January 30, 2007

Get in my head!

Posted in Randumb at 10:58 am by Iram

I have been sitting in a conference room for the past four hours unable to study. All sorts of thoughts are running through my head: random comments made by friends, memories that have not been stirred for years, sad moments of my life that I would rather forget but cannot seem to, recollections of strange dreams and experiences. The one thing that absolutely will not run through my head, though, is the material in chapter 2 of the cardiovascular physiology book that has been sitting in front of me this entire time. I don’t know why I can’t study; I just can’t. Stare as I might, the information simply won’t get in my head. The lack of concentration and motivation is disturbing, but after realizing that no matter what my brain will not succumb to my will to study today, I began to give in to my introspective side.

I have not yet taken neuroanatomy as that is the first class that we take in the second year of medical school, but despite this shortcoming I feel like my experiences since this past August have enabled me to draw some conclusions about my brain. Some of these conclusions stem from the confirmation of suspicions that I have held for some time now, and some of these were newly formed here in Lubbock based on my observations of myself and others, but either way I just felt like I should share them with the public:

1. The human brain has an expiry date. Everybody’s expiry date is different, but do not be fooled: one does exist. You can’t see it because it doesn’t show up on your head as if somebody knocked you on the skull with a block of ink when you were born. No, it is simply ingrained into the very material that makes up the mass of your neurological system. After a certain date it will all stop working. Mine expired after graduating from Rice and has been in enforced retirement ever since, working only for overtime pay and punishing me for every minute by forcing my mouth to say things that I swear I never meant.

2. The human brain has a set number of all-nighters programmed into it. After you reach your limit, you can no longer function for days on end without sleep. Try as you might, you simply will not last at that all-night sleepover or study party because your brain will in fact shut itself down without asking your permission first. Luckily, I have not yet hit my limit of all-nighters, but I know I’m getting pretty close because with each subsequent night without sleep my brain turns another portion of itself off. If you have hit your limit – and you know who you are – you must respect your brain for its limitations or your friends WILL post pictures displaying your dearth of all-nighter energy.

3. The human brain will only accept a certain number of work hours in a day. It’s the age of civil rights people. If we can limit how many hours residents are allowed to remain on call, and how many hours students are allowed to spend per week on clinical duties while on rotations, why in the world should your brain be held back? It too demands a work-time limit. Study for too many hours and it will rebel using weapons such as Facebook, AIM, and the ever-dangerous You-Tube. And if you confiscate the computer, your brain will only make your life even more miserable by forcing you to think thoughts that you never want to think while you try to make it study. It’s not a very fun situation, so take the time to understand your brain and learn what limits it has set for you.

4. The human brain loves sugar. Have you ever felt that rush in your head after chugging down a bottle of high sugar soda with plenty of high-fructose corn syrup, or after eating a whole plate of triple chocolate fudge brownie with ice cream and chocolate syrup on top? That’s the evidence. Your brain loves sugar. Keep it well supplied with its favorite substance, and it will keep you well supplied with witty comments, energetic spontaneity and from time to time even an A on that upcoming exam.

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