One Sad Truth I Have Learned

Waking at 6am is now late for me….

I finally had the opportunity to sleep in, but my brain won’t let me. Guess, back to the grind.

 

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Medical School: second semester vs first semester

As far as I am aware of, at least most medical schools have it so that your first semester would consist of the basic science courses. In other words, it is second semester when you start going more into a system based system, studying the illnesses and drugs for that system. Since they are differently structured, how does second semester compare to the first?

You will hear a lot of different things because everyone is a bit different, so take what I say with a grain a salt. However, so far, second semester has been tremendously better. Now I know it is still the beginning, but I remember my state around this time last semester. Compared to that, I feel a lot more at ease and confident in learning the material, it also has a logical flow to it which is vastly different from the subject jumps you get with all your basic science courses.

Of course, there is an element of you getting used to the barrage of material. Furthermore, you do get better at studying and managing your time. At least you really should, else you will feel the burn again. However, with everything mentioned above, things will start to follow more of a smooth path and you start finding some time for yourselves, and this is very important. You need to take care of yourself, otherwise you might not be able to take care of others at optimal capacity. It doesn’t matter what it means to take care of yourself, though I’d say healthy eating habits, sleeping habits, and exercise are the biggest three. However, there is the mental aspect of it as well. That means some people find relief from eating out with friends on occasion, or playing video games for an hour a night. Find a way to do that while not compromising your studying, then you will find yourself able to continue to study for longer periods of time because there is that reward.

There might be several of you who know all this before school, because you learned it in undergraduate, high school, wherever. In that case, good for you! I truly mean that, I am just speaking of from what I had to learn about myself within just one year. This path definitely requires some maturity growth.

What now? Me getting Organized.

Classes are back in session. The best part of second semester first year is no more anatomy labs. While some people enjoy them, I am not the hugest fan for multiple of reasons. But that’s for another time. I will say I am a bit sad to return to the grind after relaxing and experiencing fun things on break, but I am trying to stay positive. Afterall, we study hard so that we help people. Also side note, the importance in me saying to “help people” instead of “saving lives”.

Anyway, with this semester, I want to become more organized around my studies and this blog as well. I guess I never really knew this, but I’m the type of learner that likes to jump around and learning whatever interests me at the time. I used to think I just wanted all the knowledge, and I do. But if I am honest with myself, then I do jump topic to topic a lot. Therefore, some structure would do me some good.

For this blog in particular, I am thinking about posting stuff I have learned for that day, week, or something just as kind of a review tool for me to make sure I stayed within the topics I needed to. Again this platform was mainly for me to just say my thoughts, hence this blogging style format. I just hope people have enjoyed my content so far, and it seems several have which I am very thankful for. Anyway that’s all I have so far, thanks for reading!

Logging off,

J

 

P.S. please feel free to leave any comments or questions on any posts.

I’m back and Medical School Structure

It’s been a while since my last post. Mainly because, I’ve been busy with finishing my term. I am glad to say that I have passed all my courses.

So what does that mean? And why should you care that I passed?

Well for one, I might be your doc in your future, lol. Or if you are wondering how medical school is structured, this post might be helpful.

Semester 1 has been about basic science. Literally we go back to biochemistry, anatomy, histology, etc. This is to establish the foundation for what is to come.

Starting next semester (Semester 2 of year 1), I will be in systems courses. From what I hear from my upper classman, these courses will entail the medical aspect of things such as illnesses and drugs, etc. You know, one of the reasons we are in medical school. So I am really excited. These system courses will continue on until the end of year 2. So that means for both semesters of year 2, I will be in systems. Afterwards, there is Step 1. This is the first of many standardized examinations because who doesn’t like those? The Step 1 score will be the huge contributor to placement in residency so it’s no joke. Probably more important than the MCAT for some perspective.

If you pass step 1, you can move on to clinical rotations. This is when you actually go out to hospitals to work and study. You don’t get paid, and by work I am told you are literally at the bottom of the bottom. And frankly, you can’t complain because in that high and mighty: “look at me I’m a medical student mindset”, you realize you don’t know anything. So stop trying to show off or be arrogant, and study. With these rotations, you will have shelf examinations at the end of each one. This is to make sure you actually learned about the specialties you are rotating in. I believe between year 3 and 4 you take Step 2 PE. Basically, to make sure you know how to treat patient, so you know don’t be Dr. House.

With the end of year 4, you apply for residencies and hopefully get in.

I know all this info seems rushed and not detailed. For one, I am still in year 1, so this is just everything I have learned from professors and upperclassman. Also, of course there are more factors to consider, a big one is what specialty one would want which would require different things: e.g. Ortho vs FM. And by FM, I mean family medicine and not your “car radio which somebody stole”…(TOP anyone?). And honestly, it might seem like a huge headache, and it is, at least it is for the part I am right now. But you just have to take one thing at a time. And this goes with anything that you do. Losing weight? 1 calorie at a time. Binging Netflix? One episode at a time. ETc.

 

Anyway glad to be back, but logging off,

J

“What ifs” in Medical School

I feel like I see this more in medical school than in any other academic institution I have been in, and that is the “what ifs”. Having talked to several people, I know it is not just me. When school started, I was very optimistic and happy. The hardest part was over right? Well, no. It was just a bump on a long road. And that idea seems to aid in the manifestation of “what ifs”. There is so much done for that acceptance letter it feels like a contract.  I must continue on and finish otherwise all that hard effort would have been for nothing.

Now, I am not saying I regret choosing to pursue medicine. However, I am trying to explain where this what if mentality may come from. With all the pressures to succeed, the what ifs appear. “What if I can’t keep up with this pace of learning?” “What if I can’t get a passing score?” “What if I can’t remember this detail?” “What if I am not preparing enough for boards?” “What if I laugh at the word ‘frenulum?’”

While the last one might not be as relatable to everyone, the others probably are. The thing is not like I haven’t had similar thoughts before in the past. They just have not been as reoccurring and frequent. Even now as I type this, I am having these thoughts. This is interesting because of the development from when I first started. These thoughts while still frequent are becoming more like murmurs on a crowded street. I started not caring at them, and that happens. I am told things will get harder and worse. Yet, we will become so apathetic about the pain we move on. I get why things have to be this way, but just seems kind of unfortunate. But that is just my thought for today.

Thanksgiving is Tomorrow, What a Medical Student Will Be Doing

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and therefore, I do not have class for the remainder of this week. I, personally, am going home to spend time with my parents. But, I do know many people who are staying at school. While it is a nice break from everything, I probably am going to study for parts of it. I say this because I wanted to address different ways people are thinking about using this break. I know several people who are burnt out and just need a break from studying, so they are really going to relax and enjoy themselves. Now, I am not saying those people are not doing the smart thing. In fact, if they need a break then by all means they need a break so they can come back and study efficiently. I say this because I found myself in such a state about 2 weeks ago. I just could not look at a textbook anymore and retain anything.

Looking back it was actually an interesting experience. I have never reached a state where my brain actually rejected any new information of a subject. However, I just took some time to back away from studying and do some self-maintenance like going to the gym and lifting heavy stuff. I am feeling refreshed and functional again and that is probably why I am planning on studying through break. There are multiple ways to get through this, but like any other sappy Thanksgiving post you will see on the internet, it is nice to remind ourselves of the things we are thankful to have which ultimately factor in our ability to get through things (and I did just type that with a Ryan Remolds voice in my head). I am thankful for my family, friends, and SO. I am also thankful for you, whoever is reading this. This blog has been a great place for a pause and reflection which has been nice. And While it is very new, and personally I think it’s not that great of a blog, I still get a few readers who like the content and this is awesome!

Anyway, Happy Turkey day

Your friendly neighborhood student signing off.

How I study in medical school.

Studying in medical school differs from any of my previous experiences. Mainly from the fact that it is heavy memorization. This is probably the reason people struggle. Within my brief time at school, I have seen how people struggle with their studies. Ignoring all those who just procrastinate and not study until the day before the exams, there are plenty of students who struggle to pass, at least at first. People may memorize things well, but have a difficult time connecting the dots. Others may have a better ability in seeing and understanding the bigger picture, but have trouble memorizing all the details. I can confidently say, I am the latter. There is a few who struggle with both or excel in both, but it seems a majority of the people fit in one of the two categories above.

My study methods will not work for everyone, in fact I am still fine tuning it. But it is nice to take a step back and analyze it as a whole (hence this post). Because my issue is memorization, I use the program Anki, heavily. I make each card at least one whole lecture slide. I do this because I don’t want to miss any detail that is important, but I thought different. I do this right off the bat. In fact, my notes are in the cards themselves, meaning I don’t take notes with other platforms like Onenote or pen and paper.

To be honest, I don’t like this method because I like taking traditional notes. And I see similar things with many of my peers. They avoid a certain study method, not because it doesn’t work, but because they prefer to do things a particular way. However, sometimes you have to do things differently for them to work. I noticed a huge difference in my grades when I focus on my weakness of memorizing things vs just studying notes and making concept maps to connect the details. I know this uneasiness comes from the fact I am doing things a lot differently from most of my life. However, I guess this is good practice for actual medical practice in terms of always trying to keep an open mind and doing things differently for better results even if it is out of your comfort zone.