Thursday, October 9, 2008

Paradigm shift

Definition: A radical change in thinking from an accepted point of view to a new one
So I finished my first test of the year, and my next one is coming up tomorrow (the huge one). I have to admit: I'm pretty stressed out. I'm scared about that yellow sticker of death - that it's going to happen to me.

But at the same time, having written my first exam has induced a kind of tug-of-war inside me. My entire life, I have focused my academic achievement on marks. High marks. These marks were necessary to get me into the university I wanted, into the professional program I wanted, etc.

Now, having gotten into my professional program, I have a case where success is graded on an Honours/Pass/Fail basis (soon it seems, to be Pass/Fail). While marks exist, it's no longer requisite that I drop in the ninetieth percentile, or even the eightieth percentile. Indeed, it would be beyond exceptional to stay atop a pack of people who up until now, have always been at the top of their own pack.

But what does that mean? Does that mean that marks are no longer important...? That we can aim for 60's instead of 90's? Theoretically, yes. But my brain, wired for scholarship from inception, cannot process this kind of directive. But, in fact, this is not the correct perspective anyways. At the end of this program, there is no more school, there is only our profession. And thus, we have to set the goal to learn and study to be a good professional - knowing that our marks may not always land where we're used to them landing. This is a complete change in focus, and one that I am still struggling to process: that it is no longer required to chase after every last mark (a firm goal), and to set my eyes on the much more nebulous goal of becoming a competent physician.

Music to study to

Get your own playlist at!

I live off of the soundtrack of my life. But studying to music can be immensely distracting. A lot of people study to the soft tones of classical music, but I have to admit I'm not particularly cultured in that regard. However, over the years I have found that great music to study to comes from soundtracks - particularly anime and video game soundtracks. Because they're designed to run as background music, they work well in a mood-setting yet unobtrusive manner.

A lot of the music I've been rediscovering over the last few days has been tucked away on various backup discs from my undergrad years. These serve not only to set a nice tone for my studies, but also to bring me back to the past in a nostalgic wash of emotion. The song that I've embedded above is from the anime, Air, a deeply sweet and melancholic story which carried such a peaceful ambiance that it literally got me through my second year exam period. My auditory senses are also enjoying the Ragnarok Online (PC video game) and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (CG movie) soundtracks.

1 comment:

sandlot said...

After this year, I have learned to hate the word "paradigm".