Second Year So Far

I started my second year of medical school one week ago today. Before starting, I had made so many expectations of myself and had many ideas for how the school year would go. I was so ready to get back to work and get in a routine. Also, I never had taken any of the courses that I was about to take, so I was super excited to learn all new things.

But over this last week, I’ve dealt with something I haven’t experienced yet in med school.

In case you didn’t know, in medical school, there is a huge board exam called the USMLE Step 1 that students take after their second year. This test sort of determines what specialities you can choose to go into once you graduate. So it’s very important to do the best you can on this test to make sure you can choose a speciality that you want rather than be pushed towards one you don’t. So before classes even started, I knew that doing well on this exam would be a priority.

The thing about Step 1 is that there are so many resources out there for students to use. Day 1 of classes had everyone in my class talking about the different resources available and which ones they were planning on using. So many people had different study plans and methods, using different resources and study aides… it was beyond overwhelming.

It’s been stressful to be overwhelmed by resources. I have never experienced this stress so far because all of first year was pretty self-explanatory and simple. All you had to do was study your notes! But now, with Step 1 in the picture, everything seems so different. But I’m taking second year one day at a time and always accepting study tips!

So on that note, if you mastered second year or Step 1, please share some secrets below 🙂


Spring Semester Shadowing: Emergency

I have only two posts left to finish my little spring semester shadowing series! First, I want to remind readers of why I did all this shadowing. At my med school, we are assigned different shadowing experiences each semester, only for an hour each, to get a little glimpse into different medical specialties. We also had to shadow different health careers to see how medicine acts like a team and how doctors work with all different types of medical professionals.

The last two shadowing experiences are with emergency and family med, so keep an eye out for the family med experience coming soon.

Emergency medicine is actually an extremely popular field right now due to the shift work, lack of call, and a great lifestyle. The whole fall semester, emergency medicine was my #1 because I like fast paced things and acute care. Spring semester, I actually wasn’t sure if I’d like the lack of continuity of care, so emergency slipped a few spots on my ever-changing list.

This past spring, I had a great shadowing experience that bumped emergency to a top contender once again. My school is somewhat unique in that it really emphasizes ultrasound! We have an ultrasound course we take during anatomy and end the course with a patient practical. In my shadowing experience, the doctor let me use my ultrasound skills to ultrasound a patient’s heart! I love doing things that are hands on so this experience was so amazing to me.

I hope that whatever speciality I go into, it is one that I can use ultrasound! I believe it is such an effective and useful tool. Does anyone else like ultrasound or has had practice using one?!

This actually was not my first experience in emergency, however. I did shadow before I matriculated into medical school and it was that experience that made emergency my #1 in the first place. It was the first time I saw the death of a patient. It was very eye-opening and memorable for many different reasons. Despite the poor and unfortunate outcome, the medical staff, including the doctor, nurses, residents, all worked in a team. It was such a group effort and this fact really stood out to me. They were able to cope together, grieve together, and then pick back up to face the next emergency together.

Let me know if you like emergency medicine because of the team atmosphere, too!

Med School 101: Best Note-taking Tool

Hiya guys! Today, I will officially finished my summer research experience so yay. I’m writing on what I use to take notes in med school and how to use it. In undergrad, I never used my laptop to take notes but it seems it is the thing to do in medical school. I was so afraid to step away from handwritten notes, colorful pens, and printing out slides. After using the program, OneNote, I am SO much more comfortable with taking my notes on the computer.

OneNote is a part of the MicrosoftOffice package. It has a purple icon that looks like this:

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Think of OneNote as a virtual binder. In the binder, you can have different notebooks for each year of your class. Within each notebook, you can have different sections for the different subjects you take. Within each section, you can have different pages for different lecture notes.

It sounds complicated, but let me walk you through the organization.

When you open OneNote, you first need to create a new notebook. I suggest either creating one for your whole year as an MS1 or for fall semester of MS1 because it helps to keep things condensed and not have a million folders. Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 9.18.15 AM.pngI’ve named my folders MS1 and MS2. Within each folder, there are sections. I have a section for each block of my classes.

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So in my MS1 folder, you can see I have a ton of sections. There were three blocks of Neuro so therefore I have three sections of Neuro labeled Neuro 1, 2 and 3.

Within each section, I have a page for each lecture given. I title each lecture with the number of the lecture and the date it was given. So on 4/17, I had three lectures. The first was an orientation, second was intracranial compartments, and third was CNS development.

Keeping these pages titled in this way is helpful when making to do lists. I have naming method that keeps things organized, clear, and consistent. Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 9.32.56 AM.png

From one of my old Instagram’s, you can see that I literally call my lectures by their number – this makes it easier for me to stay organized!

In OneNote, you are able to download a PowerPoint lecture and write directly on the slides.

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This feature is something that you can’t do in PowerPoint. Here, I can literally point to structures I’m making a note about which is super helpful when reviewing.

Another bonus about OneNote is that if you have an iPad, you can use this program, too! You can sync up your notes and easily use your iPad or laptop.

There are so many preferences that you can customize and change which makes OneNote even greater! If you have specific questions about OneNote, comment below 🙂

Happy studying!