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 🙂


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!

Spring Semester Shadowing: Neurosurgery

Hi guys! Today I’m writing about my experience shadowing Neurosurgery and how I was shocked to find I actually enjoyed this specialty.

Sad news is that I didn’t shadow on a surgery day. Instead, I shadowed on a clinic day where the doctor saw patients either post-operation or if he was consulted to see a new patient. I can’t wait until the day I get to scrub in during a brain surgery!

The doctor saw about 6 patients in the hour that I was with him. One patient was post-op and was there to review her brain scans after her previous surgery. The other patients were all referred to him from other physicians. Neurosurgery deals with surgically treating issues of the spinal cord, brain, and other parts of the nervous system. All of the patients I saw had issues dealing with the brain specifically.

Anatomy really prepared me to see structures on a variety of modalities! I feel way more comfortable viewing MRI’s and CT’s than I did before med school. I was able to actually recognize arteries and structures on the patient’s MRI’s and CT’s which made me feel connected to the patient and helped me understand the depth of their disease.

I think I liked this experience so much because the doctor was SO passionate about his specialty. He really loved his job and that made it so appealing to me. He told me that balance between his work and home life is sometimes difficult, but loving his career makes it easier.

Have you ever seen a brain surgery!? I’ve heard that it’s so hard to distinguish healthy brain from diseased brain! Eek.

Check out my past shadowing experiences herehere, and here!