OVERCOMING BURNOUT AND GENERAL OVER-IT-NESS

c86f566037a345c4caea12984fed031e.jpgI’m officially experiencing senioritis.

Having senioritis is great in undergraduate programs, because technically your entire future isn’t revolving around the last few months of your 4 year degree. Now, however, I feel unable to fully succumb to my careless subconscious telling me that procrastinating is okay, and that I’ve tried hard enough for long enough, and that I’m pretty much outta here. This being because, news flash, I’m not outta here! Or this! Or med school at all! And never really will be! And that the courses I’m taking now, in this final semester of second year are some of the most important courses in preparation for my future as a physician, and USMLE/MCCEE test taker.  Continue reading

GETTING SICK IN MED SCHOOL

tumblr_m3vwk5lv8U1qchy3bo1_500For the first time since I started medical school 12 months ago, I got sick. I got sick, and it was so, so awful. I’m not talking about your average cold, sore throat, and cough. This was a hard core stomach bug that stayed in my system for 5 whole days! And under normal circumstances, those 5 days would be spent alone in bed and fast asleep. However, according to Murphy’s law, or whatever intergalactic rule that presides over this existence, no one apparently is ever allowed to come down with a stomach flu at a convenient time. This bug hit me right, before, exams.  Continue reading

THIRD SEMESTER CATCH UP

tumblr_m9hc8uwGxN1r5pmtio1_500It has been a while since I’ve written anything, and it all has to do with this being the craziest semester ever! My schedule has reverted back to the MD1 days of 8-5’s, minus the hands-on labs. This time around it’s straight lectures, all day, every day. Not only do we have some of the more dense courses (ie. Path, Pharm, & Micro), but we’ve also been killed with loads of assignments and presentations. There was a point last month where I had 4 presentations in under 2 weeks! That’s the down side of attending a smaller medical school – participation marks count, and so instead of burying your head in the books studying for blocks (like you wish you could), you’ve got to get in what’s called “active learning”. To me, it’s silly, but I just accept it and move on.

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ALMOST DONE FIRST YEAR!

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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

MEMORIZING VS. UNDERSTANDING

I’m finaltumblr_lte7dhRyr91qbsx6do1_500 (1)ly 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

ON STAYING MOTIVATED

eceb2040e7b07e87f6e05b6b52f38664 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