Two years as a PA student in the rolling hills of corn

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Summer rundown!

So, apparently more people read this blog than I thought- because I have had many friends and family kindly inform me that they had been checking my blog and there were no new updates...
So yeah, I stink at keeping up. Sorry!! But you know how sometimes on TV shows they will do a quick rundown of the entire season just in case you missed anything epic? Well that's what I'm going to do! Ready? Okay!

June went something like this:

"I have a test today. I have a test tomorrow. And there's a good chance I have a test on Friday as well. And just when I think I have accomplished something, I realize I have 2 tests next week as well...Sleep? Whats sleep? I vaguely remember that being part of a fairytale I heard once..."

In July, a number of things happened:

1. Iowa showed me the meaning of the phrase "hot and humid." Seriously, at one point I was walking home from class, and I realized the air was so thick and wet and hot that it felt more like water than air! I was so uncomfortable and could hardly breathe- I knew I needed a massive adjustment in perspective if I was going to survive. So I stopped, closed my eyes, and imagined I was in the pool at my family's hot springs. I swirled my arms back and forth through the air like I was treading water, and tried to pretend that I was just taking a nice hot soak before going in for a massage... it helped a ton! Of course, then I REALLY wanted that massage- oh well. :)

2. I sawed a person's head in half in anatomy class. I am not kidding. Forgive me if this sounds a bit morbid, but holy cow, that was cool! I am continually blown away by how amazing the human body is- and by how much more courage I have in dissecting cadavers than I thought I would. Later in August we got to attend a special funeral ceremony to honor all the people who had donated their bodies to our school, it was pretty neat.

3. I found a reason to dislike the trees. It seems like everywhere you park in Iowa City, its under a tree. Which sounds great initially- shade and all that. But those trees are sneaky!! They wait for you to park, and then they start showering this awful sticky powdery stuff all over your car! Its like coating the windshield in a combo of hairspray and dust- I don't even know where the stuff comes from, but its like every tree in the city has a massive stash of it that they cant wait to dump all over unsuspecting vehicles. Stupid trees. The car wash got a lot of my money this summer, and still my car never looked clean...

August was fun! Finals week came, and it was a total breeze compared to the craziness of the rest of summer semester! I moved to a new apartment (pictures to come later) and got two new roommates, who I think are awesome. Moving was a crazy ordeal, since I had three days after my summer lease ended before I could move into my new place. So I was homeless for the weekend. Ended up renting a room at the medical frat house, which is in this giant creepy brick mansion. I loved it! It had all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies and odd sounds in the night- I was imagining all sorts of ghost stories while I studied. Delicious fun!

And I got to go to the Iowa State Fair. Now that was an experience. If I'm ever asked to summarize Iowa culture in 3 words or less, I know exactly what I will say: Corn, Pork, Butter. Thats it.

Holey moley! I have never seen so much corn, or so many different types in my life! It was actually pretty cool. We went to the Ag building, and I was so fascinated by all the corn on display that I kept pausing to take pictures, and I swear everyone in the building was looking at me like I was from outer space. Might as well have tattooed a giant TOURIST sign right across my forehead- you'd think I'd never seen corn before.

Then we got in line to see the butter cow. Yes, I said BUTTER COW. 2000 lbs of butter made up this amazing statue, and apparently I came to Iowa the right year because this wasn't just any old butter cow- this was the 100th anniversary of the butter cow! They even had a replica of the original one right next to it... and I couldn't help but wonder how many batches of chocolate chip cookies you could make with all that... :)

There was also a big butter-carving contest every day (for the purpose of training future cow-carvers, no doubt!) and there was even a big stand selling... get this, fried butter. Seriously! they like rolled up a stick of butter in some dough and sugar, and then deep fried the thing in more butter! My curiosity was peaked, but I was unable to sample this heart-clogging-confection because the line was way too long! So yeah, apparently Iowa is butter happy. And I don't fully know why- I thought Wisconsin was the big cheese when it came to dairy in the midwest... (haha "big cheese," get it? yeah I know, bad pun :)

last but not least: Pork. Really quick, try to imagine every way you have ever heard of eating pork, and then triple it! That's what they had at the fair. Pork on a stick. pork on a bun. fried pork. roasted pork. BBQ shredded pork. Countless pork possibilities- the aroma was floating on the air everywhere we went. As a side note, I also saw 4-day-old piglets. They were cute, and somewhat delicious looking given the smell in the air...

Anyway, that's my bizarre summer in a nut shell! And now its fall semester- back to school and all sorts of different craziness. Which I will catch up on later... I hope ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Let there be pictures!

Welcome to the photo tour of my current life

First of all, my home. No, this isn't the one I sleep in, but its definitely where I live! This is the Medical Education and Research Facility, fondly known as MERF. I have almost every class here all day M-F, and then I stick around the community areas to study in the evening. Yep- home sweet home!

On my way back to my "other residence," I pass this amazingly creepy building and get a little shudder! This picture kind of stinks, but it has all this gothic stonework and across the front says "Medical Laboratories" etched in awesome vintage lettering, with cracks running through it and dead vines across it. I half expect to see one of the windows light up with blue streaks of electricity and hear Dr. Frankenstein scream "It's Aliiiive!" every time I walk by. Fun stuff!

Next is this gorgeous path that goes right through campus- and there are paths like this all over! This picture totally doesn't do it justice- I am literally awestruck every time I go by. Iowa= green everywhere! I am totally loving it. But then again, this path has a dark side. Apparently its known as "Stalker Hollow." Yeah, I don't think I'll be going near it at night....

Here's the amazingly beautiful building where I get to go to church /institute, and the place where I get to park for free! (Campus parking is an expensive nightmare, but the institute is only about a 10 min walk from class so it works great.) The inside is even prettier....winding staircase, intricate rugs, pillars everywhere... I love it!

And last but not least, my house! My apartment is actually in the back, so I don't get to take advantage of this fun porch. But that's probably a good thing since i don't have the time anyway. :)

Well, there you go! This week started our massive string of exams (at least two a week for the rest of the summer) so I wont be posting as often. But at least now you have a visual! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My hair smells like embalming fluid...

Yes, everywhere I go the lovely stench of dissected flesh wafts behind me on the breeze. (It happens when you spend 3 hours a day in a cadaver lab...) I finally figured out how to get the smell off my hands by double gloving and washing up to my elbows multiple times after lab- but no amount of shampooing had fully gotten it out of my hair! Yuck.

I have to admit though, its totally worth it! The human body is so amazing- and ten times more so when you get to see every little piece up close and in person. It seems like we should be grossed out every second, but its really not that bad. In fact, its rather fun! The hours fly by and I always get a twinge of disappointment when class is over. (Which is usually right when I have finally cut down to the really interesting stuff!) We are in half of a giant lab full of bodies, (like 30) and the other half of the room is a Head and Neck Surgery class. I keep overhearing the instructions from their professor, and it sounds like what they get to do is way awesome! I could go on in a vividly descriptive manner- but I don't want to gross anyone out. haha

Classes are hard. Not that the information is all that difficult to grasp- most of it so far is pretty familiar. But the VOLUME! It feels like I've gone through a couple of weeks and its only been 3 days. Hours and hours of studying already.... but I really am loving it. :) We've gotten pretty close as a class, and today in anatomy a couple of girls remembered it was my birthday so I had to stand up and everyone sang to me! It was nice. :)

Iowa gets weirder the longer I am here. In addition to freakishly nice people, we had a tornado warning the first week I was here, crazy thunderstorms nearly every night since, and oh- gas is MORE expensive for regular than premium. Something having to do with ethanol content. How weird is that??

Okay, I swear I will post pictures soon!! I took my camera to campus one day, but forgot I had taken the memory card out. :( I guess my brain is slightly occupied!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I have arrived!

Today was orientation to PA school - aka, an opportunity to practice not hyperventilating and passing out in public when given thoroughly overwhelming information! This summer is going to be tough. REALLY TOUGH. Lets just say I'm wishing I had left all my "fun books" at home (since I wont get a chance to even crack them open) and saved the room in my car for something really useful. Like a coffin for my social life. haha.

In all seriousness though, I am really excited! I have my new fancy hospital access card that makes me feel all official, and I cant wait to start learning interesting things that I actually want to keep in my head after the final is over... :)

Iowa is gorgeous. Green and lush and just plain beautiful! I feel like I live in a park. The humidity is obvious to me already, and from what I hear, this is nothing compared to August! I have yet to see the lightening bugs that everyone talks about, but its still too cold I think. I did see two fluffy little bunnies in my backyard though. Right in the middle of the city- crazy! But since the whole place looks more like some type of fairytale forest than skyscraper land, I dont blame the bunnies for getting confused.

The people here are extremely friendly- almost to the point of making me wonder if there is anything funny in the water... I bought my bed from a lady through craigs list, and ten minutes after I met her she said "well now you have a contact in Iowa, feel free to call me if you ever need anything!" And when I got lost on campus and asked a guy for directions, even though he didn't know where my building was, he still helped me out- he pulled out his smart phone, Googled the address, used his GPS to find the best route to the building, and then led me there! Who does that? Apparently super friendly Iowans do. :)

I live super close to the school, and most of the time I can just walk to class. On rainy days, though, get to park at the LDS institute for free! (parking in Iowa City is a monster, so this saves me a ton of cash and hassle) The singles branch seems pretty awesome so far, and they have been extremely helpful in getting me moved in and oriented to the city. Lots of Church history around here, and I'm excited to discover it! I got lost the other day and somehow ended up at a place called Mormon Handcart Park, which I think is one of the major campsites of the pioneers. There is also a Mormon Trek Blvd, which follows their path out of the city. And of course Nauvoo, IL close by.

Well thats about it. Not too much excitement yet- though I have learned a few interesting things in the last few days:

*Do not attempt to curl your hair on a rainy day. Seriously- dont even try. I dont care how many bottles of gel you just put in it. Its pointless. Give up.

*Wyoming was such a boring drive, my car almost fell asleep.

* Do not attempt to disagree with a Hawkeye fan on the subject of University of Iowa's obvious supremacy. You were wrong before you opened your mouth