back down, then getting up and mindlessly wondering around the suite. It's just SO boring and it makes the day go by so completely slow. I suppose I should appreciate it though, sometimes when people call in sick and you've got twice the work to do... shit you wish it was slow.

Anyway, I'll finish off with a thought. One of the doctors I was talking to last week said that when you go into a lecture, it's better to just put down the pen and paper and sit back and really try and listen and understand what your professor is saying. He said that if you spend all of your time madly trying to write down the exact words coming out of his mouth, you'll never take anything in. I'm thinking of trying this technique this year to see if I retain lecture information any better. It should work out pretty good anyway, because the university provides us with lecture printouts anyway that basically have all the information we need on them. Any other university students out there, what do you think?

Edit: Haha, just as soon as I posted that, one of the surgeons came in to book a case for this afternoon.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Just waiting...

I'm actually getting pretty anxious to get back to uni. As good as it sounds, a three month break just feels too long for me, as I've been working far too much.

Subjects this semester are:

Acute Care A
Medications in Nursing
Clinical Assessment & Decisions

These aren't including the two subjects that I'm doing via correspondence from another university on the other side of the country, which are:

Introduction to Chemistry
Introduction to Physics

Am I going to handle it all alright? I only hope so. One thing that would probably help is if I bought my $990 worth of textbooks. Oh well, I suppose I don't really need them all. Last year I made it through with only two of the required ten or so books.

I guess I can't complain about the money side of things seeing as I don't have to pay tuition for years to come; probably my favorite thing about Australia.

Friday, 18 February 2011


Well I suppose the title and description of the blog say it all. I'm currently about to start the second year of a three year nursing degree , while trying to keep my grades as high as possible to help my chances of getting into med school. As a break down, I'll go through what needs to be done in Australia to get into med school.

First of all is your undergraduate degree. It doesn't matter what it is as long as you keep your grades up. GPA's in many of Australia's universities are out of 7 (7 for an A, 6 for a B, et cetera). In general, you won't be considered for medicine with a GPA below 5.5 (around 65% average). For me, in my degree, I seem to have this covered fairly well already as my GPA after my first year is 6.875 (I believe this only accounts for something like 15% of my final GPA, as each year is progressively weighted higher towards the end of the degree).

Second is the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT). This is a five hour exam that every post-graduate entrant into medical school must sit. It's composed of three parts; a reasoning in humanities section, a written communication section and a reasoning in science section. This first section seems pretty straight forward as long as you can read a passage of writing and accurately intemperate what the writer was trying to convey. The second section is slightly more difficult, it basically consists of writing two essays in an hour. I don't really have a problem with writing essays, but I'm definitely going to have to practice writing about random subjects in short amounts of time. 

The third section seems tricky as well; 40% chemistry, 40% biology and 20% physics. Chemistry I'm pretty mediocre with, I only know as much as I needed to get through my first year of anatomy and physiology, so I'll have to brush up on that. I'm a bit better with biology, as it played a pretty big role in my first year of nursing. However, as far as physics go, I don't have anything more than a general knowledge of household principles. For those reasons, I've taken it upon myself to prepare early for this exam that holds such an important place in my future.

Just last week I enrolled in some extra subjects at a different university to help my with my weak points. Open Universities Australia is a great organisation that lets you study individual subjects or even entire degrees from the convenience of your own home. I enrolled in " Introduction to Chemistry " and " Introduction to Physics " which both go over a single semester. I only wanted to enroll in very basic subjects, and just start out with two, because I'm not sure how I'll handle them as well as doing my normal university work, working and spending time with the fiance. I do have plans however to do more advanced subjects this year and next in preparation for med school.

And finally, the last hurdle I need to overcome to allow me in is the dreaded interview. Almost all medical schools have it and it is generally weighted pretty highly. I haven't looked into it too much, but my understanding is that it basically consists of you sitting and talking to three people for about 30 minutes while they try and interpret your abilities to be a team leader, to make decisions and to stick to your principles and also to make sure you're not just in it for the money.

Well that's enough for now. I congratulate anybody that actually read this entire post. I don't really mind if no one reads it I suppose, I'm actually pretty happy just to have this blog here as a record of my thoughts that I can look back on. My intentions are to update on my progress as far as getting into med school, as well as general everyday things that I may think that my readers (or my future self) may find interesting.