Medlife Crisis

I decided many years ago that my dream job would be working as a physician and helping others through the practice of medicine; this dream began to come true when I started medical school in 2016. Join me and my mindless musings as I realize this dream and fill what little free time I do have with board gaming and exploring the board gaming hobby in general.

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Welcome To... 3rd year

Joshua Acosta
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Howard University College of Medicine
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Reptar, King of the Ozone
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FYI: For those new to this blog, the layout is divided by sections, each with a kitschy heading insinuating a game mechanism.

Storytelling
Much time has elapsed between my last (first) blog post and now, and to attempt to recount everything would be an exhausting and futile endeavor - and, to be honest, it wouldn't be all that interesting - so I'll recap the recent state of things. By the title of this blog post, I'm not only shamelessly attracting readers (hah! gotcha!) by invoking the title of a popular board game (Welcome To...) currently killing it on Kickstarter for its 2nd printing, but also, I'm hinting at the fact that I have begun my 3rd year of medical school. Today marks the end of week 7 of 8 for my junior pediatric clerkship rotation, the first of many rotations that I will be on this year.
I've spent 2 weeks in the pediatric nursery, 2 weeks in the outpatient pediatric clinic, and will have spent 4 weeks at a Top 5-ranked children's hospital for the inpatient portion of my rotation by the end of next week. I'm learning a lot about what it means to be a doctor and where I as a physician fit into the team-based patient care model for wholistic medical practice. I've had some very interesting cases, many of which have presented very similarly to how they are presented in the textbooks and in case presentations, which has helped me to conceptualize and integrate what I've learned in my studies. After this rotation, I'll go on to do a 2-month integration clerkship of Family Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine, Ambulatory Medicine, and Neurology, and I'm looking forward to the challenges that will bring. I'm happy to report that I've been enjoying working alongside my 2020 colleagues during this rotation and have gotten very close to them, which had been something very much lacking in the previous 2 years of medical school for me.

Route Building
I'm still feeling out exactly which branch of medicine I'd like to practice as a physician, but I hope to elucidate that aspect of things as the year progresses. I guess my current leanings are toward Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, or some type of surgery. The question "What do you wanna be when you grow up?" is still a constant presence in my life right now.


Player Elimination
Remember last blog post where I did myself no favors by stating that I don't study nearly as much as I should? Well, that reality almost did me in quite dramatically. I've always gotten great grades throughout my life, even through university, graduating with a 3.89 GPA, while studying only very little. In fact, when the time came to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is a huge deal, I neglected to study for it and decided to take it after being 3 years removed from my studies... Not ideal, but it worked out in the end.
Now, when I say studying very little, that doesn't mean that I didn't study. The method by which I would approach my studies was very contrary to that of my classmates. Rather than memorize notes and formulas and exam questions like many of my peers, I would simply attend class, BE attentive, and read the textbooks thoroughly; this way, I'd understand everything that I needed to and could ace the exams based on my understanding.
Well, this is the way that I approached much of the first two years of medical school, and was the way I'd hoped to approach my medical licensing examination. Needless to say, it didn't pan out very well. Following the end of 2nd year classes, we are given 6 weeks to intensely study for our licensing exam. A strong majority of students will use this time to sequester themselves in their rooms for 16 hours per day, pounding information into their noggins. Having never really had to study intensely for anything, I found it very difficult to attempt studying for the exam in this way, and rather decided to take the exam with very little preparation. This was almost my undoing. I received my scores and found that I had just narrowly missed the minimum passing score for continuation in medical school. I was emotionally and physically defeated by this information and fell into intense depression for about 2 weeks. The silver lining here is that I, and several others, were afforded the opportunity to re-take the exam 4 weeks following the receipt of our scores for an attempt to receive a passing score and late admission into 3rd year. After these 2 weeks of depression, I studied harder than I'd ever studied before for 2 weeks straight before re-taking my exam.
Well, as is evidenced by the preceding sections, I'm happy to report that I did not suffer player elimination. However, several of my classmates were not as fortunate...
I have begun to understand exactly what studying in MODERN medical school actually means, and how I can succeed and exceed expectations herein by putting my best foot forward, and have begun acting accordingly. This means new ways of approaching studying and taking every opportunity to hone my clinical knowledge base and expand my medical understanding. Consequently, I'm happy to report that I've been flourishing in my current clerkship and feel on par with (or in some cases ahead of my peers), which is what any great medical student could hope for.

Variable Player Powers
From a board game standpoint, it has been very difficult to get to game as much as I'd like to (or even at all) while I've been on the pediatric clerkship. My schedule has had me waking up at 3:30AM to get ready and be at the hospital, and not getting home until 5:40PM Monday-Friday, with on-call days scattered here and there. During the summer months while I was awaiting exam results and such, I had the pleasure of attending Dice Tower Con again with my wife, attending and volunteering at Origins Game Fair again, and collaborating with Paul Grogan with some minimal rulebook editing/playtesting. I would so love the opportunity to do things like that more often, - especially the rulebook editing - but my schedule of late has been very prohibitive in that regard. But I realize this is a season of my life, and it's only temporary. And whereas I may never have the luxury to have free time to edit rulebooks and volunteer at conventions again given my career trajectory, I had an immense pleasure doing it while I could.
Regarding podcasting: The WDYPTW Podcast Thing has become a thing of the past, and has now become the hub of content for several spin-off podcast segments. I am very pleased to still be able to contribute regularly to the content being published on this channel, specifically THE SHUFFLE podcast (hosted by WDYPTW Productions). The Shuffle podcast is a magazine-style issue-based monthly podcast a la Game Trader magazine. Of the now 2 extant issues, I have been featured in each, covering both Lisboa in September and Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer in October. The November issue will be going live on Monday, November 5, wherein I'll be covering Tramways Engineer's Workbook by Alban Viard.

Memory
(i.e., Recent plays with current ratings)
|9.5| Brass: Lancashire x2 NEW!
|9.5| Brass: Birmingham NEW!
|9.0| Bus NEW!
|8.5| Tramways Engineer's Workbook x5 NEW!
|8.0| Roll Player: Monsters & Minions NEW!
|8.0| Tuscany Essential Edition NEW!
|7.5| Roll Player x2 NEW!
|7.5| Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport (8+ all-time)
|7.0| Lords of Waterdeep (6+ all-time)
|7.0| CO₂ NEW!
|7.0| SteamRollers x2 NEW!
|6.0| Luxor NEW!
|4.5| Mint Delivery (2 all-time)

^^^Not an exhaustive list. Comprises maybe the past 2 months or so

Pool Building
This is the section wherein I will list the recent state of my collection in each blog post.

Additions:
Obviously, recent additions to my collection. (Since last post on 4/4/2018)


Discards:
Games I've recently sold, traded, or given away.
NONE.

Futures Market
Games I've recently Kickstarted/Preordered, or for which I've otherwise recently placed an order and am awaiting on receiving in the mail.


Wow. Not only was it exhausting to complete the above "Pool Building" section, but also having done it has opened my eyes to the definite need to slow waaaay down from an acquisitions standpoint.

Cooperative Play:
The section where I list my current non-board game-related entertainment selection.
Audio: Sleeping With Sirens - Feel (album)
Visual: The Canon of Medicine by Avicenna (Ibn Sina); On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays; The Essential Rumi; A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar (still)

(Edits: 3, typographical errors and image corrections)
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Sat Nov 3, 2018 1:27 am
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Joshua Acosta
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
Howard University College of Medicine
badge
Reptar, King of the Ozone
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
FYI: For this and all future blog posts, the layout will be divided by sections, each with a kitschy heading insinuating a game mechanism.

.....As this is the first post of what I hope will be a ongoing endeavor with frequent additions, it only makes sense to describe who the writer is (me) [i.e., Storytelling] and the blog's purpose (however perfunctorily contrived) [i.e., Route Building].

Storytelling
.....At the time of this writing, I am a second-year medical student living in Washington, D.C. I was introduced to the board gaming hobby roughly 4 years ago when some friends showed me The Settlers of Catan. From there, I was led down the rabbit hole of Wil Wheaton's TableTop YouTube series and local board game Meetups, which drew me deeper into the hobby. As with many things in my life, I became enthusiastically consumed with learning everything there was to learn about the hobby and proceeded to binge-watch YouTube video reviews and playthroughs, which, let's face it, I still do to this day. I spent the better part of 3 years playing and learning about all of the games that were most popular with the people around me, as well as trigger purchasing games that I thought looked cool or had cool titles. This led to me picking up some good games that I mostly still enjoy to this day like Lords of Waterdeep, Takenoko, Small World, Munchkin, King of New York, and Pandemic.
.....Last year, however, my perspective on gaming took a dramatic turn when I attended the 3rd annual HeavyCon. Though I'd been to some local conventions before, this was the first convention I'd been to where I could actually play the heavy games for which my ever-active brain had always craved. It was here that I finally got the chance to sit down and enjoy titles like Pax Renaissance, Arkwright, Three Kingdoms Redux, 1889: History of Shikoku Railways, Food Chain Magnate, Lignum (second edition), and The Great Zimbabwe. I also made several friends at HeavyCon whom I ended up getting to game with at other conventions over the summer; during one of these conventions, they introduced me to my first true Winsome Games title, Iberian Gauge. The combination of the experiences at HeavyCon and this introduction to the strange world of Winsome Games pretty much solidified my new perspective on the board gaming hobby: I have developed a strong taste for the heavy, the unusual, the brain-melting, and the locomotive.

Route Building
.....So, why a blog? As a medical student, you wouldn't think that I have a lot of free time, and you'd be right. Or at least you should be. The truth is that I don't study nearly as much as I should, and I let my attention be drawn to everything else in the world, taking my focus away from my studies - one such distraction is board gaming. I do not see this particular distraction as one that is incredibly detrimental, though, as there are many times when I use board gaming as a way to decompress from the stresses of medical student life. I do, however, find myself absent-mindedly scrolling through BGG on occasion when I could be studying. I do this also with TV series-watching, YouTube binging, video gaming, and more. I've come to the conclusion (and I could be wrong) that the reason I let myself get distracted with these other interests is not largely due to boredom with schoolwork, because I definitely find the content of my studies to be fascinating (for the most part). But rather, I think all of the YouTube and Hulu watching, board game news consumption, and random internet browsing is a way for my ever-active brain to satisfy its thirst for creativity by consuming the creativity of others in small doses. These small doses are not nearly enough, however, to easily satisfy its cravings, so I oftentimes end up spiraling down internet blackholes for hours on end without even a hint of studying. Thus, I've decided that I might benefit from finding a way that I can channel this creative energy into something more mentally stimulating (and hopefully more adequately satisfying creative cravings).
Enter blogging. I hope to use this blog as a creative outlet of sorts and a way to productively channel my need for periodic distraction while studying. I plan to write about my recent board game plays and ponderings, as well as my introspective thoughts on the hobby as it applies to my personal life and professional aspirations.
.....In addition to the reasons above, I'm hoping that managing a blog without the obligation of posting will prove more manageable than a year-long Geeklist that requires continual updating. I have attempted such geeklists in the past to catalogue plays of games and recent acquisitions, all of which fell to non-completion and somehow eat away at the OCD completionist in me for this reason. Some such Geeklists I've failed on are: JA's 2017 "Play Friday Every Friday" Challenge, JA's 2017 "Magic Number Challege", JA's 2017 Owned and Unplayed Games, JA's 2017 Board Gaming Acquisitions and Purchases, and JA's 2017 "New to Me" Games.
.....Finally, on a personal note, I hope writing this blog will force me to reflect on my personal thoughts, life aspirations, and my life in general. By writing about the things I'm doing or to which I'm looking forward, I hope to gain a better perspective on what I believe is or should be important in my life and what things I might do better without for the time-being.

Simultaneous Action Selection
.....At the time I'm writing this post, I'm in the middle of studying for my two mid-term examinations in neuropathology. Although I should probably be studying and not writing this blog entry, I am finding the writing to be somewhat cathartic, and I'm already feeling as though the writing is satisfying that need for creative and productive distraction, which I intimated at above.
.....In the broader sense, I am juggling the following hobby and life endeavors at the moment, keeping me quite busy: Actively attempting to study for my USMLE national licensing exams; scheduling Meetups for certain games; reading and editing various rulebooks; playtesting/translating a prototype game for a designer whose work I enjoy; actively contributing to the What Did You Play This Week Podcast Thing; and trying to be the best husband to my wife that I can be.

Memory
(i.e., Recent plays with current ratings)
|9.0| Last Will (3 all-time)
-8.5- Viticulture Essential Edition (6 all-time)
-8.5- Feudum: The Queen's Army NEW!
-8.0- Captive x2 NEW!
-7.5- Feudum x2 (2 all-time) NEW!
-7.0- T.I.M.E Stories NEW!
-7.0- Bohnanza: The Duel NEW!
-6.0- Sheriff of Nottingham (4 all-time)
-4.5- Lemonade Stand NEW!


Pool Building
This is the section wherein I will list the recent state of my collection in each blog post.

Additions:
Obviously, recent additions to my collection.


Discards:
Games I've recently sold, traded, or given away.


Futures Market
Games I've recently Kickstarted/Preordered, or for which I've otherwise recently placed an order and am awaiting on receiving in the mail.




Cooperative Play:
The section where I list my current non-board game-related entertainment selection.
Audio: Asking Alexandria (self-titled album)
Visual: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar


On a side note: does it bother anyone else that there is no way to justify the text alignment in a post on BGG, or is it just me?
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5 Comments
Wed Apr 4, 2018 6:25 am
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