medschool

The Power of Maintaining Relationships in Medical School

I recently got a talking to from my best friend because I had not talked to her in 6 months. The unfortunate truth of being a student is that you rarely have free nights and weekends. Maintaining relationships (friendship, romantic, or family) can be challenging when school work transcends all boundaries of your life. I always feel like I have something to study and don’t quite have real Saturday’s. Sleeping in, for example, is a luxury. In the case of my friend, she was a student when were in college 6 years ago. I forgot that she forgot what being a student is like. One of the key skills you must master as a student is time management. And that skill should apply to all aspects your life, especially your personal life. The weeks I do not have much time to catch up with my home friends or family are terrible for me. Your relationships outside of school work are critical to keep you sane and happy. They act as a buffer from the daily stress. Being able to talk about your day is such a huge relief, especially with someone who isn’t in the trenches with you. Venting to a classmate helps, but I rarely get as much out of the conversation as I do when talking to someone completely removed from the situation. My relationships also give...

Why I Didn’t Do Research

You may or may not be aware from reading my prior writings that for a time, I was considering a career in research. I worked in labs during every summer through college, and even though I didn’t do any research during med school and not a whole lot during residency, I actually ended up doing a research fellowship. Also, I have research in my blood. My father is a physician who gets a chunk of his salary from research grants. My mother didn’t go quite so far as that, but did publish around a hundred peer-reviewed articles during her career. My father especially encouraged me to incorporate research into my career, saying that it was interesting and also provided extra career flexibility. So anyway, I did this fellowship. And it sucked. I mean, it was pretty much The Fellowship Where Everything Went Wrong. I know what you’re thinking, that it’s not possible for a research fellowship to go that badly. Well, what if your research mentor is arrested and goes to jail midway through the year? I’m not saying that happened. But I’m not saying that didn’t happen either. Bad fellowship aside, I did get a taste of what it was like to do research. There were some parts of it I liked very much. For example, I really liked when the article I wrote came out, and I...

How Do You Imagine Your Future Career As A Physician?

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Lying down in bed at night right before you’re about to go to sleep, imagining your life after 15 years when you are an independent, practicing physician. We all know what it’s going to take to get there – working your butt off, passion for the field, etcetera etcetera. However, given the people of science that we are, it might be worthwhile to look at it from a more objective lens. In other words, here’s the question that I want to try to answer – what are the factors that contribute to the decision you make when choosing a specialty? Inside the OR vs. Outside the OR vs. Somewhere in the Middle I would encourage you to reference an earlier article I wrote where I described the process that every first year medical student should consider going through, trying to shadow in as many specialties as possible in order to figure out between medicine and surgery. In my opinion, this is the most important decision that you need to make while you are still in infancy for the long road ahead. If you like being in the OR and nothing else, then you should do something in surgery. If you can live without the OR, but still want to do something procedural, then you should look into something along...

How To Handle Long-Distance Relationships in Medical School

This month alone, I heard about five classmates who recently broke up with their significant other due to distance. Relationships, in general, are hard let alone maintaining a special bond with someone miles away. FaceTime just can’t replace being with the one you love in real life. And each subsequent year of school comes with its own stressors which in turn weighs heavily on the relationship, especially with someone who is not a student. But, despite the challenges, long distance relationships can absolutely last in school. I’ve frequently heard others say that long distance relationships never work. I think this generalization is far too extreme. A relationship, after all, is between two people. And if those two people are both willing to commit and to sacrifice, then the relationship is bound to last. For those who prefer to focus on the positive aspects of a long-distance relationship, it can a reliable source of stress relief and a much needed escape from the monotony of studying and test-taking. Knowing you can pick up the phone at the end of the day to hear a loving, supportive voice helps to make harsh faculty feedback less hurtful, to make a bad grade less important, to make endless studying more manageable. Spending most of your 20’s as a financially dependent student can be defeating. Being in a relationship can give you a strong...

How to Win the Med School Admissions Game with a Few Emails

A hypothetical email exchange to the med school admissions office of every school I applied to: 12/14/16 4:36p Dear Admissions Committee, I am very interested in your medical school. For your consideration I have attached my AMCAS and transcript. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Rachel     12/21/16 10:32p   Dear Admissions Committee, My name is Rachel and I applied to your medical school. I just wanted to follow up with my application to make sure it had been received and to give you my phone number in case you had any questions about my application. Again, thank you for considering me for a position in the Class of 2018, I hope to hear from you soon. Regards, Rachel   1/12/17 6:32p Dear Admissions Committee, I hope all is going well with the admissions process. I know that decision emails were scheduled to be sent out on the tenth of January and since I never received an email saying I was either accepted or rejected I just wanted to follow up and make sure you’d received my application. If not, I have attached my personal statement and AMCAS application again. Thank you for your continued support in this application process. Rachel   1/15/17 3:12a Wow OK I just saw online that yuou have closed the interview process? Like you’re donee? Which...

12 Study Tips to Help You Pass the USMLE Step 2 CS Exam

The USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exam is a critical stepping stone in your medical career, since it affects your ability to get a license. While the exam is graded pass/fail and you can take it more than once, it’s frustrating to prepare for it again and again. With the right study and practice tips, you won’t need to! Tips to Clear Step 2 CS Exam Here are some of the most effective tips to help you clear the Step 2 CS exam: Primary Resource – Even though you will find plenty of resources both online and offline, “First Aid for USMLE Step 2 CS” covers detailed cases for all the main diseases in America. It’s really the only book you need. Mini Cases – To improve your differential diagnoses, read mini cases and reread them a couple days before your USMLE exam. This will help you ask the right questions if your patient doesn’t have what you initially thought they did. Timed Practice – Simulate the conditions of the actual Step 2 CS exam by using a timer while practicing. During the real exam, this keeps you from getting too nervous and forgetting about time because you’re stressed. Live “Patient” – Working with one or more partners or standardized patients is the most important of practice tips to clear Step 2 CS exams. This lets you interact...

Let Me Tell You About My First Time In Surgery As A Woman

“Flowers are ok but she’d rather you pin her against the wall in the dark and personally deliver a bouquet of chills and shivers.” – Jmstorm Surgery? Please…who would want to put oneself through that misery!? And especially not me with my bubbly personality (and lack of modesty of course). I was bound to turn a blind eye to surgery real soon. In reality, I was not mentally prepared to start surgery as my first rotation, let alone a 7-hour long resection rectopexy on my very first day. The thought of being in the OR scared me, being this five-foot, petite female in between those towering men who were known to take command of the room. However, as I was scrubbing in before the procedure, I peaked through a small window and saw an animated, petite female standing on a two-foot tall step stool, eloquently instructing the nurses, technicians, and residents. As I entered the OR, my fears were soon replaced with awe as I found out that she was the head surgeon. In all honestly, I was floored by the confidence in her skills, the assertiveness of her polite tone, and the way she held the fort throughout the entire surgery. My impression was that surgery has been and likely still is a male-dominated field. Thus, I expected female surgeons as role models to be a rare sight....

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