Monday, September 2, 2013

The Perfect Major to get you into Medical School

The perfect major: whatever YOU are passionate about and want to major in.

Fortunately, there is no major that will get you into medical school. I say, "fortunately" because premedical students do have to be limited by 'science' majors. Take advantage of this opportunity and major in a filed you are truly passionate about, and a major you can perform well in. Admissions committees will be focusing more on your GPA than your major. More than likely, if you major in something you enjoy, you'll end up doing well, and it will show.

Additionally, for those interested in the non-traditional, science majors, try to tie in your major to healthcare somehow. For example, my friend majored in English & Literature. She took a year off between college and med school by working as the media spokeswoman at a non-profit organization that's researching products to improve healthcare to those living in poverty. Through this job, she has been able to network with many healthcare personnel and physicians, and compete in national competitions for their inventions.

In the end, admissions committees are not looking for what you majored, but how well you did in your chosen major, and what you did with it. Do what you enjoy, and if you're truly passionate, it will all show and pay off!!

P.S. I am still looking for non-trad medical students for my new blog series. If you were a non-trad applicant and want to do a guest post, please comment/email me!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Calling All Non-Traditional Students

I know it's a little ironic that my previous post was my decision regarding blogging, and yet I haven't updated in...4 months. Yeah, sorry about that! And, I really don't have a reason for that except for the boring, I got a little busy-didn't have much to share-didn't want to bore anyone-excuse.

Anyways, moving on -- I have some pretty exciting news!! And if you don't think it's really exciting, please just humor me, because I'm pretty excited about it!! =) =) =)

I will be starting a series on my blog entitled - Non-Trad Thursdays. When I didn't attend medical school right after college, I thought the worst had happened. It wasn't until I actually started medical school, did I realize how many non-traditional students there were, and actually made me regret not doing more with my time off. Most of that attributed to simply being unaware of the plethora of opportunities. I love hearing about how others utilized their time off, and I'm sure it will help a lot of other premed students who are in our boat!

I'm hoping to start off the series next month, depending on how many volunteers I get. Every Thursday, we will learn of a different individual's journey into medical school, non-traditionally. I've recruited a few medical students already, but I'm always looking for more!!! I realize there many definitions of non-traditional students, but I'm just defining it as any student who did not enter medical school directly after completing undergrad.

If you were once a non-traditional applicant, and are interested in sharing your story with us -- please send me an email at Thank you!!! =)

Friday, April 5, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog...

For the past few months, I've been sitting in the backseat with my social media presence and trying to figure out my reasons and future with it. It all started a few months ago when my roommate got into a lot of trouble for an email she wrote to a professor with very innocent/professional intentions. That email was misinterpreted and forwarded across the department and to the dean. Her situation made me step back and question my own social media presence and hope that I'm not writing something that is completely misinterpreted in my blog, twitter, or even Facebook. I try to add my voice into my writing to personalize it, but without actually hearing my voice or knowing me as a person - this can be misconstrued.

I definitely think it's important to be a little cautions in all forms of written media, and even more so on the internet. The medical field in all of its entirety is a combination of hugely public and extremely private information, so it makes sense when advised to "be careful" with any aspect of social media. However, the way we use the internet in our daily lives as grown astronomically. The immediate response to a question in daily conversation is "Google it"! I honestly don't remember how I ever got to places without Google Maps or Mapquest - did we really pull out a map every time we were looking for places?! Obviously, there's pros and cons to all situations, but the pros of the internet are phenomenal.

Do I need a blog or twitter account to do well in school? Absolutely not, and in some ways it's a distraction. So it's easy to see the social media outlets as not-important. But it is important. From my medical school experience thus far, I've learned to be a good doctor you need to know your information. But to be a great doctor - you need to know your information AND be advocates for your patients. Social interaction, understanding what patients are saying, keeping up to date on new advances inside and outside of medicine are all equally important. While I'm not suggesting or saying that I will sacrifice what I need to study to catch up on all of the above, I am suggesting that it's not a bad idea to make a little time for it.

When I began my search for my own manifesto about social media, I reached out to my favorite bloggers. They were so kind to provide me with insight and personal anecdotes to how they started blogging.*  This made me reflect back to why I started blogging in the first place.

I have a personal blog which I share with my close friends and family. I originally started blogging to interact with my friends and family. After graduating college, most my friends and I went our separate ways (geographically). It's an odd transition living minutes apart (walking distance) away from your close friends for four years to living at opposite parts of the country. Needless to say, not only was it tough to keep in touch, I was very alone. I didn't have anyone to share my random musings with, no one to share how my day went, and no one to hear back from. Thus, I started blogging to keep my friends in the loop and consequently they would share about their lives. Additionally, when I read my previous posts, I enjoy reliving those moments - how I felt during different stages of my life - it's a nice way of reflecting upon the past and moving forward.

With that blog, I randomly found other premedical students, non-trad students (like myself, at the time), and medical students. It was really interesting!! I felt like the blogosphere had all these communities out there and you can be a part of anyone you like. Want to see how the life of medical student is going - blog for that; Want to find DIY projects - blog for that; Want to find how others are studying for the MCAT - blog for that; Want to find what students are doing between college and medical school - blog for that! And the list continues. I got to learn, and I'm still learning so much about all the opportunities and activities there are in the world.

It's. Simply. Amazing.

At the end of my search, I realized one thing - I enjoy it. I simply just enjoy blogging and reading blogs of others. It not only allows me to learn, but allows me to grow as an individual by enriching my perspective. In addition, our patients are online! There's an invaluable amount of information we can learn from patients.

I'm not sure when/if I'll make the shift from being pseudo-anonymous to completely public. I'm not even sure of what kinds of entries I will be making in this blog. All I know, is that I'm here to stay.

*I thought I'd share a few of my favorite bloggers. Check them out, if you haven't already!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

My friend sent me this article a while back and said, "this is just soooo weird". A wealthy individual from Silicon Valley is being accused of stealing Lego sets from Target by replacing the barcode, with a home-made barcode sticker, enabling him to purchase the Lego sets at a very discounted rate. He further went on to sell the Lego sets on Ebay, making $30,000. "Was it compulsion, a desire to beat the system, or just pure greed" is the question pestering the public's mind. 

I am in no way endorsing this type of behavior, but if an individual was barely trying to make ends meet or in dire need money, this act would "make sense." In this situation, the individual was already wealthy on his own. Did he do it just to be rebellious? Do you ever get tired of always doing the "right" thing, and want to be rebellious also? What would you do? For whatever the intent was, there's a thing called "logic". Why would this individual jeopardize his current occupation, of which he makes much more than 30K, for Legos. Was he trying to prove a point? 

In the Spring, I started watching Switched at Birth on Netflix. [At the time, there were 22 episodes, each one being about 45 minutes each. I started watching it Friday evening and finished the entire season by Saturday afternoon. I took a small break to sleep, but other than that, I practically finished it all in one sitting.] ANYWAYS, in that show, there are two girls who are switched at birth. One of the families, is extremely wealthy and is suing the hospital for a multi-million dollar settlement. Not for the money, but mostly to prevent any such happenings in the future and to get an apology from the hospital. 

Suppose you were in their situation, would you sue the hospital and want an apology? Or would you think that you have enough money already, why waste time on a lawsuit? Having your child being switched at birth is quite severe, but think about a less drastic situation. Suppose you are extremely wealthy, would you still spend time calling your electric company because they over-charged you? Obviously, a number of factors would go into deciding this, but for the most part I do challenge discrepancies. Not for the money, not for free stuff, but sometimes I like to feel that I'm being treated well. And sometimes, the other side could be making an honest mistake, and they wouldn't know otherwise unless someone corrects them. Does this make sense? What would you do?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Calmer Weekend

Since the beginning of school, we've all been counting down to this Monday that just passed. As you may recall, students in their first semester get a mini-test a few weeks before midterms. This examination is a small percentage of our final grade, but it's put in place to test your ability to grasp the information and make adjustments necessary so midterms goes more favorably. 

We received our scores the following day, and while I wasn't too pleased with my scores, I now know what adjustments I need to make in my studying habits. This mini-test did provide a chance to review all the material covered in classes so far - so it was a great review. Midterms are around the corner and I'm starting to review material starting today. I've noticed med school is a constant repetition, and I'm just not reviewing enough. I have a big picture down, and I think that's really important, but there are lots of little details (I shouldn't really say "little details", because they're actually quite important) that I forget time and time again. 

In other news, Monday was a nice night off. I finally folded my laundry - what's the best part of folding laundry 10 days after they've been washed....? There's NOT much to fold!! haha

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend Before the (mini)Storm

The school that I attend has a midterm and a final exam which determines your grade in the class. There are other extremely minor grades along the way, but basically the bulk of your final grade are those two exams. I don't like it as much, because there is VERY little room of "messing up". I thrive with the consistent exams as the course progresses to test your mastery of the subjects and it forces you to keep up with the material.

One of the initial challenges faced with students is studying strategies. A common phrase to describe medical school is "drinking from a fire hose" with the amount of information that is thrown at you and that you must know. I also like to describe it with pancakes. You HAVE to eat six pancakes a day. For the first few days, you're really excited and it tastes delicious, so eating six is manageable. However, very soon (usually within the first couple of weeks) you realize you can't seem to digest six anymore. So one fine day, you decide you only want four. But that means the following day, you know have eight pancakes to eat. This describes lecture material. It's SO easy to get behind and once you're behind, it's a strenuous workout to get back on track.

I've kind of been battling staying on track with all my lectures, studying, and practice problems. Usually I'm only a couple lectures behind *knock on wood*, but then I'm struggling to find time to physically remember all that I'm supposed to. I feel like one day I know it, and even just few hours later it's already out the door. I've also been struggling to find my optimum studying style. I know I'm very visual so I try to  draw out my notes by making flow charts and diagrams - but more often than not, there's information that can't be placed in the diagram, and I just need to know it. Because there are a finite number of hours in a day, it's close to impossible to do absolutely everything you ideally would like to do. Prioritizing high-yield information is key. But, you don't want to be wrong =).

Since this is our first semester, we have sort of "mini-test" on Monday to test what we've learned thus far. It's worth about 6-7% of our entire grade, but it covers about a month's worth of information. Also, there are only three weeks between this mini-test and midterms, so there really isn't much of a wiggle room to catch up on previous material. There are so many things that I would have ideally like to have done by this point, but realistically won't get through. I was doing practice questions the other night and realized how little is ingrained into my tiny, little brain. I have four more lectures to catch up on, which I'm not too worried about - but it's all the essential details that I need to make sure I have down in two days. EEK!

Besides all of this, what really worries me daily - is the feeling of inadequacy. I know this is just the beginning, but I'm constantly afraid that I won't be able to know everything I'm supposed to, that I won't be able to do well on the exams, and that I won't be able to complete my dream of becoming a doctor.

But anyways, I'm trying to take a positive outlook this weekend. I can only do as much as I can do - can't really do much more than that. I'm hoping this mini-test will give me some insight of my current studying habits and how much information I can retain.

On a completely separate note, good luck to all the MS4s who are turning in their ERAS application this weekend. Congrats on making it this far and good luck on your interviews! I hope to be in your position soon =).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Living Standards

Conversation I had with my roommate last week:
Me: <In the kitchen warming food>
Roommate: <Walks in.> Oh wow you're dressed up
Me: Yeah I know, I decided to wear jeans today. 
R: Ooooh, what's the occasion?
Me: I ran out of track pants.

Thus, Saturday night was the 'hot, audacious - laundry night' that normal 20 year-olds dreams about. (In actuality though, I really do enjoy doing laundry; I like the smell of clean clothes.) A few hours before I plan on sleeping is when I usually put in my clothes. So when the time was just right, I put my clothes in and went back to studying and doing my thing. A couple hours passed and I was getting ready to go to bed when I realized I never put my clothes in the dryer. ARGH! By the time I got my clothes out, I was ready to hit the sack. I removed my pillow cover and placed it next to my pillow in hopes of wrapping it before falling asleep.

Aaaaaaand, that never happened.

I was too tired to fold my clothes, so I kept my clean clothes in the laundry basket in hopes of folding them Sunday morning.

Aaaaaaand, that never happened. 

This week has been relatively taxing, so my bed turned into a daily-clothes, dirty hamper with books/notes spread across it. Not to forget, my pillow cover was still there laying next to my naked pillow.

It wasn't until YESTERDAY, four days since my laundry night, that I couldn't take it anymore and I cleaned up. I wrapped my pillow with the pillow case, I organized my notes and placed them in their respective binders, I placed my books on my bookshelf, and I found a spot for my daily clothes in my closet. I still haven't folded my clean clothes - I mean, that's just crazy talk. :P

Now that I think about it, four days isn't really THAT long...but it's super long for me. Going more than a day without having these things organized is like a nightmare.