Unimpressed

This post isn’t really going to be about anything academic (well..maybe just a little, but I’m saving that for if and when I survive our first round of exams next week) but I want to focus on the other aspect of being a functional human being, having social skills and trying not to kill everyone around you.

I’ve tried writing, and re writing this sentence countless times in order for me to sound a little less harsh, but at the end of the day, I think my allergies have been acting up not due to the pollen, but because I’m literally allergic to peoples’ bullshit. 

My school is great because there are plenty of study groups that you can join that is facilitated by an upper termer. The great news, I get to have the inside scoop as to how our professors test the brachial plexus (thank you youtube for teaching me everything I know) and on the downside, I have to sit there and listen to people boast about how “I took this class in undergrad” or how they annoyingly answer a simple yes or no question with a public dissertation. You’re smart, we get it. And you know it’s bad when even the facilitator rolls his/her eyes. Now stop trying to make yourself feel better by coming to these review sessions and not having any real questions. If people approach expecting to dazzle me with the amount of knowledge they have about a particular protein, congratulations, you’ve mastered one slide in the 200 we have to know for one subject for one test. Want to impress me? Be a decent human and have your actions speak louder than your words. Stop trying to make others feel inferior, and if you come to a STUDY session, actually study and ask relative questions and don’t make it about yourself. Because LIFE ALERT, it’s not.You’re wasting my time, bye felicia. 

Pro tip: For those of you still in school, don’t let the “study” habits of other people intimidate you. I’m not sure why people have the need to always say how many hours they devoted to studying in the library…the real question should be how many of those hours they actually spent with the material, instead of the time they spend on facebook trying to come up with a clever status to tell everyone that they’re studying hard. Yea….we’d hope you’re working hard, you’re trying to be a DOCTOR. Now finish off your status with a billion hashtags and get to work. 

 

Annoyed with my realist personality yet?

#sorrynotsorry #Ihatehashtags #especiallywhentheyaresolongandyouhavetoreaditamilliontimestogetthewordsinorder

 

TenaciousMD

 

 

 

 

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Big girls don’t cry

It seems crazy to me how fast my first week flew by, and it’s even crazier knowing how much knowledge was thrown at me full force. 

I won’t lie, last Tuesday I had a 24 hour flu and I was just about ready to throw in the towel. How come I had to get and feel so sick the SECOND day of school? I thought that it must have been divine intervention that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there. I went to classes that day (against my better judgement) and couldn’t follow a single word.

Over the next few days I felt like crying because I was frustrated and I was mad because I wanted to actually learn. I spent years prepping for this, and it was all slipping away. It felt as if everyone was surpassing me and that there was some secret that I wasn’t allowed to know. I was trying to find a recipe for success and it just didn’t taste right each time I tried out something new. When it came around for my first anatomy cadaver lab, I was defeated. One of the things my professor said really struck a note with me,

“Failure here is not an option. If you fail here, you fail not only yourself…but let’s be honest, you fail your family, your friends, and anyone who believed in you.”

Woah.

I’m not sure what chemical synapse went off in my brain, but at that moment my entire attitude shifted. I CAN do this. I WILL not fail. It’s like my entire psyche decided to cue cheesy “protagonist trains for big fight” music. I’m not a fan of cliches, but my life was pretty much one big sports movie. (Side note: My favorite one is Remember the Titans

Since then I’ve come to realize that I know a lot more than I actually do and I just have to give things time to sink it. What I’d tell other people about to entire medical school is to NOT tell yourself that you’ll have the entire Grey’s anatomy memorized in a mere 16 week term. It’s impossible. No doctor on this earth knows every single bone and every single vein. Focus on big picture and find that core group of people you can trust. I’m really glad I did.

 

Prepping for the first exam!

 

TenaciousMD

Choose wisely

With every stage of life, certain questions become more daunting than others. In elementary school, it was deciding how I was going to strategically place my Valentine’s Day card in my crush’s paper box. As an adult it’ll be choosing a mortgage lender. But for college/medical school it’ll be whether or not to go out to a party, or to stay in and study.

I am a socially awkward person, always have and always will – I like to stay in and do nothing but watch make up YouTube videos or snort at vines on my phone. When I was in college I chose the path of the book nerd. I studied all night, participated in student organizations all day and barely had any time to just be an early twenty-something partying in a big city (something I still regret to this day). Before I started the semester I thought to myself, well hey, I’m going to a new school with new people who have no idea what I’m about… this is my chance! A chance to see how the other side lives, the side where people actually go out and make wrong decisions and make stories that will make me the coolest grandma ever.

But old habits die hard.

I got off on a good start, the week I moved in I went out for some drinks with some people I met at orientation and was getting along swimmingly with my new roommate for the next few months. I thought to myself, hey this whole making friends thing isn’t so hard, I don’t know why I don’t do this more often. The afternoon before the last party of the summer we all were called in to meet our professors and they would tell us what their expectation of us would be for each class. It was a breeze until I was hit with a brick wall that is anatomy. It’s the class I knew would give me trouble from the beginning and I had convinced myself over and over again before moving that I would make it a number one priority. Just listening to them speak was enough to make me shake in my seat with fear (a tactic I’m sure all anatomy professors use).

My old self was trying to restrain my ankles and hands from going out that night, “you HAVE to stay home” “you don’t want to fall behind” “you don’t want to mess this up before it even starts”. But I *honestly* wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I was about to give up my social life for the next 4 years, so I went out against my better judgment. And let me tell you, I had never felt so guilty in my entire life.

It was probably the perfectionist in me, but as I was standing in a crowd of my drunk peers with a warm bottle of beer in my hand, I realized that this wasn’t me. I’m not that girl who puts off school work for a party. Hell, I’ve even chosen school over a boyfriend! I didn’t put in hours in college studying pre-med, and countless more preparing for mind blowing experience that is the MCAT to fall behind now when it really matters. 

Now I’m not saying that I don’t plan on going out and having fun EVER. But I most definitely will not try to be a social butterfly, when I know I’m just not. I prefer to be the kind of person people like to take notes with, not shots. It’s *classic* introvert status and over the years I’ve become okay with that. If joining a sorority in college didn’t make me more outgoing, then I guess I just have to throw up my hands and realize that it’s just not for me.

Just as a disclaimer, I know that not everyone is like this- there are some gifted people in this world who can have it all. They’re able to party, hardly study, and ace school…. if you’re one of them, I envy you so much. But I know I’m not in such an elite group of individuals so I just have to make do with what I got. Which is totally okay with me.

I’ll drink to that.  

 

TenaciousMD

Can’t scare me

I’m just wrapping up orientation week and I have pretty much come to two conclusions:

1. Everyone has an ego and are not afraid to tell you

2. Upperclassmen will take any opportunity to scare freshmen

In regards to my first revelation, the moment I walked into our lecture hall for our first orientation session it was as if everyone had their chest puffed out and were trying to make themselves sound more important than they probably are. I remember my dad saying the following when I was starting undergrad, but I never truly understood until now:

“Nobody cares where you went to college”

I think as medical students we tend to ask each other where we went to school previous to this one because we want to size up our competition. “Oh she only went to NYU? Well I went to Columbia”, so she’s clearly beneath me.” In several situations, people will bring up a topic just so they can boast about themselves. They’ll ask if you did any research prior to school and they pretty much wait and act interested as you answer their question and when you’re done they dump all of their accolades onto you in an attempt to make you feel inferior or undeserving to be in their presence.It’s pretty petty and I find myself asking:

why does it even matter?

To be brief, it doesn’t. I’d say a vast majority of medical students (including myself from time to time) forget that we are all EQUAL. No matter what walk of life we come from, ivy league, public school, international, rich, poor, black, white we are all at the same place. If you start to think that there are people who are more undeserving that you, then I think that says a whole lot about you than it does them.

Now, I know I probably sound super cynical about the classmates I’ve met thus far (let’s be honest, I’m pretty cynical overall) but I have met some great people. People who are willing to share inside scoops of classes and exams that they’ve heard from upperclassmen and those who actually realize that there is a whole world out there besides medicine. Time and time again I’ve heard my medical school friends tell me the importance of keeping a BALANCED life. And they don’t mean balancing books on our desk as we cry over them. I’m well aware that this program is to be handled like a marathon, not a sprint – so it’s okay to stop every once in a while and take in some water and recharge.

The upperclassmen here, they’re hilarious. I’m convinced that there must be some class where they get extra credit if they make a newbie cry. When I was at the airport waiting for my 7 hour layover to end, I befriended someone who just so happened to go to my school. When I’d ask for advice on where and/or how to study for certain subjects he’d say things like:

you haven’t taken anatomy before? You’re totally screwed.”

“You didn’t read the biochemistry book before coming here? Wow, you’re brave”

“If you get more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, you’re doing something wrong”

“A quarter of my class dropped out after the first year

 

Like…..what’s your end goal with telling things like that to me? I can tell you right now, he scared the hell out of the girl next to me. But I just took his “advice” with a grain of salt. Everyone works differently, and if barely getting any sleep and functioning with the cognitive ability of someone over the drinking limit works for you, then that’s great! But I don’t think it’s for me. I’m not naïve in thinking that my sleeping beauty self is going to get 9 hours of sleep a night but I definitely will make it a point to not make studying my life 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. That’s not what being a well rounded student nor doctor is about….right?

God I hope so. Maybe that’s what I tell myself over and over again to convince myself that it’s true.

 

Bonus: You’ll get an unofficial work out by carrying these bad boys up and down campus

Got a good work out carrying these babies around campus

Let’s see what the first day of class brings,

 

TenaciousMD

 

 

 

First Post: My journey to medical school

Hello! And welcome to my blog. If you’re here then it means that you’ve either been accepted or are thinking of starting medical school. I’ll start first by saying, you’re crazy. Absolutely nuts. But hey, if you survived undergrad, the MCAT (I still quiver with fear whenever I say it), AND you’re still interested – welcome to this culturally accepted form of mental and emotional abuse.

My pathway to medical school I feel is no different than many other “non-traditional” students. For those of you who haven’t started the application cycle yet, non traditional pretty much means that I didn’t go straight from college to med school. I essentially took 3 years to get my master’s degree and then spent a year working before I made the decision to pursue my first dream of medicine.

I think some people like to sugar coat their “non-traditional” status by saying “well I wanted to take a break from school” or “I wasn’t sure if medical school was for me.”  To be completely honest, for some people these types of reasons are true (namely for those who are much older than the rest of the student population), but for the most part it’s total BS. These non traditional students in denial didn’t go to medical school straight out of undergrad because they didn’t have a high GPA and/or the MCAT score was too low (or some other academic reason).

Point. Blank. Period.

This applies to me as well. I won’t lie, I messed up in college. I dipped my fingers into too many student organizations and even though I was pretty important *flips hair back* on campus in terms of student leadership, medical schools didn’t feel the same way. That’s just the reality of the situation but I learned from it and when I went to grad school I told myself that I had to man up and it’s either I change my study and work ethic now, or I settle for a desk job. I worked hard, got a better MCAT score and then got into med school.

I’m really thankful that this whole AMCAS application process kicked me in the ass because it made me realize that I wasn’t as great as I thought I was in my head. It was a major confidence blow but it has made me into an even better candidate for medicine. Did I get jealous whenever I saw facebook posts from former undergrad classmates getting or even graduating medical school? Of course. I had those *eye roll* types of friends that posted statuses with their acceptance letters in hand getting hundreds of “likes”  (please for the love of God, don’t be that person who does this. People may be congratulating you but you actually look super pretentious. 1000 times more so if it’s an ivy league. Sorry to burst your bubble). The feeling even stings more when it’s someone that you used to think was “not as smart as you” or a “slacker.” But let me give you one piece of advice, trying to be bitter towards these people won’t increase your chances of getting into medical school just use it as fuel to study harder and to claim the major prize, which is to be a physician. Cue “the more you know” NBC rainbow.

It took me a few years but hey, I’m here now. Writing this new blog post in my new school in a new place with a not-so-fresh cup of coffee in my hands.

If you just skimmed through this super long post, I don’t blame you. I do the same things whenever I see a too long blog. But here’s the cliff notes version: get off whatever high horse you’re on because you’re no better than any other candidate and it’s going to be hard and grueling work but I promise you, this white coat is so worth it. At least it better be for what I’m paying…Again, I’m just a first year. Let’s see how my tone changes in about a weeks time after classes come into full swing.

TenaciousMD