2015 has been quite the year, and I can say in full honesty that I have studied more in these past twelve months than I had over the four year course of my entire undergraduate degree. Funnily enough, today I received one of those Facebook “memory” notifications showing an image I posted today, last year. The image was of a beach that I would visit almost every weekend for the rest of the year! And to be honest, that’s what reminded me to write this post, or rather, this journal entry to make up for all the ones I’ve missed throughout the year. Continue reading
There are so many things to prepare for before heading abroad for medicine, that many of the standard travel items one would think to pack for a typical vacation are often forgotten. Here is a list of things I forgot, friends forgot, or that I wish I had known to bring before I moved to the Caribbean. (Note: this may not all be applicable to students moving anywhere cold!) Continue reading
I would like to start this post by saying that studying medicine abroad is a great way to go if attending an American or Canadian school isn’t feasible for you, but it is not the best possible option. Unfortunately, stats show that American IMGs have a 60% chance of being considered for residency interviews in the states, and non-US IMGs (ie. Canadians) have an even lower likelihood of being considered, at 48%. This is why it is very important to consider every possible outcome before enrolling in medicine abroad (if you plan to work in North America, that is). That being said, I understand that for many of us, passing all the requirements to get into medical school at home can be difficult. For me, I would have had to re-do my undergrad and focus on the sciences – or at least spend another 2 years taking a load of pre-requisite courses. For others, achieving the outstanding GPA required for most med schools is unrealistic due to full-time jobs, kids, or family needs. All of this being aside from the required high MCAT scores. One of the largest factors stopping students from attending med school at home seems to also be the exorbitant tuition fees demanded from the first year of medical school alone (think rent, supplies, and textbooks on top of every day expenditures and then add tuition). Continue reading
Hey guys! It has been a while again…as you can imagine, my second semester has been even busier than the last. This time around my courses include biochem, physiology, genetics, neurology, research methods, and a case-based learning seminar once a week. Just finished my second set of block exams for the semester and I can’t even imagine how the time flew by!
Coming back from the break was more difficult than I had anticipated. I had hoped to feel refreshed and ready to get back into things after my 10 days at home (I even managed to swing a trip down to Cali with the fam!) but when when my plane touched down, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of depression washing over me. I can’t put my finger on why exactly, but it felt very much like a system re-set, as if I was back to re-start all over again. It was like the previous 4 months had added up to nothing. It felt as though I had worked so hard to learn so many things over the last 4 months, only to start new courses about which I knew nothing. Of course, I was indeed moving forward in my medical education, however looking from the front of a new semester in medicine seemed so very daunting. Regardless of these feelings, I managed to pass the time with the help of friends who felt the same way, Friends (as in the actual TV show), and ice cold diet cokes by the pool. Continue reading
I’m finally in the last stretch of MD1! Exams are over and went extremely well, thankfully, considering that week of studying beforehand was pure hell. Among the many things I’ve learned while studying medicine, one outstandingly important tidbit of wisdom I can share with future students is the importance of understanding the material you are learning as you memorize it. Some students will tell you that memorizing material without understanding it is impossible. I disagree. It’s perfectly feasible, however doing this hardly lends to USMLE prep, 16 months (or 2 years for American med grads) down the road. Due to the nature of the material we learn in med, much of it can be crammed a week or two before the block. In classes like anatomy, embryology, radiology or ethics, where the concepts aren’t difficult to understand, all that is required to do well on exams is memorization. What’s the catch, though? We forget facts that register in our brains as meaningless! The important thing is to make facts meaningful by understanding them. By relating them to other concepts, by applying them to practical situations, and by visualizing how they can be implemented off our note sheet and in the real world. When we do this, recalling 1 fact from the 1000s learned throughout the basic sciences becomes a simple process of eliminating unrelated principles. Continue reading
As exams are fast approaching (again), I’ve been struggling to find the motivation required for me to dive into all this material. The one thing I’ve realized about studying med is that the hardest part isn’t in understanding the material, but rather accepting that it’s all I’m going to be looking at for the next several months of my life. In the long term, 16 months is no time at all. However it can be so difficult to visualize the end goal when you’re 10 slides into learning a 100 slide lecture, 1 of 20 for one class, during one block. On days like today, where I become endlessly distracted by the myriad of articles, news updates, images, tweets and videos presented to me by various media, it’s necessary to take a chunk of time to get out of the books and do my own thing. However, days like today seem to happen more frequently than not and I’ve been frustrated with my inability to find fun in my studies. All that I’m learning is so fascinating! But there is so much to learn that I barely have time to scrape the surface of many topics worth looking into, reading papers about, and grasping a full understanding of. Continue reading