7 Pre-Med Tips for Med School … and the Real World

It is 2 AM. You smell like sweat and coffee, but that doesn’t concern you because everyone you’re studying with at this hour does, too. You are leafing through hand-written class notes and the textbook your professor authored all while eating dinner/breakfast/snack courtesy of the vending machine. You look like this more often than not: Your eyes are half-closed and burning, but you can’t stop, won’t stop because you haven’t even reviewed the copies of past exams. You’re pre-med.   I graduated college two years ago, yet the memories of being a student and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to study for an exam have not faded. After three too many cups of coffee, I would lose momentum and motivation and often questioned the value of hard work. What was the purpose of being a good student? Why am I working this hard? Now, as a member of the working world, I sincerely appreciate the hard work I put in to each assignment for every class. I earned my stripes. I say this because in the first week of my job, I relied on the basic skills I developed as a conscientious student. These are the skills I think are critically important to master if you want to be wildly successful in the workplace or in the classroom: 1. Deadlines Work is like final exam...

A 4-Minute Guide to Multiple Sclerosis

Clara Knappertz gives a comprehensive report on multiple sclerosis including the definition, symptoms, causes, and current treatments. She also explains the etymology of the name, the history of the disease, how it affects lives, and more fascinating information on the...

Famous Kidneys Throughout History

What do you get when you cross a kidney and a famous person? Kidneys doubling as organs and...

The Difficult Obstacles a Histology Student “Faces”

Studying histology is almost as frustrating as spending an hour on hold with Time Warner Cable, finally getting in touch with a representative, and then having them accidentally hang up on you. Painful. I should have known I was in for it when I was only one of seven to register for this “med school level” class as an undergrad. But, I was a naive, overly ambitious pre-med and didn’t realize the great sacrifice I’d be making: fewer nights making lifelong memories at my favorite dive bar, Craig’s. If I only knew. But, it was too late, and I had to make the most of it. So I did. I started to see the slides as beautiful pieces of artwork (you have to admit, some of the staining is kind of gorgeous) and even once considered buying a histology poster to decorate my apartment. While I didn’t buy it (because I knew my roommates might not appreciate having a beautiful cut of prostate hanging on the wall nearly as much as I would), this class really brought out my creative side. I could make out different faces in the slides, and some of them reflected the feelings I had while studying for the tests. So, though I have not yet taken real med school histology, I can imagine the torture each first year experiences. These histology slide “faces” are,...

A New (Delicious) Way to Detect Alzheimer’s

This week, while perusing my favorite science and health periodicals, I have consistently seen articles outlining a new way to detect Alzheimer’s in patients– using peanut butter. It almost sounds like the beginning of an article from The Onion; peanut butter cures cancer! Cures the common cold! But the further I read into these new claims, the more I found the science, while perhaps simple, to be valid. Alzheimer’s affects the brain’s temporal lobe (one on each side of your head) which is neurologically the home of short-term memory and. . . your sense of smell. One of the reasons that Alzheimer’s can be difficult to catch in its early stages is that memory loss is very much, at first anyway, an internalized individual process; someone may not realize (or want to admit) that they are having trouble with remembering things, or they may chalk it up to “old age” or “stress”. The process is also, generally, very gradual, and it may go relatively unnoticed until it becomes profound enough for others to pick up on it. Enter, peanut butter. Since your sense of smell also resides in the part of your brain responsible for memory, researchers thought it reasonable that if they could detect changes in a person’s sense of smell, they could infer that short-term memory might also be affected. In a controlled study, researches plopped a...

Beginners Guide to TBL Groups

In this rapidly evolving and high-tech world of medicine, it has become imperative for doctors to be able to work in groups due to the increasingly team-based nature of modern healthcare. More specifically, hospitals are now comprised of specialists that have to work together with not only each other, but also a plethora of workers including Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Speech Pathologists, Nurses etc. Because the physician profession has a tendency to attract a medley of strong and unique personalities, we need something that will blunt our edges and allow us to work together with regular people. Abracadabra Team Based Learning: a group exercise designed to simulate team-based problem solving. Now to be honest, TBLs should really be called, ”how to deal with people without hating everybody”, but don’t worry it can be fun; especially if you’re aware of the people you’re going to work with. To help you, I’ve compiled a list of quick, easy, and horribly superficial stereotypes that you can use to judge the people you’re going to be working with. The random fact person. Some people will have little to no productive input into the discussions in TBL, which is actually completely fine, whatever, medical school is tough. However, trying one’s best to be a productive member doesn’t mean it’s cool to go spouting off hundreds of useless facts throughout the discussion. Everybody has already...

The Memory Trick Every Med Student Should Know

Anyone studying medicine knows that there is a ton of information that you need to just buckle down and memorize. Sure, you’ve tried the obvious strategies for remembering tricky facts — like mnemonics or repetition — but sometimes you need more than this basic toolkit to get through the next examination. One solution to this problem comes courtesy of Shiv Gaglani, an MD/MBA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School, who recently wrote for Fast Company about his personal memory trick that has helped him throughout his academic career. Utilizing the principles of association, Gaglani recommends mentally attaching new facts to stories, as they hold more psychological significance than a mere mnemonic. To illustrate the trick, Gaglani explains that he will always remember that one side effect of bleomycin is pulmonary fibrosis because he recalls how then-upstart cyclist Lance Armstrong declined the cancer treatment in 1996 in fear of scarring his lungs. Whenever possible, Gaglani writes, he attempts to marry facts with associations stronger than the average nonsense phrase used by decades of students. And so the idea for Osmosis was born. This side project of Galani’s is a “web-based platform that, among other things, automatically recommends associations” for any topic that a medical student would need to memorize. The online tool is still in the beta phase, but Gaglani writes that he expects it to continue growing. “We’re focusing on...

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