What it takes

My brain was not built for science. Instead it was built for sports knowledge and trivial facts about the Civil War, pirates (don’t ask) and movie quotes. My wife makes up for my lack of science based knowledge which is a good balance in our relationship. For any pre med students or anyone thinking of entering into med school I want to give you a list of observation I have noticed in med students I hang around and what it takes to get that white coat. So here it goes….

1. A strange nerdy passion for science. (I don’t have it like I said but you really have to get excited about all the different areas you will be covering and have a real thirst to learn because your nose will be in many books…I mean a lot)
2. Passion for people. Why are you becoming a doctor? Money? I hope not. You really have to love helping others and it will give you great satisfaction at the end of the day.
3. Coffee (just kidding but seriously you will)
4. Competitive mindset. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen my wife and her friends push themselves to beat one another on their test. Having a mind set that you want to do well and not just get by will go a long way trust me.
5. Rigorous study habits. If you think you studied a lot in undergrad you haven’t seen nothing yet. (Anybody get the BTO reference? Anyone? Ok moving on) If you have a day where you study 6 or 7 hours you got off easy or you aren’t trying hard enough. Late nights, all nighters, and long periods staring at books and a computer screen listening to lectures will be in your future.
6. Sacrifice. A some point you are going to have to sacrifice the bulk of your social life and much of your social activities.
7. Tough skin. You might have educators and doctors who yell or criticize you at times but it is a learning process and you have to learn to not take it personal.
8. Check your ego. You may have been the top student in the past or think you know everything about everything but you will be mistaken.
9. Flexible. Your hands should be able to touch the floor when you bend down. No I am kidding. I mean things are in constant flux and you will have to adjust to different doctors, environments and teaching styles.
10. Humor. You gotta laugh. Life is too short and you will lose your mind if you don’t find the humor in having 3 tests in one week.

I hope I didn’t scare anyone off. What do I know the closet I have been to being a med student was watching a marathon of Scrubs reruns.

STRESS!!

Stress!Hey everybody just wanted to share an article I came across about Med Students Handling Stress. A couple parts made me chuckle. Med Students tend to “neglect their own health”. (Hahaha, how ironic) Thought this would be good to share with anyone interested. I think this goes back to my previous post about taking some time out for yourself and relieving stress. (I have a strange feeling this will be a reoccurring theme…hmmm). Anyone here ever tried Yoga?  (I know this goes against man code…but) Yoga is a kick ass workout and I promise you it will relieve stress. Any macho dudes who think this shit is easy I welcoming you to come try it. Takes a ton of strength and balance.

On another related note disconnecting from school is important. My wife and I have a bunch of shows we like to watch to take a break from the whole school and life thing and just zone out to a show. I just got my wife into Arrested Development on Netflix. (If you haven’t seen the show drop everything you are doing and go watch an episode immediately). This time to disconnect gives you that little 30 minute to hour vacation to just think about absolutely nothing. Trust me it works…and not just for med students. Now if someone can give me a technique to relieve my stress from watching the Spartans
this year, that would be great. I”ll be back soon!

Break Time

Stress ReliefI started thinking about this the other day after someone posted about running in a marathon. I consider myself a health nut…maybe to an unhealthy degree (if that makes sense). I have to give a lot of props to my wife who managed to train for a marathon in about a month and a half with me and ran it two weeks into her second year of med school. A little hectic to say the least. One of the things I have realized about this whole med school thing, is that it consumes your life and sometimes you need to disconnect. For my wife who loves to run that is her time to get away, blow of some steam and energy. For any med students out there I would HIGHLY recommend taking up running if you don’t already as a general stress reliever. You don’t have to do a marathon or turn into crazy track kid, but I guarantee you will love the escape it can provide you. If running isn’t your thing than I suggest lifting weights or swimming or some other form of physical activity. Not to their fault, but med students spend an inordinate amount of time on their ass. I don’t think I need to sit here and lecture a MED STUDENT on the benefits of exercise, but I think it is easy to get wrapped up in school when you have 50 lectures to watch and a test on Friday. If anyone ever takes anything away from reading my blog I hope it is the idea of balance. Balance I believe is key in life. You need to find balance and a quick run outside can do a body good (does milk have a copy right on that?). Look you are going to take a break at sometime during your day of studying. If you can find a way to carve out a little time each week to working out and getting the body moving instead of the brain, you won’t regret it. Sidenote…this is another great chance to connect with your loved ones away from school and just talk and be together. If not, have a classmate or friend join you as it is a good chance to do something together that is not centered around hemochromatosis or cholangiocarcinoma. Sorry my wife is in her gastrointestinal class right now. (Impressed? Not bad for someone who has about as much science background as the Geico caveman. Seriously I feel like the kid that came up with his science fair project the night before when my wife starts blurting out these terms.) Well I really hope you take my advise and go out for a run or shoot some hoops or something. It will not only do your body good but clear your mind so that you can grasp the concept of Porto-Systemic Encephalopathy. (Really? No idea what that was until I googled it)

Saturday Nights

Most college students are allergic to studying on weekends it seems. Students avoid studying on Friday and Saturday nights like the black plague. If you are a grad student and particularly a med student you have no choice. I am not sure how everyone else spends their Saturday nights, but I have a stack of books to prove that I spent my time reading (lame I know). When my wife has to study on a Saturday night (aka every Saturday night) I use it to my advantage. I don’t spend my time watching TV or twiddling my thumbs. I like to use that time to improve myself as well. Join a gym, learn to love reading, take up a hobby, learn a new language, I am. Hola! I have gotten very far as you can see. Studying ALL THE  TIME is a part of being a med student and you will have to get use to giving up your free time for your studies. If you are a loved one of a med student don’t feel sorry for yourself or your loved one. This is a chance to expand your mind while they are studying. When my wife found out I was taking a mostly online course this year she was ecstatic proclaiming “Now you can study with me!” Indeed I can. I strongly suggest shutting of the TV and making a list of things you would like to do to improve yourself. I have a couple suggestion below:

Back to Back

Michigan Fall

Beautiful Michigan Fall

I live in Michigan and it is great until winter comes along. Then you say “what the hell do I live here for?!” Then summer rolls around again and you say “Oh…thats right, we have like 2 billions lakes here…sweet!” I try to look on the bright side of things. As fall turns to winter I try to remember the fact that it is much easier for my wife to study when it is cold dark and dreary outside. It enhances her focus and make her less apt to want to feel like she is missing out on some childhood game of kickball in the street or something. Sooo, there is always that to look forward to.

This week I am enduring back to back test for my wife. Nothing to crazy really, what week isn’t there back to back tests? I must say I am in great spirits today though, because my wife and I managed to sleep in till 7:45 am. Pretty solid, right? When you are in the midst of crisis “I have two test, this is crazy mode” I find it best to bring the positivity to your significant other. You gotta keep em going through the week. And find a way to take breaks and maybe even switch the environment they are studying in. A coffee shop, library, outside (if you are not in Michigan), kitchen instead of living room just to switch it up. I find my wife tends to get antsy and needs new scenery every once in a while. Has anyone else found this to be true? Anyway always keep that smile on your face and be a rock for your loved ones when two tests are staring them down.