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Life Medical School

First Year of Medical School is Over

and it has been for about a month now. To be honest, I’ve been relaxing without any guilt of not studying, not worrying about extracurriculars, boosting my application, or even getting ready for next year like I was constantly worried about last summer when I was prepping to enter first year. It’s a good feeling. I’ve had time to reflect and reevaluate myself and recognize all the changes that have occurred.
Two weeks ago, I helped with some recruiting events for the medical school where some of my class travelled Oklahoma and taught high schoolers about some of the things you get to learn in medical school. Over and over, my classmates talked about how much we had learned in our first year. Listening to my classmates explain things in such a way that high schoolers understood, gave me a lot of pride in watching the fruits of our labors these last nine months come to life. We have successfully integrated anatomy, foundational biological sciences, and now the physiology of the systems we are going through sequentially; we are able to articulate these concepts into something high schoolers can understand.
I’ve heard it said several times now that medicine involves a lot of teaching and at first I dreaded that thought. Rarely am I able to explain things in a fluid way such that my audience understands my thought process and the little tricks in my mind that help me learn. However, once I was put in front of these students just barely encroaching into the path that is Premed, I felt like for the first time I was able to take what I learned and really present it to this audience where they might be able to take away a deeper understanding of the heart, lung, or whatever we were discussing. Simply because I really, really understood the how it all works- from a molecular level, up to cellular, tissue, organ, and the entire body system through and through. Its taken 17 years of school, but I am finally getting there.
Throughout classes, I always felt like there was too much information- how could it ever all stick? Well, some of it doesn’t. My classmates were always right there for me to ask them about my weak points  in order to figure out a good way to explain it. But for everything I didnt quite feel proficient in, there were 17 other things I could rattle off and say- with some confidence- that were just as pertinent. It was an extremely cool thing to find. This crazy, flawed, difficult system that is medical education is working. I wish I had the stats- how many pages have I read, how many words- some way to quantify what was shoved into my brain. Its astronomical, but somehow, its working.
Against all odds- fighting sleep and skipping workouts and eating junk; feeling like crap, feeling like you’re never going to make it, skipping class, studying at all hours of the day, unsustainably torturing ourselves to fill ourselves to the breaking point with information- it actually really really worked. And medicine is just as amazing as I hoped it would be, and more.
Here’s to you, first year- all your ups and downs, suffering through, and thriving with some of the most wonderful humans I’ve ever met; I’m glad you are over but sad to see you go. I am now an 18th grader!
I’ve got some posts up my sleeves for this summer; some I have been mulling over for over a year when I first started this blog! So stay tuned.
Use the contact form at the top right of the screen to request a post on certain topic, get in touch, ask questions, whatever you need! Summer is the best time for me to do it!
 

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First day of medical school! I thought it would be cute to document just like I did in kindergarten!

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Last day of medical school a bunch of us went bowling to celebrate!

Categories
Life Medical School

This Place Is A Roller Coaster

Day to day, minute to minute, even- my situation changes. Sometimes I feel on top of everything and then the next time I check myself, I feel like know nothing and panic. Occasionally I feel like I could study all night and be productive. Other times I fall asleep while trying to choke down a cup of coffee. Sometimes I can stay in a good mood picking fat out of my cadaver’s neck. Then the next minute I would do anything to leave lab and never go back in there again. It’s ups and downs and good and bad and nothing is ever the same minute to minute because there’s always new information being thrown at me, changing my situation and stress levels. It’s a good time. And also it’s terrible.

Categories
Life Lists Medical School

10 Things Vol. 2

1. Test tomorrow. So yeah, I should be studying.
2. This week should be a little lighter in terms of Biomedical foundations material. Its a short week and anatomy is starting, so we only have 5 BMF lectures.
3. ANATOMY IS STARTING. I loved anatomy in undergrad so I hope my love stays strong and doesn’t turn to resentment. Humans are so neat, guys.
4. I get to have lunch with my senior (as in old people) mentor. This will be our first time meeting them. We will have a couple of assignments with them throughout this semester. We get to take a personal history and a medical history. I hope mine is precious and not gross.
5. Running is going great. I didn’t expect to rely on it as much I do. Mostly because when I was in undergrad, running sort of fell by the wayside. Now, after a solid two months of 5-7 days a week, I can feel at the end of the day when I’m all amped and ready to run. The rule is, if I have time to think about getting a run in, I run.
6. My study buddy has been gone for labor day weekend and I really feel the struggle without her. Not being able to talk things out has me tweaking so I don’t think this test will be as good as the first two.
7. There’s a lot of life in medical school. If any of my posts have deterred you from pursuing a future in medicine, that’s not what I’m trying to do here. Its fun and ultimately its going to be great and worth it, if its what you want to do.
8. I think what has helped me the most with anxiety (test anxiety and otherwise) is the amount of “busy” I’m taking on. I didn’t know what busy was. Like I said, I’m either studying, or about to study. I don’t have time to think about what I’m not doing because I’m always doing something or making progress towards being able to do something.
9. I drink a lot of water. At least two liters a day. I feel better when I do. Plus, filling up my water bottle and peeing in between lectures and as mini study breaks keep me from getting too comfortable and falling asleep.
10. Study, study, school’s your buddy!

Categories
Medical School

The Honeymoon Phase

Medical School and I are still in that honeymoon phase. Everything that happens is novel and exciting, and I’m still soaking it all in. However, yesterday was my first medical school exam and I think this “boyfriend” of mine might be slightly abusive. All told- after one week, the test covered somewhere around 16 topics or chapters. We had one hour of instruction for each chapter. I didn’t feel dead immediately afterwards and actually was pleased with my score, but by the end of yesterday, I NEEDED to lay down. You know your entire life is studying when “indulging” involves paying the extra fee to take the turnpike so you can get home to lay down faster. I also have been purchasing things left and right with loan money. Some things I needed (granola bars) and some things I decided I deserved (running stuff). I’m finding that I am very reward driven, and I end up negotiating with myself in my head even though I will really end up changing that negotiation (i.e. lying to myself) to get/do what I really feel like getting/doing in the end 🙂 For example, as soon as I woke up this morning I was trying to schedule my day so that I could get a nap in ASAP. At first it involved me saying “Okay Andi, just get through all the power points this evening really efficiently and then go to bed early.” Then I changed it to “You can study before dinner, take a nap, eat, and then study again.” Now the plan is to take a nap after I finish this blog and study later. Unfortunately the distractions and temptations that plagued me in undergrad are still a bump on the study-struggle-bus route only I don’t have the luxury of being able to play catch up and space out the workload a little. If you get behind, you get BEHIND, and you get behind QUICK. Because that test yesterday? We have another one 6 days from now over the next 18 chapters.

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Friends Medical School

Class of 2018

When I toured medical schools as an undergrad, I viewed the medical students as these extremely focused, competent, professional people. Now that I’m here I see that we are that, but we are so much more. Medical students are funny, fun-loving, kind, caring, sarcastic, silly, curious, multifaceted, friendly, fascinating people with all kinds of backgrounds, senses of humor and experiences. Despite our differences, our common thread of medicine has bonded us in less than a week. The sense of belonging and the great privilege to know these people and learn to become physicians with them, has me so excited to be a part of this class of 2018.

Categories
Funny

Just Sayin'

All I know is…
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this kinda mess doesn’t happen at Target. #target4lyfe #walmartsucks

Categories
Life Medical School Running

Why Heading to Medical School Is Starting to Feel Like Going On a Vacation

I just want to bottle this time, and keep this happy healthy me around for when it gets hard. I’ve been running every day, seeing friends, eating healthy, feeling good, and getting lots of sleep. Years ago, I read an article about this study (I’m not sure if this was exact one or not). Basically, the findings show that people are happier not when they are on vacation, and not right after, but right before their vacation- in the days leading up to it. They are happiest when there is something good to look forward to. 

I feel like that with school starting in 20 days!! I’ve got a death grip on the life I have now, anticipating the changes to come and enjoying the way things are. It sounds sort of sad that I want to stay in this moment excited about medical school- not actually there, knowing that school won’t feel this exciting once I’m in it. But the daily grind ends up getting to everyone after a while. Its not pessimism, its realism! Haha. 

Running has been hard recently, but i’m glad I’m back at it. I didn’t run regularly all spring semester so I’m trying to build up some worthwhile endurance and that means starting over at square one, just running for minutes not miles. That’s always frustrating for someone who used to do six miles like it ain’t no big deal. Now I’m struggling for 40 minutes of slow running, hoping I will be able to do at least that most days after class. I’m trying not to put pressure and expectations on myself to feel guilty about not doing later on, but its hard because running is so good to me, so I feel like I need to keep doing it, even when I’m busy. It helps me clear my head, adds to my energy, helps my periods and digestive system, and is a big, big stress reliever. One of the best things about it though is the feeling of accomplishment it gives me. At the end of the day, I may not have done much else but I always feel better when I can say I got a run (even a bad one!) in.

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In other news, I hung out with some future medical school classmates last night. About a dozen of us showed up! It was super chill- good weather, good food. And it was good to talk to new people. I know it sounds like a bunch of small talk like “Where are you from?” What’d you major in?” but I’m fascinated with the how-did-you-get-here type questions because there’s a lot of different ways people end up in medicine. I already feel bonded; like we are going to have a great time. But that could be the pre-vacation-happiness talking. I commiserated with a guy who said he was ready to start so that he could stop sleeping in til 1 PM. I know it sounds like a dream come true, but it does get old and I’m honestly ready to crack a book and learn. Still, I’m soaking it up while I can.

That’s about all that’s been happening, so you can see why I haven’t posted the last couple of days. Hope you guys have a great weekend!

 

Categories
Life Medical School Products

Medical School Backpack

I’ve been looking into backpacks for medical school since, oh, probably April. The backpack I took to college was my good old Jansport from high school. At one point it was white and now its like this crusty, dingy, grayish color filled with crumbs and bits of paper. So I wanted a versatile bag I can take to school, traveling or hiking and biking if I’m so inclined. I looked into all these hardcore sport bags: Kelty, Osprey, North Face and whatnot. Since they are sort of expensive and I didn’t need a new one right away, I stalked amazon and rei for good deals and went back and forth on backpacks. I don’t know why or how it escalated to this huge decision representing the outcome of all of medical school but it did.
When I went to a gathering of medical students (mostly second years), one guy was talking about how he joined the first year’s Facebook groups in order to be able to hang out with the incoming class. Then he said, (and I quote!!) “but when they start asking annoying questions like what backpack to get, I’m out!”
Oh no. I was that girl. The one obsessing about what backpack would ensure a wonderful medical school experience. Because the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Still, I don’t know why girls do it. And we do it all the time. It also seems to be getting much more common with social networking. We’ve all seen it: “Attention moms, (friends, guys, etc.,) I need recommendations on what stroller to buy, (what gym to join, if anybody has experience with this cloth diaper, that cell phone case, etc.).” It happens so many times and women are the worst at it! Why do we do this?! I feel like after looking at so many backpacks, most are the same! There are different sizes but they all hold stuff, and have straps and zippers. Not a big deal!
We check the reviews, ask if our friends are happy with their purchase. As if the stroller you pick decides if your baby will be brain damaged or not. And I get it, its a big purchase and you don’t want to waste your money, but this med student was right. Sometimes you gotta make your own decisions and not put so much stock into stuff. Putting that much faith and expectations into a backpack is only going to let me down.
Backpack purchased and it ain’t no thang!

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clicking the picture will take you to the source

Categories
Family Life Medical School

4th of July Weekend

I’m sitting in the bathroom talking to you nice folks, while supervising the bath time of a very sleepy 4-and-a-half year old. I had a very fun and relaxing fourth of July weekend. These little girls often put things in perspective for me. Throughout the week, I chase down a to-do list, that- as soon as I cross off one thing I add another- is often full of not-so-important things. Yet, I treat it like my life’s work. And, while it is important to get my oil changed and renew my passport before school starts, I forget that I’m supposed to be relaxing before medical school and not stressing these mundane things. The little ones that I’m so lucky to call my nieces always call me back to what’s important by forcing me to take a break to cuddle and listen about their lives, play in their imaginary world for a while, and not worry about my list or school just yet. (Right now they pretend to be the princesses left at home by their kings while they go to fight the king’s war)
 
I didn’t take any photos of the gorgeous fireworks or the cookout, but I had a pretty hilarious silly-photo selfie shoot of which I will share gratuitous amounts of grainy iPhone pictures.
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pssst…. doonthego.me (no longer “.wordpress.com”) will launching soon, so be on the lookout!
ppppppsssssttt… the study room I have posted about here and here, is almost done! Just waiting on some final items to be ordered so look out for that too.
 

Categories
Friends Life

Roadtrip Recap 3

After the St. Louis show, I was able to keep driving for an hour and a half. Dani tried to sleep in the front seat so that she could (hopefully) wake up and drive; so that we could get as far as possible. For some reason, I didn’t think to suggest that she move to the backseat where she could have stretched out and had way more space. Anyway, I never got overly sleepy, but I knew I would be soon; so we stopped for gas for the next morning and got a hotel in Springfield, Il.
Breakfast in the hotel again around 9, on the road before ten and Dani drove. I was anxious and irritating Dani thinking that around any corner or over the next hill we would see all of Chicago. (From two hours away). So, that was probably the longest part of the trip; for me anyway.
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We switched back to me driving, right outside Chicago. We couldn’t understand why the GPS only said 34 more miles, yet we couldn’t see any signs of a big city, and the “time of arrival” was more than an hour away.
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Oh, traffic. I mean I knew there would be traffic, but I didn’t know. We had a terrible time getting to the hotel. Some highway was closed and I wanted to get off the highway as soon as possible. Little did I know that the cross streets through downtown were much much worse. Somehow we ended up on a “lower” street when our hotel was on an “upper” and the stupid GPS really had no idea where we were wanting to go even though we had the correct address. It was very stressful because people and cars were everywhere.
We eventually made it, and checked in to the fanciest hotel I have ever been in.
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14th floor ya’ll. Right on the river.
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To Be Continued…
Anyone else have experience driving in Chicago? We found out pretty quickly that we were the only tourists stupid brave enough to drive straight into the actual city.