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Med Diaries 001

 Happy April everyone! A new month has brought a new blog series to these parts and I can't wait to share it with you all!

Med Diaries will be a once-a-month series where I share how the past month has gone for me in terms of my life as a medical student, and as well as that I'll be sharing resources, accounts, websites and anything else that I've found useful that I think other medical students will find useful too. I share my daily med student life on Instagram so if you want a day-to-day glimpse into the life of a med student in China, be sure to follow me on there!

Also, to see my real-life "day in the life" of a med student in China, be sure to check out my YouTube channel!

We started online classes on the 24th of February so it's already been over a month of this new lifestyle. I made a blog post on the reality of online classes where I gave tips for anyone who has now shifted online, but it was pretty general and applicable to any kind of degree.

As an MBBS student, online classes are really not conducive to our learning. I know in other countries, online lectures are preferred by a lot of students, but for us in China actually being in lecture is the only way we're taught. We don't have labs anymore (more on that later) so our days are only spent on live lectures and studying. This semester, I'm taking regional anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, Chinese language and Sports (lol yes, that last one's online too).

Anatomy was my favourite last semester because systemic anatomy is very straightforward - we went through each system in the body starting with the skeletal system and ending with neuro anatomy. This semester is regional anatomy where we go through each region of the body and learn everything to do with it at once. We started with the upper limb, the thoracic region, then the lower limb and pelvic region, and we started the back today - all online! It's much more difficult than last time because having to learn all the nerves, vessels, muscles, diseases and everything else all at once is overwhelming and taking up a lot of brain power.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that biochemistry is essentially the bane of my life right now. I'm not naturally good at chemistry so it's been hard motivating myself and understanding the content. Some parts have been pretty good - carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids so far have been decent but the rest of it is just not meshing well with me. I've been trying to find a good study method for it, so we'll see if that works over the coming weeks.

Lab is an essential part of a medical student's education. This semester we were supposed to start dissecting cadavers in anatomy to work on finding all the structures we learn about in lectures, but we aren't able to do that with our university still not opening. Our lab exams make up 30% of our final grade for anatomy and biochemistry, and if we happen to open as normal near the exam, it'll be near impossible to study well and pass with a good grade.

I'm worried about being rushed to study everything in a short space of time and not have enough time to review everything we're rushing over. It's scary how our education has been essentially put on hold and pushed back indefinitely. Considering how hard regional anatomy is compared to systemic anatomy, and also throwing in the fact that biochemistry would be 100x easier to understand if we had lab, the fact that we don't have lab is just very unfortunate.

We had an online lab session for anatomy where we watched a video of a dissection and had our lecturer explain what was going on but it's just not the same!

Physiology has been an amazing subject so far! We have a specific Chinese-English textbook we're supposed to use, but since we haven't been able to go into school to buy textbooks, we're left to our own devices. I looked for it online and ended up finding another gem instead - Guyton & Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. Everything in it is laid out clearly and the illustrations help with understanding the info. It flows well with the way our teacher's PowerPoints are laid out so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything that would be in the Chinese-English textbook.

For biochemistry, I need all the resources I can get my little hands on! USMLE Step 1 Lecture Notes for Biochemistry & Medical Genetics, and Lippincott Illustrated Reviews: Biochemistry have been good for trying to understand the difficult bits of content we're covering. 

All the PDF versions of these books can be found with a simple Google search if you think they'll be useful!

The only online resource I want to share right now has been Teach Me Anatomy. It is hands down the best website for learning anatomy. Everything is simple and straightforward and it takes the most difficult concepts and makes it easy to understand within a single study session. I've been using the website since the first semester of med school and it's just as handy now as it was back then. They lay out each part of the body and everything to do with it - so everything to do with the head is all in one section, and same goes for the leg, or pelvis etc. If you're a med student, bookmark it and save it for later because it will definitely come in handy!

So that's been the first edition of this new series I've been thinking of doing for a while now! 

I hope it's been interesting for the med students out there and if you have anything you've found useful or helpful this semester in med school, do let me know in the comments below!

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