Thursday, October 2, 2008

Anatomy of a medical student

As it often does, Thursday brought some interesting events. Some students in the morning had made an announcement suggesting we play anatomy Pictionary. The idea was for part entertainment, part education, with exams coming up next week.

If you don't know what Pictionary is, it's essentially a board game where you draw out a word specified on a card, and your team tries to guess what you are drawing.

After classes ended, about a dozen of us shuffled into a classroom and commandeered a chalkboard. We split ourselves into two teams, and we set the ground rules as follows.
  1. Teams would take turns
  2. A turn would last 2 minutes, to answer as many questions as possible
  3. Once a drawer had their picture guessed, the next person on the team would draw the next one
  4. Each team would supply the questions for the opposing team
Now, I think it would have been much better if everyone had come up with one item, and made sure not to guess on their own. As things went, only one team could guess at a time, because the opposing team knew all the possibilities for the cards they had supplied. This meant that there could be no "stealing" of answers.

But having rivals create questions for each other also set up another problem: they were trying to make the words too hard. People ended up using some really obscure terms that we didn't really have to know, or picking the most obscure name for a structure with multiple names. Though in the end, I think we threw each other a bone here and there, and it turned out quite alright. The game was still fun.

What the game really opened my eyes to, however, was just how competitive my classmates are. Some of them seemed so hell-bent on winning that they came off as ruthless to the point of annoying. Up until now, I have hung out with a relatively confined group of friends who are both keen (as you'd expect of medical school students), yet exceedingly nice. I felt really fortunate to be part of a class of such gracious and upstanding people. Here, however, there were a number of examples of less than congenial behaviour.

For instance, one person on my team saw part of one of the cards that another team member was supposed to draw (I too saw it, and decided not to guess that round). Having seen the "ligament" part of the card, the said team member proceeded to guess every ligament they could think of before our teammate had drawn more than two lines.

In another case, we had put on a card, "Sternal Angle of Louis." In fact, my team had originally put just "Angle of Louis," but I encouraged them to add "Sternal" since people would be more likely to recognize it as the "Sternal Angle" rather than the old-anatomical name of "Angle of Louis." When the opposing team guessed both "Sternal Angle" and "Angle of Louis," I was pretty happy to give it to them but one of my team members was strongly objected since our opponents didn't get the exact wording on the card.

So while all the participants were smart people, and I'm sure they were all nice people... I didn't really find it a fun atmosphere to play or to learn in. It's not that I don't understand the desire to win or the competitive edge (I'm uber-competitive)... but I do think it's important to do these things with some graciousness and a little bit of dignity. After all, we're all friends, right? Or at least colleagues.

In other news...

Mello is a GUY?

So yesterday, I generated the pseudonym Mello for my friend stating that Mello was the female successor to Death Note's "L". As it turns out, Mello was a guy. I had forgotten this, though I read the entire Death Note manga series. I had spent a lot of that time thinking that Mello was a girl, and I guess the idea that he was a guy (once I figured it out) just never quite stuck. But let's be honest, he looks like a girl... he acts like a girl. He's close enough. Sorry, Mello.

Harper gets crushed in French language debate

Defend him if you dare, but Stephen Harper got ripped apart by all four opposition parties in yesterday's French language leadership debate - taking hits on the environment, child crime reform, the sale of arms, and a wide array of other issues as well as offering little insight into key issues such as the economy. He also seemed timid and somewhat limited by the use of the French language, though this is just my general feel, since I couldn't actually follow what was being said most of the time (obviously I am much more timid and limited by the use of the French language than Mr. Harper... but then, I'm not the Prime Minister). People might argue that Harper did well considering he was under attack from just about every side - but when 60% of Canadians and all four other opposition parties have their guns aimed squarely at you, then there's a good chance that you deserve it... and I'm certainly not cutting Mr. Harper any slack for that.

Stephane Dion offered what seemed like quite a competent performance - certainly better than most people expected. He was animated and confident in his mother tongue of French, and he brings to the table a Liberal policy plan that involves a lot of thought. If only he could do as well in the English language debates (or if only more people could watch the French language debates). As it is, I predict Harper will recover significantly in the English language debates with his own strength in this language, and English being one of Dion's most obvious weaknesses.

Elizabeth May, a newcomer to the debates is expected to be a firebrand and a wild card, but her limited French abilities were quite detrimental to her performance in the French language debate. Hopefully, she'll be able to recover some face and give us a good show for tonight's English debate... otherwise people might be thinking twice about why they pushed for her to be included in the first place (she was allowed a place in the leadership debate due to a huge amount of public outpouring over the issue). Hopefully she will succeed in this endeavour and as a result we will see some Green seats in Parliament next year - at least May's own... because goodness knows I hope she can oust Peter MacKay from his home riding of Central Nova.

The new format for the debates, taking place around a comfortable round table rather than at a podium, provided a nice and friendly feel. I did enjoy the flow of the debate from what I saw.

I hope you will take the time (or took the time, since you're likely to be reading this in retrospect) to watch the English language debate taking place today from 9 - 11 PM EST. And no, the Palin/Joe Biden American Vice-Presidential debate is not more important! Although, I admit the broadcast consortium in Canada was stupid for scheduling our federal leadership debate for the same time.

1 comment:

sandlot said...

You read manga? Wow. I bet you still do (along with wearing turtlenecks and leather jackets). Secretly, when I'm not around. Thank goodness for long-distance relationships eh? hahahaa.