1st Year Tried to Kill Me

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If people say that medical school is easy, or not that bad, they have lied to you. Of course, this is my opinion, based on my experience. However, I felt that my first year tried to kill me.

I thought that I was prepared as much as possible for medical school. I received a B.S. in Neuroscience and a M.S. in Biology. I had studied hard all my life. Of course, I knew that medical school was going to be difficult, but there had been only 1 medical student that I ever spoke with, out of dozens of medical students, that gave me any glimpse into the real level of difficulty. When people describe that the amount of information that you receive in medical school as trying to drink from a fire hydrant, believe them. …and just when you think that maybe you have figured out a way to get some water from that fire hydrant, the water pressure gets turned up, and out comes more.

I will say, my adjustment to my first year was difficult. I was sick frequently, I had my first allergic reaction with full blown hives to something that I still don’t know. If that wasn’t enough, school was still waiting there for me, when all of those issues subsided. I would frequently study 12+ hours a day, which I never felt was enough, especially to master any material. Sometimes, just 2 days before exams, we would get hit with 4 lectures in one day. I would just laugh and swore that somebody, somewhere was playing a joke. I just knew that someone was going to jump out and say “Gotcha sucka! Just kidding! We REALLY don’t expect you to know all of this!”, lol. That day NEVER came. However, my frequency of pulling all-nighters increased to a record high out of all my schooling. Now granted, all of my peers did not have the same experiences as I did. For one, I am at a pass-fail school which definitely takes some pressure off. Secondly, if you have a photographic memory (which is debatable if this really exists), or you can study things once or twice, and never have to look at them again to remember, then your experience was very different than mine. Im sure those students enjoyed their lives, slept in, partied with friends and said first year “was not that bad”, lol. However, if you are anything like me, the truth of the matter is, it was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

I don’t say this to discourage any potential medical school applicants from applying. However, there should be some education to what you are getting ready to endure: probably the most studying out of any other field, 3 board exams, plus additional national exams for specialities, one summer off in your entire 4 years, and the list goes on and on…and on. If you love sleep… stop loving it, because you will never get as much as you once had, lol. #Fact.

I will say, if you want to be a physician or you are currently applying to medical school, make absolutely sure that this is what you want to do. This is not a profession to be entered into lightly. It is not about money or prestige. You will have many sleepless nights (clearly I am bitter about sleep since I keep mentioning it, lol), a possible lack of social relationships and many things you will have to endure in this field. I personally don’t think any amount of money or prestige is worth this amount of work, if your heart is not in it, and you are doing it for the wrong reasons. There are really sick people in the world who need physicians who are really caring, supportive and want the best for them. I feel, unless you are truly ready to dedicate your life to serving them, this may not be a field for you. However, if you are, I think that it will be a very rewarding field.

Despite my difficulties of first year, when I reflect on why I came to medical school or I have days that I have some patient interaction, I am rejuvenated and encouraged. We just started second year this past week and even though second year seems like its going to be worse regarding workload (yes, that’s possible…I’m still figuring out how…), I am looking forward to it, and already enjoying our first class in Neuroscience. Although I am not looking forward to studying for step 1 and all of the pressure that will bring, I am looking forward to my third and fourth years, with patient interaction, and finally one day, living out my career of doing something that I have wanted to do and worked for my entire life. 1st year tried to kill me, but I survived and made it to second year. How cool is that…

Finally Enjoying Medical School

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Guess what? I am FINALLY starting to really enjoy medical school! I know that sounds crazy, because after all, shouldn’t I already be enjoying medical school? Sure, I was happy, excited and blessed that I got into medical school. However, strangely enough, I can’t say that I was super excited to get up and go to class (or listen online) everyday. The first semester of medical school was a major adjustment. I thought after undergrad and grad school, I knew exactly what I was getting into in terms of the amount of coursework and how to study. However, the truth was, I had no idea. In medical school, I had to learn how to adjust to mountains of information, studying, trying to balance a schedule, adjusting to a lack of hanging out, and having my “me” time. Although I thought it would be easy considering that I have been in school so long, it was more than I could have ever expected.

BUT, I was soo surprised when I came back from Christmas break and things felt much easier. I ACTUALLY started to adjust to studying a crazy amount of hours and getting through the semester at such a fast pace. There were even days that I didn’t study (and watched T.V, courtesy of my aunt & uncle who caused me to be addicted to T.V lol), and I still did OK! A lot of the second and third year medical students kept saying, “It will get better, it gets easier”, but I did NOT believe them. I thought I was being told what I wanted to hear. However, to my pleasant surprise, it is becoming better and better, and it wasn’t until studying today a lecture on teratogens, that I realized that I am FINALLY starting to enjoy medical school.

(Just FYI, a teratogen is a drug or other substance capable of interfering with the development of an embryo fetus that may lead to birth defects or developmental malformations) 🙂

I am actually looking forward to our upcoming classes in pathology and pharmacology and then, the last SUMMER BREAK of my life (considering medical students only have 1 free summer during their 4 year medical education). I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Exciting!

When bugs are trying to kill you…

As if I wasn’t already scared enough of bacteria and bugs, medical school has made it even worse! I am now constantly washing my hands every 10 minutes, or every time I touch something…whatever comes first (like a lunatic, lol). Since I am currently taking microbiology, I am learning about all of the little invisible bugs that want to invade your body, and do horrible things to it. So, to prevent that, you MUST wash your hands frequently! Make it a habit! Of course, you don’t have to get all paranoid like me, and wash them every two seconds. However, just make sure that when you do wash your hands, do it for about 20 seconds, and get a nice lather going. To make the 20 seconds easier, just sing the HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG! lol (You might as well have fun, right?). Last but not least, try to lay off the antibacterial soaps if you can.  We don’t want to kill all of the normal “good” bacteria on our hands. Also, we want to try to prevent those little resistant bacteria from forming that will really try to “get us”, even more than the regular bad bacteria & viruses. Hope you now will feel differently about hand washing. I know I do! Now…..go wash those hands! lol. (…Forreal).


OMG: My second day of medical school

Somebody should have warned me..I mean, REALLY warned me. This is day 2 of medical school and already, its time for it to be over. These people are crazy! Do they really expect us to learn all of this information this quickly? Are we supposed to be superhuman? Maybe some where on my application they got this false impression that I was this major brainiac that could memorize information as soon as it was spoken to me, or when they snapped their fingers lol. Having that skill is the ONLY way it is even possible to learn all of this information. Maybe about twice a week, we get out of class around 12 or 1pm. But most days, we are usually in class from 8am-4pm or 9am-4pm. Tomorrow, I will have biochemistry for 3 hours! But, in that three hour block, will have 3 different lecturers with 3 different lectures. Each powerpoint slide for each lecture will probably have about 60+ slides. Then, the day wont be over because I will have to go to another class, where I will sit in it for another 3+ hours, taking notes. Forgive me if I sound kinda upset, lol. I just cant believe it. Im actually shocked. Plus, I’ve been siting at my computer since 12pm, and it is now 10:52pm and I have been doing work straight until now, and Im STILL not done. There are 3 lectures I need to re-listen to.

People often tell you to have a life in medical school, but I don’t see how. Am I supposed to do it between the hour of waking up at 6am and leaving for school at 7am? Or maybe after midnight when I finish studying? They didnt cover this in orientation last week, lol.  I don’t think that will happen. I just need to find time for sleep right now, because that’s all that will fit. Pray for me and wish me luck, because its going to take all of that to get me through. We have a quiz next week, followed by one exam the following week and two additional exams the week after that (on the same day!). No one told me about this while I was interviewing, lol. (They lie, they lie! lol). People warned me, but I didn’t believe them. So, for all of the premeds out there, take people seriously when they warn you about medical school! lol. It’s exactly what they say it is, lol.

At least classes aren’t necessarily as boring as studying is. I have a great group of girls I’ve made friends with. Just the other day, in Epidemiology, I caught one of my friends sleeping with a blanket! (which I would have been doing if I wasn’t right in front of the professor). I think I will nickname her blanket girl, lol. Anyway, my other friend then decided to entertain our group by sending a mass group text that stated, “Dr X in this oh! Watch him teach and watch him roll! Watch him crank that biostats and calculate them oh! Youuuu crank that biostats! You crank that biostats!”. For everyone who knows who Soulja Boy is, you would understand. Corny? Yes. Funny? Incredibly. I almost fell out in my chair in class trying to contain my laughs.These will be the little things I look forward to getting me through class everyday (sad, i know)…not to forget the fact that getting out of class early is starting to become the highlight of my day. I was excited about getting out of class early today because I falsely thought that I would be able to study all day, and then watch an hour of T.V. Ha! Yeah right. All lies. Only enough time to re-listen to lectures, (write my blog) 🙂 and sleep.

Oh! And interesting information from the little information I actually absorbed today! Please please please eat your Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and cut down on your Omega 6 Fatty Acids. You can google these fatty acids (because if I explained this, my blog post would turn into a book). Omega 3s have a plethora of beneficial health effects such as neuroprotective and cardiovascular protection, while Omega 6s create molecules that end up signaling various inflammatory processes in your body. We didn’t go into a lot of detail in class, but interesting, nonetheless.

Lastly, apparently, if you take a multivitamin everyday, you are taking cyanide!  Crazy, right? Well, according to my professor, cyanide is found in the multivitamin form of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is called cobalamin (because it contains cobalt. Vitamin B12 is very stable when its cobalt is attached to cyanide. This type, that is found in our multivitamins is a synthetic form of Vitamin B12, and our professor promises that taking it is safe and fine. (I’ll believe it when I don’t die from cyanide poisoning lol, just kidding.) It was an interesting fact, so I thought I would share. So many things that we are putting in our bodies. Im sure once we start talking about body disfunction due to sugar, Im going to have a meltdown, given my sugar addiction (I’ll happily tune that lecture out) :).

I think I’ve talked you to death. I shouldn’t write blogs while I’m clearly having issues, lol, so I’ll work on trying to make more “positive”blog posts :). (maybe). Until my next blog post!

The Preview Is Over

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Ending the last week of this summer program is exciting, but scary. On one hand, I’m just excited to be in medical school and finally going to school for something I will actually use when I graduate. On the other hand, finishing this summer program means school will be starting, and I’ll be in actual, medical school…the real deal… which is kind of scary. Especially because I actually got a taste of just how much information I would be required to learn. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for this program because I had some time to “ease” into this process.

So…the last few days of the summer program were great. I actually learned some very BASIC suturing techniques. I actually like suturing! But I’m not sure how it will play out because I don’t want to have anything to do with surgery, thanks to nasty anatomy dissections, lol. Yes, clearly, my dislike for anatomy will be a topic of many blog posts. Hopefully at the end of anatomy, you will come to hate it too:). It’s like, I can’t figure out the anatomy when the body has no blood in it…How on earth do you see anything when blood is present? Weird. Anyway, I like suturing. We will see how far that gets me. I’ve posted a picture of my wonderful suturing skills, lol. It looks like crap, but I promise, the instructor said I did a good job. 🙂

My semester will begin with cell biology, biochemistry and statistics/epidemiology. Cell bio and biochem are 6 weeks I believe, and epi/stats is 3 weeks long. First exam is August 31st. I’ll keep you updated after my first week, and let you know if I have dropped out of school yet, lol. Until next time…

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Patient Simulation Lab

I think the use of mannequins to introduce medical students to various medical procedures is a good thing. Although we will also eventually work with standardized patients, being able to practice blood drawing techniques, intubation, and other procedures that we should eventually learn, is great….especially since at the beginning, we wont have the slightest clue what we are doing. Today, for our summer program, we spent most of the day in the simulation lab, that is also shared with the military. It was really cool to learn the “right” way to stop someone that is bleeding from an open gash. The first thing you do is apply pressure with your hand. Don’t directly place your hand on the wound, but use something (like the persons clothes) to put in between your hand and the wound. (I asked “why do we use the patients clothes, instead of ours?”, and my instructor answered “cause then you’d be naked”, lol). Anyways, if that doesn’t work, you can try elevating it, if it’s an arm or leg. If that still doesn’t work, the next option, (and last resort) is a the use of a tourniquet. You always try and place the tourniquet two inches above the wound, and use a long stick or pen, or something that is long, to tighten the tourniquet. I was so excited to learn anything new and get out of that anatomy cadaver lab, that seeing a fake patient was good enough for me. We also learned how to stabilize a person who maybe broke their leg hiking or biking, and how to do a 2 person and a firemans carry. Lastly, we practiced pressing a bag that pushed oxygen into the lungs of the mannequin and watched an intubation. I think it’s called bag-valve mask ventilation. Honestly, I don’t think we did it right. If it were a real patient, I think we would have killed our patient! The mannequins oxygen stats kept dropping, and the heart rate was erratic. Our pumping of the bag was very inconsistent and I could have sworn it was supposed to have some sort of technique to it. (At least that’s what Greys anatomy said lol). Overall, today was very exciting. I think the application of medicine is going to be fun, and the coursework is going to be the part that I will have to push through. There is a simulation lab elective for the fall (by lottery), so I will try and get in that class. So many options and areas that I can practice in…and everything looks interesting. Atleast I found out today that I may really like hands on experience with patients doing various procedures (except for dissections, so pathology and autopsies are OUT, lol). Who knows what aspect of medicine I will be going into? Will it be Emergency Medicine? Who knows…..

GROSS Anatomy

Gross anatomy has its name for a reason…because its truly gross. Sure, day 1 wasn’t so bad because the pelvic area was pre-dissected for us, so we just looked at and identified structures. But our professor thought we would learn more if we did the dissections, so that’s what we did today…and it was GROSS. Today, we took off LAYERS of fat off of the butt to view the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and the Gluteus Minimus. We also took off the layers of fat off the back and front of the leg to view additional muscles. There was so much fluid coming out, yellow fat, and just, ugh. I think it even splashed all over one of my lab partners. This took 2 hours standing on our feet before we could even begin identifying structures. So in other words, we skinned a body…a person that used to be alive……still getting over that part. If this lab taught me anything today, it’s that I need to seriously exercise. If people could see what their fat looked like, they’d be appalled. Seriously. So I’ll be getting back to a workout schedule thanks to my cadaver dissections. This is only day 2 of anatomy for the summer and already, I’m dreading actual anatomy during the semester. 10 whole weeks. My intro to med school….

First Day of Summer Program

Hello! So…tomorrow is my first day of this 3 week summer med school pre-program. Most of the summer we will learn anatomy with some cell biology and biochemistry. Specifically tomorrow, we will cover the anatomy of the pelvis and the male and female urogenital systems. Just glancing over the notes and slides that have already been emailed, and looking at the pictures in the anatomy books make me realize how crazy medical school is going to be (I thought I knew, but it really became real today). Med students talk about the “fire hydrant” volume of information that is tossed at you in medical school, and how you will never be able to learn it all. Well, I’m going to get my first taste tomorrow, because in an 1 1/2 lecture time, and another 2 hours in anatomy lab, I will be taught as much information that I may have gotten in a week in grad school… Or, maybe 3 days worth. 🙂 And one of these days this week, I think we have a 3 hour lecture somewhere! Needless to say, I’m happy I’m here, and I guess it wouldn’t be med school if they didn’t work you to death. Wish me luck that I don’t want to run out of the room when I actually start dissecting a human body.

Welcome!!

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So, I’m super excited to get ready to start medical school in the Midwest next month. I’m from the west coast, so I’m sure this transition will be interesting, to say the least. I hope that this blog will communicate my journey to becoming a doctor and it’s joys and challenges. Looking forward to the next four years, and beyond.