medschool

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Step 2

First of all, you know how everyone says Step 2 is much easier than Step 1? They are correct. If you were conscious during your 3rd year clerkships and you spend a reasonable amount of time studying, you will be able to get a better score than you did on Step 1. Many people have asked me how I studied for Step 2, so I decided to write a quick blog about. (Disclaimer: If you’re applying to Ortho, Neurosurg, Derm, or Ophtho, none of this applies to you. You just need to talk to one of your people.) I chose not to take any time off to prepare for Step 2 because I had a six-week Psychiatry rotation at the end of 3rd year.  This rotation is lovingly referred to as “Psych-cation” because the hours are pretty amazing (usually 8:30-ish to lunchtime). In other words, I knew I would have time to study. So I scheduled Step 2 for June 29th, which was three days after my Psych shelf, and two days before the first day of 4th year.  (Yay! One day of vacation!) I ordered First Aid for Step 2 CK and Step 2 Secrets. (I didn’t use the latter very much, although it is a good resource and has great derm pictures.) Because I had used UWorld for my 3rd year clerkships, I reset the Qbank and started over. The Step 2 Qbank has ~2,200 questions...

Why I Took A Gap Year

Should you do a gap year before applying to med school? In this post, we’ll go over some of the benefits of doing a gap year. I’ll also share my own experience. That’s right – I did a gap year! Really quickly I’ll give you my experience and then I’ll provide you a general perspective on gap years. My Own Experience Taking A Gap Year Before Med School: People often forget that I took a gap year. But my gap year has been one of the most influential in my life. I graduated with my bachelors in 3 years. I didn’t have the financial capability to afford a 4-year education without requiring loans. But I also didn’t feel prepared to jump straight into medical school. I still felt mentally immature and inexperienced. So I made it a decision to take a gap year and apply to med school during my “4th year of college”. What did I do during my time off? I worked part-time a behavioral therapist one-on-one with autistic children. It’s by far the best job I’ve ever had! I had a light schedule, had a great salary, and developed my interpersonal communication skills with one of the toughest crowds out there. Working with my kiddos (clients) was a life-altering experience. But it also helped me on my med school interview. On every interview I went on, they...

Taking Sick Days in Medicine

As my regular readers may have noticed, I tend to write about what I know. I think it’s the best way for me to choose what to write about because then I don’t feel like a phony, which is something I sometimes feel just as a by-product of being a student of medicine. Another way in which I feel like a bit of a phony is when I get sick and have to miss school. It’s especially tough on rotations because you feel like you’re letting everyone down, as if the whole team is somehow there for you when in reality they would function completely the same without you (although they may miss your positive attitude/humor/white coat pocket snack stash). For example, I get migraines often and they are only partially managed with medication. Sometimes the meds just don’t work or I’m not able to take them in time. Once I went a whole month without them because there was a snafu with the pharmacy and I couldn’t refill them. During that time I was so nervous I would get a migraine and have to call in sick that the whole time I was filled with anxiety over the mere possibility. Even if I do actually take the sick day I just sit at home feeling nauseas and ill, arguing with myself over whether I am sick “enough” for...

This Yale Professor is Tackling Mental Health Through Her Unique Class

Laurie Santos’s, a Yale Professor and her class “Psychology and the Good Life” made headline news for enrolling the most amount of students – a whopping 1,200 students – in its 316-year history. Most other classes do not exceed 600 students. In her lectures, Dr. Santos teaches students how to change their behavior in order to lead a happier life. According to Dr. Santos, students were drawn to the course because she believes students at Yale experience anxiety and depression. In her course, she addresses the rampant mental health crisis that permeates Yale and other elite colleges and universities. Santos wants students at Yale to be happier and lead more fulfilling lives, but also aims to change the culture at the university. According to the NYT article on the course, a 2013 report by the Yale College Council discovered that more than 50% of the undergraduate student body sought after mental health care services at the university. The course focuses on theories in positive psychology as well as strategies to make behavioral lifestyle changes  to live better, more fulfilling lives. Course assignments include quizzes and exams like a regular college course, but also includes an innovative self-improvement project she has called the “Hack Yo’ Self project.” The weekly assignments are far more traditional, encouraging students to perform random acts of kindness and form new social connections. The course has 24 teaching assistants spanning...

What It’s Like Being At A Caribbean Medical School

I distinctly remember sitting in one of my undergrad pre-med classes joking to a friend of mine after getting a below average MCAT score that, “I guess I’m gonna end up at a Caribbean medical school.” About 10 years later, after finishing Medical School at Saint George’s University, I sit here laughing at the person I was. The truth is, Caribbean Medical School was really an abstract concept at that point. I wouldn’t have been able to even tell you what the top 3 schools were—or even how their programs were even structured.  At that point in my life, I was always an honors student.  I graduated with over a 4.0 in high school, went on to earn mostly A’s in undergrad (except for those 3 C’s and one D in some of my chemistry courses), graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with so much volunteer, work and well rounded life experience under my belt.  Despite my 23 on the MCAT (whew, that was liberating), I had this faith that as long as I got a few interviews, I could easily win over an admissions committee and show them why I would make an excellent addition to their program.  My Ohio State pre-med advisor thought otherwise. When she told me I shouldn’t even apply because I wouldn’t get in, I thought she was being callous and pessimistic.  Well, I guess she was...

Why Use Speed Listening in Medical School?

Wouldn’t you just love to have a fast-forward button in medical school? Or wouldn’t you just crave for the ability quickly get through the boring lectures that you have every day? Have you ever avoided watching a Pathoma or Sketchy Pharm video because they were too long? What if I told you that you could use speed listening in medical school and cut your studying time in half? In this post, I will go over how to use speed listening in medical school. I will break down my step by step method that I used for my first two years of medical school. I also break down how I used speed listing to study for my Step 1. Why Use Speed Listening in Medical School? Many people get scared away when I mention speed listening in medical school. But honestly, I can’t think of going through medical school without it.  I had so much free time and my grades remained high while using speed listening, Thus I think speed-listening is something that should be tried by every medical student! Maybe you’re not a believer just yet. You may argue that it’s hard enough to listen to your lectures at 1x much less increasing that to 2x. I’d first argue that you don’t remember much of what you hear anyways. The typical saying is that you remember 10% of what you...

Expanding Medical Education to Address Physician Shortages

The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy at its Annual Meeting reaffirming the need for an increased number of medical residency slots to ensure that patients have access to an adequate physician workforce. As new medical schools have been established and enrollment in existing schools has expanded in recent years to help ease existing and predicted physician shortages, the new policy calls on legislators, private sector partnerships, and existing and planned medical schools to create and fund graduate medical education (GME) programs that can accommodate the equivalent number of additional medical school graduates, consistent with U.S. workforce needs. “Current data show that the number of U.S. medical student graduates is growing at a higher rate than the number of residency slots. Without expanding the number of residency positions available to future classes of medical school graduates, the number of graduates seeking positions will eventually exceed what is available,” said AMA Board Member and medical student Karthik V. Sarma, M.S. “The AMA will continue to vigorously advocate for the continued and expanded contribution by all health care payers at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as private sources, to adequately fund GME. We believe that it is imperative that efforts to expand the number of medical school graduates also address the need to ensure the availability of an adequate number of GME slots to meet the newly created...