Day in the life of a first term medical student

Hi all!

So it’s been a few weeks since midterms (by the way, so thankful I made it out of there alive) and everyone is finally getting back into the swing of studying all day every day. We had a nice gap where we didn’t have too many labs, and it gave us all a false sense of security that things will get any easier than the first half of the semester…NOPE. So I figured it would make a cool blog post to let everyone know what I personally go through on an average day. Just as a disclaimer, this is definitely not what medical school will be like for EVERYONE, some people are blessed enough to have more of a social life than I do and still do well in school.

7:00 AM: Alarm goes off ….. nnnnnngh, no thanks. I’ll go back to sleep. SNOOZE

7:20 AM: Second alarm goes off because I know myself well enough to snooze at the first 7 AM alarm.

7:30 AM: Finish checking facebook, instagram, personal email, school email, vine, etc.

8:00 AM: On the elliptical/spin bike/treadmill/stairmaster at the schools’ gym….This is the best time to go because there are hardly any people there. You’re in the gap where the super intense 6 AM-ers are done with their work out, but the 9-10 AM rush hasn’t kicked in just yet. I usually bring some form of notes with me, but let’s be honest, I only give myself 30 minutes to work out, I’m going to jam out to some music and pretend that I am at Ultra Music Festival (a way better alternative than studying).

9 AM: Back from gym, took a shower and eating a quick breakfast. While I eat, I write down a list of goals I have for the day, I normally write down too many so I prioritize between what I MUST get done, and what I WANT to get done. There will always be something for you to do or to study, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve every single thing that is on your to do-list, be reasonable. Your self esteem will thank you later.

9:30-12 PM: Pre-read for class……so I’m definitely a night owl, so studying in the morning and afternoon isn’t super effective. But I know I have to do something , so I do something that I can passively do and that is pre-reading. Pre reading for me essentially means to download the days’ powerpoint lectures onto my tablet and to just read through it. If there’s a term or a particular pathway on the slide that looks absolutely foreign to me – I don’t sweat it. I repeat, DO NOT worry about it. Just mark it, and pay extra attention in class. Have a little star or some sort of symbol next to that bullet point will remind me to pay attention in class. I have a few hours of class a day, and pre-reading personally helps me, again, not for everyone. But I personally don’t want to be surprised when I get to class with what subjects or topics I’m about to be taught.

12:30 PM: Pretty tired, I woke up early to go to the gym and having been going non stop every since. I take a power nap, right before classes so that I can feel more awake.

12:45 PM: Quick bite to eat and I’m out the door to class.

1 – 5 PM: Class…..on the days I actually DO go to class (some of the time I love to watch the recorded lectures instead in order to speed up, pause, rewind, etc…if your medical school offers this, DEFINITELY utilize it – it makes more sense to sleep the extra hour and then watch recorded lectures than to fool yourself into thinking you’re learning by just sitting there and being tired in class)

5 – 6 PM: Break time! I do whatever I want during this time. I can catch up on The Walking Dead, or watch Colbert Report, just really relax my mind. This is so important, we aren’t robots…we need the time to relax.

6 – 11 PM: Post read…..so remember before when I said don’t sweat the small details that I didn’t understand before? Well, that’s because my post reading time is when I actually concentrate on understanding the material for the day. I’ll write a blog post with my actual methods of studying, because that’s a WHOLE other topic.

11 – 12:30 AM: My roommate and I have this really great system where after we are both done post-reading or doing independent studying for the day, we just meet up in the common space and just talk about the things we learned from the day. It’s really great because she covers the gaps in my knowledge for certain subjects, and I’ll help her with others. It just further reinforces the concepts. We can’t stick to this every day because you know, life happens – but we try to do it as often as possible. Group study is a MUST for me! But only after I get my own business together.

1 – 3/4 AM: Now this is where some people definitely differ from me. I take the last few hours before I go to bed, to do more post reading that I may not have been able to complete before. Or I just do practice questions repeatedly. I personally am a night owl and I have zero problem going to bed so late – this isn’t the case for everyone. Is it healthy? Probably not. But do I get my work done? Yes. Some people are definitely more efficient than me, and it’s possible that I may have a harder time adjusting to the whole medical school thing a little tougher than others. And if you don’t have to stay up this late, DEFINITELY don’t do it. I don’t usually keep this kind of schedule every single day, some days I’ll go to bed at 1-2 AM, other days I’ll just pull all nighters. It just depends on what the reality of the situation is. Again, this is just me, please don’t chop off my head for it. I know the first term is normally the one with what seems to be the biggest work load because I am a brand new student – hopefully I won’t have to keep this up for much longer. But hey, I passed the exams and I think I know my stuff, and I do catch up with my body on the weekends.

So there’s one of my average days that I have here in medical school. Take from it what you will, but if you’re reading this and you’re also a medical school I would LOVE to hear what your study schedule is like. Please please please tell me it gets better? If not, I feel like I’ve been preparing for the worst.

Now everyone go get some sleep,

TenaciousMD

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Respect

So I’m in the midst of studying for my midterms but there is a quick story that I felt I just HAD to share before it left my brain (along with biochemistry).

I think facebook is a great way to keep in contact with family friends, and to be able to stalk anyone we want (especially when you see a cutie in lab). But overall I love facebook because there are idiots who think starting full blown fights on social media is an appropriate method of action.

To set up the scene, my entered medical school class has a fb page where we can post questions from lectures or announce events, etc. We have a few trolls on the website, but nothing major has ever happened and the page was a bit uneventful…until last night.

Just like any other night, someone (“Kate”) posted a question about some sort of blood pathway (to be honest I didn’t read the entire post, since it was probably 10 pages long) but she prefaced everything with a “DO NOT ANSWER UNLESS YOU ARE 100000% sure” . A a few hours someone (“Dan”) finally responds and tries to help Kate out. To which she responds:

“You don’t know anything, that is clearly wrong. Why don’t you do something productive any study some more. That kind of thinking won’t help you on the exam”

oh snap…pass the popcorn.

I could have spared her the heart ache of knowing the truth, but for someone who responds so rudely she needs to learn a lesson about professionalism and that sitting behind the computer doesn’t make you more powerful. Truth is, Dan is actually a teacher, and I only know this because I have been to one of his(very helpful) tutoring sessions. As I scrolled down through the comments, Dan kept is composure and I noticed that he refrained from mentioning that he is someone who is actually quite an expert on the subject matter. Finally the thread ended when someone else finally threw Kate a bone and kindly informed her who exactly she was speaking to.

She may have quickly deleted the entire thread from facebook, but the stamp of shame is still there. And she successfully made an ass out of herself in front of the entire class – and some administration that is linked to the facebook group. Oh well, her mistake is my break time from studying pleasure.

Moral of the story kids? Don’t be one of those people who pick fights on social media – you may be trying to prove your point (and of course you should always stick to your guns if you believe in something) but do it in private. Your issues with others is nobody else’s business….but if you still choose to do so, I guess you can take comfort in knowing that somewhere, someone is blogging about it.

Respect is is not a right, it is earned. And unfortunately for Kate, she left a huge chunk of it on facebook.

Can’t wait until Dan lectures.

TenaciousMD

The faker

Hi all! Sorry I haven’t written in a while, midterms are right around the corner and so I have been preparing for that (more updates on school stuff to be coming up in a future post).

I wanted to start a series describing the types of people I have encountered thus far in medical school, so this post will be my first installment:

The Faker.

My school is all about group based learning, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how you study. We are broken off into groups of 8 and we are given assignments and cases each week to go over. Because it’s always alphabetical, I am pretty much stuck with the same core group of people. I do indeed like most of them, but there’s one person who I will keep genderless and nameless just in case they stumble upon this blog (hey there!), so let’s call them Alex… that’s pretty neutral right?

To keep a long story short, Alex loves to make to make people feel dumb. To be honest, I didn’t notice this defect in their personality until recently. He/she usually sat next to me in labs, and whenever someone offered to answer a question and ended up getting it wrong (which is TOTALLY okay in a group team based learning session… that’s kind of what they are there for) they would lean over to me and make really condescending remarks:

wow how did she even get into medical school”

“this is such basic information”

“she is OBVIOUSLY wrong”

Get the gist? I’m sure just reading that may have made the hair stand on the back of your neck.

I don’t normally let those kinds of comments phase me, I just ignored it and did my best to help my classmate answer the actual question (if I could). I even went as far to think that we were friends until I got up to present histology slides and instead of leaning over to my chair, I saw them lean over in the other direction and start talking about me, and not in a positive tone. I got a question wrong, and after it was clarified and I re-explained the answer he/she literally clapped their hands and said “Don’t worry, medical school is tough. You’ll get the hang of things and figure it out soon”

…..excuse me?

Now I know it probably sounds different typed than it was actually in person, but it was one of the most inappropriate comments I have ever heard and the tone taken did not help the situation – he/she might as well have patted me on the head and told me to run along home.

To make a long story short, you an imagine the look on my face when I heard that Alex had failed every single one of their exams. I thought maybe they were sick, or something must have happened. It ended up being none of the excuses I was making for them, they just straight up failed because they didn’t know the material. But how was that possible? And then it clicked, Alex is what I like to call “the faker”. The following week after exams, I kept a close eye on Alex as if they were the subject of my personal experiment and the results were surprising. Alex was that type of student who points out the mistakes in others but never actually participates themselves. If by chance Alex was called on to answer a question, he/she did the clever loop around and was able to get our facilitator to lead them to the answer so that they can take credit for having come up with the original diagnosis. When I walked by their desk in the library, all of those “hours spent studying” ended up being them wasting time on buzzfeed or Facebook.

Alex was nothing but a faker – tricking the rest of us into thinking that they were smarter than the rest of us, and tricking themselves in the process. Since our first exams, I have since extended my hand on multiple occasions and offered to help them study over the weekend – I am human after all, I am competitive but I also don’t want others to fail. Alex has yet to take me up on my offer, and to be honest – they have to be humbled a little bit more before I believe they will.

I hope you guys liked these types of posts and I promise to start posting more often – just gotta get over the hump that is midterms coming up this week! Let me know if there are any aspects of school you guys want me to talk about, I’m pretty much an open book, no fakers here.

TenaciousMD