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...

Tomorrow is My First Med School Interview

Tomorrow is my first med school interview, and I am sh*ting my pants a little. If you’re in med school, you’re probably laughing and reminiscing, taking pleasure in my uneasiness while also sympathizing with me because it was you in my position just a few years ago. If you are applying this year but haven’t yet heard about interviews, please don’t hate me, your time will come. If you’re still a premed, in the early days of intro to bio, cramming over your book, trying with all your might to remember the difference between the xylem and the phloem (mmm…plant bio, so useful…), here’s to there being a light at the end of the tunnel. Cheers. Maybe I’ll have a beer beforehand… So, what have I done to prepare and what is my game plan? 1. Be Honest: I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to speak with a doctor who works for a medical school. He gave me a pointer that I have been repeating to myself all week: “If you are honest, you don’t have to practice. Because you’re speaking the truth.” 2. Be Confident: YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR. If you are sitting in the interview chair, the admission committee saw something in you. Whether that be your academics, your MCAT score, your research, your participation on an athletic team, in a...

9 Questionable Medicine-Themed Trinkets Found on Etsy.

Whether you’re looking for a great gift or just hoping to treat yourself, these Etsy goodies definitely won’t make you look like a creeper. 1. This very steampunk anatomical heart pendant is the ideal gift for that special person in your life who both abhors traditional, hand-drawn renderings of a heart and is also infuriatingly literal. 2. This knitted lab rat…on an actual dissection tray! Before you let your child set out to obtain their first fresh specimen, have them practice on this cute ‘n cuddly toy! Perfect for kids who are not yet confident wielding a scalpel.   3. An actual beaver fetus (how is this a craft; I can’t even). While I’m not sure whether this would fall under the “handmade” or “vintage” category of Etsy, I think this delightful fetus is what my grandmother would call “a conversation piece”: while it may not have practical value, nothing is more likely to get the conversation rolling at your next dinner party than pickled beaver.   4. A crocheted gallbladder (includes gallstones). As someone who has actually smelled the contents of a gallbladder, I wouldn’t be the first to describe this as adorable. However, I can’t deny that it was far more anatomically correct than I would have expected for something made out of freakin’ yarn.   BONUS: Sperm & Egg Playset (I am not joking). Just in...

Dear Nan, I’m Running to Help People Like You

Dear Nan, I’m writing you this letter to remind you how incredible you are and how you have inspired me throughout my life and will continue to forever. This is Sally, one of your many grandchildren, the one who is lucky enough to be named after you and your daughter, Junie. When I was born, I knew right away that I had to live up to an incredibly high standard and be full of life, literally… I was so eager and excited to get into the world as a Sally that it took me 15 minutes, and when I was here I think I tried to take in so much “life” that I could barely be picked up! So I rolled around, smiled, and clung to you and Pop Pop because no matter what anyone said, according to you both, I was the most beautiful girl in the world. Growing up I began to understand what it really meant to take on your name and to be a part of the Ryan family that you and Pop Pop help build. You taught me to always love, to always support one another, to always cherish every moment with my loved ones, to always fight for what I believed in and to always be faithful. You taught me to be kind, to work hard, to be selfless, and to be respectful....

Take a Chance For Once

A common problem that I’ve observed among my group of pre-med and medical student friends is not making time to participate in activities and experiences that are unrelated to school and medicine. Hobbies are forsaken, instruments are neglected and maintaining any semblance of a social life is out of the question. Many will hold off on decisions like moving, beginning a relationship and traveling because they don’t think they can. There seems to be an unspoken assumption that to pursue medicine means to put the rest of your life on hold, and I think it’s kind of bogus. In order to be a good doctor you need to be able to relate to people. Patient populations are wonderfully diverse and over the course of your career you will treat individuals from many different backgrounds, cultures and walks of life. Memorization and rote learning aren’t going to help you connect when it comes to a patient dealing with life challenges, but being able to draw on how you handled your own personal struggles WILL. As for the idea held by many pre-meds that doing anything other than studying, doing research and volunteering at the hospital will be looked upon as a waste of time by an admissions committee, that’s simply not true. Most medical schools are looking for well-rounded applicants who are able to demonstrate that they’ve experienced more than...

Check Your Nads in the Mirror! (Parody of Man in the Mirror)

“Manhood in the Mirror” | A parody of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” to raise awareness of testicular cancer / testicular self-exam. Go to http://zdoggmd.com/2010/11/manhood-in… for links to more testicular self-exam and cancer prevention resources!...

26 Things I Learned During My First Year of Real Employment

Whether it’s your first year out of med school or you’re taking a year or two to work between undergrad and medical school, there is a lot to learn in the real working world. And, for those of you still in school, you can get a head start on some of this insightful wisdom… 1. Bank account balances can be comprised of more than two digits. 2. Once you determine exactly when you need to wake up to make it to work on time, you will get out of bed at that precise moment every day with no time to spare. For example, I get out of bed 31 minutes before work starts. Not 30 minutes; 30 minutes is not enough time. Waking up 30 minutes before work starts is a crisis. 3. Exactly which holidays are federal holidays and which are just the stupid ones. As a doctor, you’ll be working on both but the real ones give you slightly more FOMO. 4. I appreciate my free time so, so much more. When I was an undergraduate in college, I had seemingly inconceivable amounts of free time — when I look back on it, it’s astonishing. I think I actually transcended the space-time continuum with the amount of unstructured, obligation-free time that I had. What did I use it for? I created a fake NFL team in Madden...

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