Sunday, July 1, 2007

This past week, I had my first experience with the gunner from hell in my med biochem class and it had been so very long since I had come in contact with such a hugely egotistical and arrogant classmate, that I almost forgot how it was. Almost. Of course, I'm reminded everyday when the class goes over time because this one student spends at least 15 minutes/day asking questions/making comments. Questions in general are cool, but they shouldn't be used as opportunities to try to make youself look smart. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that.

So last week, we had a group project and of course, Ms Gunner was not only in my group, but asked me to be in a group with her. I thought to myself, "dam, just great", but being the half-full kinda gal I am, I thought to myself, "here's an opportunity to overcome a HUGE academic obstacle".

Needless to say it was a COMPLETE disaster. We had to evaluate a problem dealing with hyperventilation and the body's reaction to it and being the Chemist I am (post MS in Chemistry 10 years) I KNEW that the solution to the problem was related to the Bohr Effect. Unfortunately, I'd been struggling to understand oxygen binding/hemoglobin/CO2, ect so I wasn't able to explain WHY I knew that's where the answer was. So MsGunner, essentially takes the group in a direction away from the true answer and of course we were dead wrong. Now it wasn't that bad because no group got the answer right, but it's different to get an answer wrong because someone took you in the wrong direction. Had our group simply looked more into the Bohr Effect and it's relationship to oxygen binding hemoglobin, we probably would have gotten the answer right. This reminded me of when I was in grad school previously in a group that went in the wrong direction, except this time I knew the material well, explained it thoroughly, but was still left alone in my position. In that instance, I was right, but I had to write a one page explanation to my professor as to why I thought I was right, and my group was wrong.

Now if I had a dollar for every time I was left standing alone either in school or at work in similar situations as I described above, I'd have a couple hundred dollars by now. And after many, many years of dealing with this, I'm left with very few options for why this happens. In the first example I spoke of in med biochem, another woman who happened to also be black, wrote out the equation for what she thought was going on and the equation was related to the Bohr Effect. So in a group of 4, we have 2 folks who think differently from the other 2. Hmmmmm.

Ironically, the 2 others in the group were 2nd year med students so was this a case of them "knowing" more? Perhaps, but if that's the case I imagine they wouldn't be in a summer class making up for having not passed the course during the school year. At any rate, I really, really, hope that this isn't what the future holds as far as medicine is concerned. If so, I just hope that someone is there to clean up the errors, because in medicine, "know it alls", tend to make mistakes, and in medicine, mistakes can cost lives.


  1. Hello Path,
    Congratulations on the New Blog! It looks really cool.

  2. A long and overdue thanks, frybread!