This year has gone by swiftly and if I am being completely honest, I’m glad that 2017 is coming to a close. This year has been equal parts trial and tribulation. This year has been equal parts exciting and exhausting. This year has been a year of opportunity and obstacle. It has been months since I have shared anything personal or academic in this space. This semester has been one of the most academically challenging and I can finally give a sigh of relief (now that grades are in). As I have mentioned at multiple times elsewhere on the blog, I’m one of the four-year MD/MPH (in Tropical Medicine) candidates at Tulane. This program is hands-down one of the reasons why I wanted to receive my medical training at Tulane. I elected for the tropical medicine concentration for quite a few reasons such as my interest in international medicine and infectious disease. They told (warned?) us early on that the tropical medicine concentration requires coursework in the fall semester of MS4 but I truly underestimated the chaos of juggling five classes, interview season, and clinical rotations. It has been: crazy, exhilarating, informative, stressful, but most importantly worthwhile. There were points during this semester when I legitimately forgot the day of the week (hence, the quote – an excerpt from O.L’s poem “blurred“). There were points during this semester when I woke up in a different city every single day of the week. So honestly, the life recap for the past few months is succinct: I have been traveling and studying.
Last year, I posted about: 1) the highlights of 2016, 2) the lessons I learned in 2016, and 3) my resolutions for the upcoming year. I wanted to keep the tradition alive and give a quick recap of the highs and lows of 2017! I’ll start by saying that the lessons I learned in 2016 were re-learned and revisited this year. I’ll repost the list and highlight the lessons that were most relevant to me in 2017.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. The holiday season is always a time during which I am extremely grateful. It is a time of year when I reflect upon the individuals and moments in the past year that have truly lifted my spirits. I truly do not mention this enough, but I am so grateful to be part of the community of medical bloggers, almost doctors, #girlmedtwitter, and medical instagram. This platform has been a great outlet for me and an amazing albeit unexpected way for me to connect with high-school and premedical students.
This time last year, I had a patient encounter that humbled me. This patient, let’s use a random name (I’m partial to Charlotte), presented to the clinic with a complaint of breast pain. I wrote about this patient encounter – so I don’t want to provide too many details here – and submitted my piece to the Gold Foundation. I felt extremely lucky to have placed 3rd in the Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest. Now, I feel extremely proud to see my essay in this month’s issue of Academic Medicine.
Click on the image below in order to read the piece. Feel free to share your thoughts with me!
I won’t lie to you: I’m not the most spontaneous. When it comes to academics and life-planning, I’m (to be frank) not spontaneous at all. This may not come as a surprise to those of you who have read my series on “How to Survive Medical School.” This time last year, a flurry of emails from then-MS4s-now-PGY1s launched a series of conversations amongst my classmates: “should we go on away/audition rotations?” For some of you pursuing fields such as orthopedics and urology, the question is not “should I?” but rather “how many?” For others, it really depends. The argument is raised that: if you go on an away rotation and perform poorly, you ruin your chance of matching to that program. I think that point is fair but I also think that if you go on an away rotation and you’re motivated and excited, it’s hard to leave a terrible impression.
Sure, there’s the “fish out of water” effect that is to be expected. Sure, you’ll get lost a time or two. Sure, the MS3s may perform better than you at the start. Sure, you’ll be frustrated because you’re nervous and feel like you’re not performing at your best in a new environment. You’ll acclimate. You’ll progress. They’ll notice. It’ll work out.
In the case that it truly is a terrible away rotation experience in regard to fit or workload – there’s a chance that it might not have been the right place for you as a resident. So even in that case, you’ve learned a lot about where you want to end up or what sort of programs you’re looking for when you start on the interview trail. Speaking of the interview trail, if you want to follow my journey the best places to do that are Instagramor Twitter. I’ll share a recap of my trail here on the blog after match day (March 2018!).
One week ago, I submitted my application to some amazing pediatric residency programs. This application process is in some ways easier compared to that of medical school – there are no secondary applications / additional costs, it’s extremely simple to have standardized test scores sent to each school, and the process is just in general streamlined. Nonetheless, this application process is unnerving. It is absolutely wild that…in March I will find out if I have to move for the next three years of my life. To be able to choose where you go to medical school is such a luxury (which, of course, I didn’t appreciate at the time). I’m excited and nervous about what comes next.
Interviews invites have been rolling in and I’m excited about the months of travel to come. I mentioned this on Instagram that as much as I am flattered that you guys are excited to see how this process goes for me, I won’t share specifics about interview invites until after interview season.
So what is going to happen to this space? I’m status post examinations (thank goodness) and beyond graded clerkships. I’ve shared my advice for MS1 – MS3 year coursework. I’ve shared some tips about USMLE 1. I have a few blog posts coming up about USMLE 2 CK and CS in addition to posts about VSAS and ERAS eventually. So back to the original question – what will happen to this space?
Hello guys! I’m sure you’re surprised to see another post this week. Although I’m gearing up for the big day (ERAS submission aka residency application day – September 15th), I have a little bit more time on my hands. I’m back in my public health classes and I’m balancing that with some of the less time-intensive clinical rotations!
As many of you already know, I tend to share a bit of my life as a medical student on Instagram. One of my favorite fellow medical student bloggers / Instagrammers, Melina Rae, tagged me to introduce myself. Given the recent influx of followers on Instagram and readers on the blog, I can’t think of any better timing to reintroduce myself.
I concluded my clerkship year in April. How crazy is that? Since that time —
I took Step 2 Clinical Skills at the end of May — I passed guys!
I took Step 2 Clinical Knowledge at the beginning of July (score is still pending)
I completed a 2 week elective in radiology
I completed a 2 week elective in allergy/immunology
I spent a month in the northeast for an away rotation
This post, admittedly long overdue, has been drafted for months. One of my friends (hi Ronke!) told me that I have to publish this post before she started her OBGYN rotation (aka on Monday) so I clearly didn’t take her too seriously.
As always, please take my advice with a grain of salt. If you’re looking for more advice, these are some pretty great places to check out as well.
Too often, we find ourselves trapped in the mindset of “have to.” I have to go to work. I have to study. I have to go see the new patient in room 6. I have to make time to workout. I have to meet up with my friend for dinner.
I know I am not alone in this.
We, professional students, get caught in the whirlwind of our responsibilities and our interests. To-do lists that stretch far too long down the page serve as our lifesource. We are unfailingly hardworking. We schedule naps. We schedule social time. We fail to be spontaneous.
Is it just me or is 2017 going by extremely quickly? I cannot believe that tomorrow is the first of April. April is my last month of core clinical rotations. This year of medical school has been crazy. I feel like I mention in almost every post that medical school is hard. Each year in medical school has its own challenges. Third year is the awkward balance of two time-consuming roles: full-time student and health care provider. Each rotation comes with very different schedules (some schedules change on a weekly basis, others change every few days) and expectations. My biggest challenge has been to balance my work on the wards and to keep on top of my academics (there’s always a shelf exam on the horizon) and personal obligations (appointments and engagements).
I can easily say that the key to my sanity as a medical student is how I organize my day to day.
The third out of eight weeks of OBGYN is coming to a close. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy deliveries (yay to babies) but my mind is on what follows this rotation. Make sure to follow along with my day-to-day life on Instagram and Twitter. Just a heads up: I have a really neat giveaway planned for next week. I have a feeling you guys are going to love it! 😻
Okay so before I jump into my recommendations for each rotation, here are some other spots with pretty amazing clerkship advice.