yash-pandya

Yash Pandya

Yash Pandya is a science writer at The "Almost" Doctor's Channel. He is a rising third-year student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Emergency Medicine with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. Yash plans on attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Fall 2016 with guaranteed admission. In addition to the usual humdrum of academic involvement, Yash loves to play Ping Pong, catch up on the latest "Big Bang Theory," and travel. Having lived in India for half his lifetime, Yash aspires to expand his horizons into international healthcare by practicing medicine globally.

A Review Of Study Resources For The Big USMLE Step 1

A day rarely passes by without coming across yet another resource that is widely renowned for helping medical students do well on the USMLE Step 1. As soon as I get a chance, I jump onto one of those forums (SDN, usmleforum, etc.) to find out what people think. More often than not, I am left more indecisive than before, confused about who I should trust and whether it will be worth my time adopting a brand new resource to improve my chances for a good score on Step 1. However, looking forward to taking the exam in nearly six months from now, I have compiled a list of resources and would like to share what I think about them in as objective a manner as possible. So strap yourselves in for the ride!  First Aid I’m not going to beat the dead horse with this one. First Aid is a must for you to do well on the exam. It is a comprehensive resource that compiles all content from the first two years of medical school in one book. On the downside, it consists of lists and outlines rather than explanations. While there are mnemonics to help you remember the details, sometimes you may need mnemonics to remember the endless list of mnemonics. Kaplan In my opinion, Kaplan is a great resource for students who would like to...

So, How Do I Stay Busy In Medical School?

Medical school is hard. There is no denying that hard-set fact. However, in order to make it through with your sanity still intact, you need to look outside the classroom. Here’s how to stay busy in medical school. The time you spend going through those basic science courses, organ systems, and patient cases is undoubtedly going to give you enough on your plate. However, I believe that it is a person’s interest beyond his or her core passion for learning the art of clinical practice that made them want to come to medical school. For most of us, it started when we took a hard look in the mirror and asked how we can make an impactful change in the world. You may have been someone who wanted to improve access to services and volunteered in the community or you might have worked at an HIV clinic to further detection and management of the ailment. For me, health literacy and public education was my calling. As I went through high school and college, I gradually and surely began to witness a huge divide in what health care providers can tell their patients. Be it through counseling or direct prescriptions, there often seemed to be a deficit in receiving that same guidance by the patients. Part of the reason was a lack of clear communication and consideration from the provider...

What I Learned The Last Summer Of My Life…

Feels kind of odd to think about the last summer of your life. You never think the last will ever be your last. However, as a first year medical student, the 3 summer months before your second year are truly the last months of sweet freedom. After that, all you have to look forward to is Step 1 (yikes!) and two glorious years of core clerkships and electives before you start residency. So, I put a lot of thought into my summer plans, which ended up being more of a dilemma really. “Should I be the classic gunner and do research all three months or should I take a nice vacation?” In the end, I made the clichéd middle of the road choice of doing a little bit of research and taking a trip down memory lane to India. After wrapping up my research work, I took a flight out on August 1st and landed straight in Ahmedabad, the hopping city in the quaint, peninsular state of Gujarat. A lot had changed since the last time I was there, but the one thing that truly blew me away was health care. Yes, I know what you’re thinking – I probably went there to shadow. However, I didn’t need to. The sources that informed me about the state of medicine in India were composed of an eclectic cohort consisting of...

How Should You Find The Best Research Possible?

For every pre-medical or medical student, this is always a lingering question. What is the best way to find a research mentor? Is there a magic key to getting the best research project? Should you be spending your days working on a lab bench trying to discover the mechanistic basis of diseases or should you be scanning your eyes through patient charts in the comfort of an office? Having gone through this myself, I would like to offer a few words of advice to all rising undergraduate and future medical students. My suggestion would be to approach this issue with three basic things in mind: 1. Pursue what you enjoy doing This may seem like the most obvious fact. However, students often seem to neglect their interest for a particular area of research for its supposed popularity and potential for publications. If you are not involved in work that you find interesting, you are undoubtedly going to have a difficult time tolerating it for the next however many years to come. Research takes long-term commitment. Once you find something you are truly passionate about, stick to it. But until you do, keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to switch from one mentor to another. 2. Set expectations with your mentor Whether you decide to do basic science or clinical research, make sure you have an honest conversation...

What’s The Best Part About Being A Medical Student?

How would you define a “medical student”? In the simplest sense, a medical student is an individual (or creature, depending on which attending you’re talking to) who knows just enough to realize what’s going on yet not enough to be entrusted with any real responsibility. While this may seem demeaning to some, I myself find it to be absolutely fascinating. For instance, imagine being in the operating room as a medical student. You know what procedure is going on, why it’s being done, and maybe even what could go wrong (depending on whether you quickly googled the procedure during morning rounds). However, you are essentially free from concerns of making sure that the procedure goes exactly as planned and can instead appreciate the art of it all. You are there to learn and pretty much nothing else. What more could you want! The residents and attendings are there to make sure that the patient pulls through while you are there all scrubbed in to hold the retractor and watch the magic unfold. I recall being in a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery where I was entrusted with the responsibility of holding the camera and following the surgeons as they did the resecting and suturing. It was at that moment I realized what a cool job this could be. The flexibility and opportunity to figure out what specialty you want to...

A Look Back At Those Early Days As A Pre-Med…

One of the many perks of being a medical student is possessing the (purported) wisdom to guide those who will come after me. When I was in the ranks of those aspiring pre-med students who looked forward to a potential career in medicine, I often wondered how one acquired the kind of eloquence and understanding of what it takes to be in the medical field. While I definitely do not assume the ultimate authority on the importance of things to be done during one’s undergraduate career, I would like to take a stab at the most salient points in this arena by reflecting on my own experiences, hopefully helping out a handful of prospective aspirants who wish to join our ranks in what I believe to be one of the most rewarding professions in the world. Stay Committed This goes without saying, but it is still a point that is often underemphasized. The only way for medical schools to assess an applicant’s propensity to stick to the medical field over the long run is by measuring their experience in specific positions on a long-term basis. Whether it is climbing the ranks of a student organization on campus, volunteering with the same high school for the last three years, or writing for The (Almost) Doctor’s Channel once every two weeks (a little self-plug there), all of these activities showcase one’s...

Is It Time Yet To Redefine Medical Education?

The ins and outs of medical education are hard to imagine as an outsider to the field. However, once you are in it, it’s a rabbit hole with not escape. Even as a lowly first year medical student, I am often embroiled in engaging articles or scintillating conversations about the state of medical education. What have we done that has worked well in the past? Is it working at its optimal capacity right now? What kind of scope do we have to improve it for our future generations of doctors? From the times of apprenticeship as the primary way of learning the art of medicine to the current paradigms of systematized education by the 2+2 model (2 years of basic science education followed by 2 years of clinical education), we have definitely come a long way. However, like everything in the world, the new establishment comes with its own set of drawbacks. While I am engaged in the day and night struggle to ingrain those molecular biomarkers of immunology or those atypical antipsychotics commonly prescribed for schizophrenia, the context of it all often seems out of reach. I constantly question myself: How does this all apply to a patient? This imagination process is often unfortunately left to the individual student, pending future patient contact in 2 years time. So what can really be done to improve the current setup...

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