Thursday, February 28, 2013

I know this isn't how I'm supposed to do this, but I find it more beneficial to post every three days or so.  I don't have an issue with writing three posts in a day to make it up; that reflects the pace at which things are moving on this project. I have trouble getting people to accomplish anything until I push long enough that they get sick of it. So when I make ground, it happens sporadically and I get a lot at once. Unless you want to hear me rant about the same things between these breakthroughs, I suggest this instead. If everything goes as planned, these next seven days will be the most productive so far. The HESPA schedule will give me some extra time, at least.
I made up a survey to judge how people view neurosurgeons. I'm going to distribute it to a class of high school kids and a few teachers. I want to see if the opinions change with age and experience. The website I made it on is making me pay to print it, though. I have to reformat it so I can bypass the charge. I'll have the file sent out to Mrs. Repasy by tonight. As for the teachers, I think I can get copies out to the ones I see daily.
But this interview.... I am so frustrated with the whole thing. I have someone lined up, she's happy to meet with me, she has all of these contacts in the field, but my parents are ruining all of it. My dad forgot that he was working on the day we'd scheduled two weeks in advance and now whenever I ask him to call her he tells me he doesn't feel like it. Only he has her number, and even if I called her myself I'd need him to drive me there, which he also rarely wants to do. She was supposed to be the gateway to the other interviews. I realized that I may have to go another way, so I tried to find another lead. But my mom keeps saying that no surgeons will have time to be interviewed. Valid point, but maybe try asking first? It's not like they're strangers.
I'm going to check the library for information tomorrow. Next week will be dedicated to internet research.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I've been trying to set up this interview with the neuro-assistant and my parents keep putting it off. It's really annoying. The worst part about being this age is that no one takes you seriously. I'm trying to do something important! For me at least... I really care about this stuff. I don't know why; I know it's kind of a specific thing to want, having had no real experience with it. But it just makes sense to me, you know? The first time I saw those diagrams of the brain with all of it's neurons and electrical sparks jumping like lightening... it reminded me of those beautiful pictures of dust clouds in space with all the colors and lights. I always liked space. The brain is just like the universe if you shrink down small enough. If the idea of giant swirling cosmos is exciting, how can you not think the same of a vast unexplored world thats so small, you can't even see it well enough to understand how it works. Can you imagine yourself- not your body, but your consciousness itself- and imagine what little bits of your brain give you the ability to think and feel and dream? We know what lets us think, but where in our head is the part that makes people cry at weddings and climb mountains just for the view at the top? This tiny plane of existence holds everything that makes us human, and we still don't know how to find it. This may be the only real magic left in the world. A part of me hopes it stays hidden, just so we always have something to wonder about. I know this class is supposed to be about our personal journey in exploring what we are passionate about, so I hope this was relevant. To be honest, I tend to trail off when I think about this stuff. I guess that's good, though, because it means I'm on the right path. I'll keep trying to set this thing up, but I hope I can do it soon. I'm getting kind of anxious not having anything done.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In the book "The Last Lecture," the author adresses how to deal with brick walls. I know that in my project, I'll have to juggle a lot of legal issues and the stress that comes with that. I don't have a general reaction to setbacks that I can identify. I think it's like what the book says, "The brick walls are there to stop the people that don't want it badly enough." I can always tell how much I care about something by how fast I quit it. I'll give up after fifteen minutes on a hard math problem, but I'll spend hours tweaking a messed up garageband project. If I don't like something but I know I have to do it, I get really frustrated wasting my time. But I know this is something I will be able to use to achieve my goals and do what I love. I don't think I'll give up on this or get angry often because when it matters to me, I know that overeacting is a waste of energy. I'd rather spend that time trying to solve the problem. Every once in a while, though, I get to the point where I can't quit. It doesn't even matter what i'm working toward; quitting would mean admitting that I can't do it. And there's no way some dumb machine, person, cosmic force or whatever else is going to make a fool out of me. So when I show up to school with my homework half done, it's probably becuase my computer wouldn't let me run something and I had to spend six hours hacking it from internet tutorial videos.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm going to be interviewing some neurosurgeons my mom knows from work. I don't know yet how many will agree to do it so I have to find some info on my own. I might branch out and interview general surgeons because of the limited supply of people I can find. I think there are three main surgeons I could talk to: Leibman, Vez, and a woman I can't recall the name of. I could probably find more people through them. Here are ten questions I plan on asking them:

1) What is your job like day to day?
2) How does a hospital run?
3) What kind of procedures are done?
4) What is the basic format of a surgery?
5) What kind of person do you have to be/ what skills do you need to be a surgeon?
6)  What kinds of opportunites are you given because of your job?
7) What kind of salary can you expect as you rise in the ranks?
8) How do you deal with job related stress?
9) Is the pressure worth it?
10) Does it get easier? At what point do you get used to it?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Now that I have my research questions set up, I need to figure out how to get them answered. Here's the plan:

1) What is neurosurgery like day-to-day?
                 a)  Interview Neurosurgeons
                 b) Shadow a Neurosurgeon
                 c) Research online
2) What different kinds of procedures are done?
                 a) Interview a Neurosurgeon
                 b) Observe a surgery
                 c) Interview a hospital directer
                 d) Research online
3) How does neurosurgery positively impact a surgeon's life?
                 a) Interview a Neurosurgeon
                 b) Interview a Med school professor/directer/counsilor
                 c) Research online
4) What kind of stress do they face on the job and off?
                 a) Interview a Neurosurgeon
                 b) Interview someone with a Neurosurgeon in the family
                 c) Shadow a neurosurgeon at work
                 d) Research online

Monday, February 11, 2013

Important news! (Relatively speaking, becuase I am just one person on a computer.)

So after some thought, I've decided to change my project. Instead of being about Neuroscience branches, it'll just be about neurosurgeory. I know almost 100% that I want to do this more than research; I kind of just wanted to say that I was working on a cure for Alzheimers, you know, because its sounds impressive. And it may have something to do with the fact that I'd have to research what "research" is before even researching how it's done. By comparisson, poking around in someone's brain seems simpler. After looking at the research questions I wrote, my review partner said that I didn't need to fix anything. So this'll just be an update post.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's time to start focusing in on the specifics of this project. As a framework, I've made up some research questions. What I need to answer is this:

1) What is neurosurgery like day-to-day? 
                    - How difficult is it?
                    - How does a hospital run?
2) What different kinds of procedures are done?
                    - What is the basic format for a surgery?
3) How does neurosurgery positively impact a surgeon's life?
                    - $, opportunities, etc...
4) What kind of stress do they face on the job and off?
                    - How do they deal with it? 
                    - Is it worth it?
                    - Does it get easier? 

I'm concerned that I may have trouble getting honest answers in a hospital setting and that some of these questions may be a bit personal, but it's important that I know these things.  I can at least find these things online, if not from personal interviews. There are plenty of forums on the subject; I just need to dig a little.

In other news, I found this in one of my webcomics:

I hope the surgeons I work with have a sense of humor, or else I'm going to make a lot of people nervous...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

We've been watching Julie and Julia to model how our blogging experience should be. The blog to her is an incentive to accomplish her goals. She doesn't want to quit because it would look bad to her readers. On top of that, it gets her attention from important people who further her career, as well as add to the content she writes about. I'm still figuring out how to approach this blog. I would like it to be me speaking to an audience of random people, but in reality it's going to be more like a status report for the guys in charge. Maybe i'll just pretend I have a crowd of loyal readers hanging on my every word. That would certainly motivate me more.... maybe I'll even reccommend it to some important neurosurgeons? That would be pretty exciting.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Have you ever been so bored that you start typing sentences into Google to see how it completes them? I don't recommend it to anyone who still believes that humanity is salvageable.  In a fit of uncreative genius, I typed "so..." and was led to this video. It is horribly made and full of unanticipated hilarity.

As stupid and it is, it kind of scared me a little. I never really considered the possibility that I may not get in to Med School. I always assumed that if I worked hard enough, I would be able to do whatever I wanted to. Isn't that what they tell us in first grade? That we can be whoever we want to be as long as we don't give up? I'm starting to realize that wanting something and working at it aren't always enough. If I want to do this, I'm either going to have to be smarter than other people, or be more involved in the community. I guess when the time comes, I'll find out if I have what it takes....for better or worse. 
This second post is supposed to be about the steps taken to get a final project, particularly concerning a powerpoint we saw a week ago (which I can't remember the slightest detail of). That's what I get for being absent. Generally, one would need to set up interviews with teachers and officials to find a core theme. From there, they would find details about their topic on the internet and form a portfolio of documents which apply to the theme. The presentation will not be a research project so much as an account of the journey taken to reach some conclusion. But to progress at all, a lot of planning has to be done. Thankfully, I'm compelled to plan for everything. I'm spending my last year of high school planning the branch I'll go into more than 10 years from now! I have plenty of time to decide, but my brain won't let me relax until I choose, so here I am.... wish me luck.