Thursday, October 27, 2011

Huge Nerd

This is possibly the nerdiest thing I did in residency:

So I had been outlining our orthopedic physical exam textbook in order to not appear like a complete idiot in sports med clinic (which, sadly, was unavoidable). After finishing the book, I decided to turn all my notes into a little guide that I could use in clinic.

So I reduced the font size to 9 point, bolded key points, turned it into columns, and printed the whole thing out. Then I cut all 18 pages of it into quarters and stapled together little guides for each different system:

The whole thing took me about an hour. I was so proud of myself as I nerdily splayed out my little books and photographed them. My husband offered to help, but I didn't want him to be a part of my little nerd sweatshop, because then every time I looked at the guides, I'd feel guilty.

I could have been worse. I could have used a ruler to make sure that the pages were totally aligned and cut perfectly. (Notice that the heading on the page sticking out due to being misaligned is actually "Alignment"... how ironic.)

I haven't done anything this nerdy in a long time, but I've definitely been guilty of such offenses in the past:

--Remember the problems in the back of the chapters of math/science textbooks? Before my math/science exams, I used to do every single problem in the back of those chapters twice. Even if it was a really easy topic and I knew the answers cold. Because 98 wasn't good enough... I had to get that 100.

--In history class, I read and made a detailed outline of every single page of our huge textbooks.

--I've done this since high school and as recently as med school: I used to outline the textbook, then make a briefer outline of that outline, then make an even briefer outline of that, which would act as my final "cheat sheet".

OK, your turn: What's the nerdiest thing you've ever done?


  1. I was definitely one of those "do every problem in the books" types, but I think my nerdiest action was to once write out the entire roster for the entire Detriot Red Wings (including farm team) and compare it to the Dallas Stars (who they were playing in the Western Conference Finals). By memory. In class.

    I also used to have contests with classmates (again during class) about who could write out the lyrics to really long, elaborate songs (think 'American Pie' or 'Terrapin Station') by memory.

    It's really nothing short of a miracle that I learned anything in my formative years.

  2. In college I would get to class half an hour early to get the beset seat at the front of the class. I would then take notes in at least 4 different colored pens depending on the type of information being taught.

    This is by far not the nerdiest thing I did, but definitely the most frequent.

  3. In 5th grade, we had a substitute one day who gave us free time to draw all over the white board. Most kids were drawing random things.

    I did algebra problems I made up myself.

  4. I typed up all of my notes from pharmacy school and posted them on Geocities for classmates to download. I even made a logo for them in PhotoShop ("PharmNerd's Mad Notes") and stuck it at the top of each page.

    I'd heard of students still using those notes almost a decade later (shows you how much medicinal chemistry & microbiology change over the years). For all I know, there are still copies floating around.

  5. Probably the nerdiest thing I've ever done was tour multiple science/anatomy museums while I was in Italy. I missed out on a lot of the more popular tourist attractions, but I did get to spend hours looking at animal specimens and etchings of rare plants. (And I loved every minute of it.)

  6. Kudos to the colored pens. The search to buy new colored pens at the start of each semester was ridiculously exciting. But I think I hit my nerd high when I wanted to prove my intelligence & that I truly was right all the time. So for a week I kept track of how often I was right or wrong, be it a calculus or organic chem problem, or the weather that day; essentially, any subject popped up. I then did a statistical analysis & can now state unequivocally that, indeed, I am right approximately 92% of the time. What is even sadder is that it's a statistic I still bank on 15 years later.

  7. I wrote d20 SRD based gaming material with intent to sell.

  8. For neuro exam, me and five other colleagues decided that notebooks had too much superfluous information, while they lacked valuable notes our teachers would give us during classes, so we got together, write and pass around our own neuro notebook

  9. Study guides were definitely the nerdiest thing I ever did. Oh wait, having my mother act a moderator when I was in my elementary school for my math bubble test where you have to do as many problems in 60 seconds. I always finished mine's in 40seconds, front and back. It's funny because I programmed myself not to memorize the answers but to actually work them out each and every time. Also holding study groups for my classmates because everyone just thought I was a lot more smarter than I actually was, but by "teaching" them and other people in my dorm, it helped me to learn and study.

  10. I recently printed out the CDC pocket sized vaccine schedules and laminated them to make pocket sized cards I could carry around. Handy and nerdy, the perfect combo.

  11. I think it'd be easier to find the least nerdy thing I've ever done. Fewer things to choose from.

    That said, I'd really like to see/use those Ortho text outlines. Just finished 2 msk months and grew a lot, but have a TON more to learn!

  12. Oh, I love fantastic....I just relied on my brain power and oh how that has failed me over the years...

  13. in my previous life i had an MSc artificial nerd credentials. I should try this outlining though.