Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Med School is a Little Like High School

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So, as promised my next blog is about med school.

Med school is actually a lot like high school, you don't notice it at first, but if you are separated from it for a little amount of time (like the holidays where you go back home) looking back at it, it's a lot different than undergrad and a lot like high school.

You have the group of popular beautiful people, various other cliques, the few people that nobody really knows and who just go in/out of classes and all the wonderous associated drama that happens.

Really, in undergrad, I had kind of gotten used to being away from this whole high school social thing. My classes were always huge, and my program didn't have my entire schedule set out for me, so really, the people in my classes differed all the time. I would rarely even sit next to the same person. I had close friends I met along the way in undergrad and I would hang out with them, but really there was no popularity contests or social stresses inside school itself.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Moon (A Change-Up for Once: Non-Medical Post!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009
So, I am ashamed to say, all the hype going around tempted me to go see New Moon. The story is kind of unique (*dodges the stones hurled by my readers), but I must say, I hate spending money and time on a movie and watching something that pisses me off. (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!)

The entire movie, I felt so frustrated and unfulfilled - for lack of a better word. The entire movie, things start happening, but they never quite happen, even though you keep on anticipating it happening. For instance, Edward never ever fully kisses Bella, you just see them sort of dodge around it for a bit. Then it got even worse near the end when you had to wait a few seconds between every single word that Edward was saying. Additionally, the same sort of thing happened with Jacob and Bella. He just keeps going for her, but you just keep watching her dodge around the relationship and acting all angsty.

Also, I really don't understand why Edward would commit suicide without confirmation of anything. Really, some random guy in Bella's house told him over the phone that her Dad was making preparations for a funeral. Why would he not verify it was Bella who died before doing what he did? Perhaps it was her grandmother, mother, etc...

I shall probably return to medical posts on my next one. Just thought I'd put this short post out there for all the New Moon hype.

PS: I think Ashley Greene (the actress that plays Alice) is totally the hottest girl in the movie.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Residual Stress and the Mysterious CARMs

Monday, December 7, 2009
So, my next blog post will be about the "stress" that I've been experiencing lately. Really, the pre-clinical years in a Canadian Med School should be pretty chill. Your not on rotations or clinical work yet, and for the most part a lot of the pressure to get a A+ (since it doesn't exist anymore) is gone. You get either a H, P, F or a P, F (H: Honors, P: Pass, F: Fail) depending on which Canadian school you go to.

However, I think that I still have some of that residual pre-med keener still roaring inside of me, and I can't help but stress about small things. One of the things that I have been stressing about is the CARMs match I will have to undergo in 4 years time (it's a program in Canada that matches a MD graduate to the residency/specialty that they want) and how I am supposed to prepare for it. The only problem with this is that I have no idea what I even want to do yet, aside from the fact that I want to work with patients (so probably no to radiology, pathology, and the laboratory-based specialties). And if you don't really even know what you want to do, there really is not much of a way to prepare for it (aside from basic stuff like get involved in activities and trying not to fail a course).

The one aspect of CARMs that really does stress me out is my lack of knowledge concerning the weighting of the different components of the application. Does research count for a lot of your evaluation? How much research is enough research? Is it really the reference letters/clinical rotations in the latter bit of my MD that matters?

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Recent Articles on Med School Admissions

Saturday, December 5, 2009
http://www.cbc.ca/news/citizenbytes/2009/12/doctor_shortage_a_medical_stud.html
[In a nutshell: Girl thinks it's too competitive to get into a Canadian med school, goes off overseas to go to med school. Worries about not being able to come back to Canada to practice. B***hes about it.]

http://www.globecampus.ca/in-the-news/globecampusreport/perfectly-qualified-but-cant-get-in/
[In a nutshell: The Globe and Mail talks about how hard it is to get into medicine nowadays. How you have to be super smart as well as really well-rounded. They cite an example of a World Champion Jump-Rope Skipper in Dalhousie.]

My thoughts: Yes, they are both correct that med school is actually insanely difficult to get into nowadays. There is more than certainly a balance of luck, academic intelligence, charisma, and extra-academic qualities that must be fulfilled. People miss admissions by a sliver every year.

The upside to all this: Yes it is ridiculous to get in; however, once you make it in, you get to work with and learn from a group of amazing peers. Working with each other for the next 4 years will give you an opportunity to learn all that your colleagues have learned and thus make you a better doctor. When you pack in 100-200 of people like this into a classroom and allow them to work closely with each other for 3-4 years, you'll be surprised as to the amount you will learn from each other and the things that you will achieve. For example, in every med school throughout Canada, not only do the students learn how to be doctor, but if you check it out, med students are really well involved. They run ridiculous amounts of charity work and extra-curricular activities.

I really have been noticing that my classmates are very well-rounded people. I mean this in the sense that, had they not gone into medicine but rather into business, or law, or research, they would also have led very successful careers. I think that med school admissions have become more-so like this since the late 90s and it will truly be interesting to see what these people will bring into the world. Many of these doctors are finishing up their residencies now and beginning to become fully fledged doctors, it will be a wonder to see what these emerging doctors will do in our society. (You can see much evidence of it now already, for my fellow med students out there, I'm sure you've noticed a lot of the people involved in your medical education are actually fairly young and were admitted around that time frame. Many of them go onto do research, or fight for policies, etc).

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're at 8% MD, how time flies!

Thursday, December 3, 2009
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk57tmbFKsQ&feature=player_embedded

Random video I found on another medblogger's site (this guy's graduated and that was his commencement speech, if you want to see his original blog, visit here)

The speech gives one the impression of the enormous amount of memories and of the learning that we are all going to do throughout our years. Although my class has just started med school, we've already had various moments that will live long in the classes' memories and there has already been much bonding amongst classmates. We're all going through an adventure together (we're stuck for 8 grueling hours a day together - by the end of this I will have adopted a severe addiction to all types of caffeinated beverages), as a tight knit group and I think we can't help but make some of the closest friends we ever will have here. There is so much culture, and so many great people in our class that I'm excited to see where life is going to take us!

Med school is a completely different environment then undergrad (well at least my undergrad experience). In undergraduate, I was one of the 500 students in an Organic Chemistry course. I wouldn't even get the same seat every time and the people around me would change every single day. I got to meet a few friends, but in science there really was no culture or any real memories at all. You were just one straw in the haystack and nobody knew who you were.

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Ironman 2



Is anyone else excited about this, or is it just me?

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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Beginning of my Journey through Medicine and Medical School

Monday, November 30, 2009
The lifechanging moment: Acceptance May 15 2009 ~9:00 am

Although a bit late in starting this blog, through the past few months, inspired by bloggers such as vitum medicinus and my experiences, I realized that I needed a place to anonymously talk about my experiences, to document and chart my way to becoming a MD and beyond. To share my sorrows, joys, frustrations, and accomplishments in the journey of medicine. Let me start off the blog with the happiest day of my life so far: May 15, 2009.

The start of a new life: the morning of May 15, 2009:

Pre-med in Canada is perhaps one of the most tumultuous experiences imaginable. To re-cap quickly, I realized in high school that I wanted to dedicate my life to changing the lives of others, to die with the knowledge that I spent my life changing the things I saw unfit in the world, and making a difference in the lives of the people around me.

I considered a variety of careers, including law, politics, business, computer engineering (my favorite subjects in high school didn't include only biology but I really enjoyed social studies and computer science as well). However, after a few more experiences, I settled on medicine halfway through high school. At that point, everything I did all had some relationship to medicine (not that the volunteering/leadership I had wasn't for other reasons as well such as enjoyment or interest, but at least part of the motivation for doing these things was because of a wish to get into medicine). I gave up moving away to a cool new university and opted for my hometown university because I believed it would keep me from the temptation of residence partying and allowed me to have the familiarity of living at home (thus increasing the chance of my success in undergrad). I labored for 5 hard years, endured many sleepless nights, all with the focus on medicine. I still remember the envy I would have whenever I saw someone with the ever-so coveted med school backpack (every student in Canada gets a free backpack from the CMA - they give each year a certain color and design that helps identify someone from that year. For example, the Medical Students entering in 2009 all have Red High Sierra backpacks, whether they go to University of British Columbia or the University of Western Ontario).

The worst part of it was the uncertainty, all the effort I put into the pursuit of medical school could be completely wasted. A realistic assessment of the situation showed the competitiveness of getting in and that statistics were against me, I didn't know whether I was good enough, and often times I doubted it, and thought of dropping out, applying to pharmacy, or just finding a good paying job and living an ordinary life. Continually, I would quash these feelings, and remind myself that anything was possible, that if I worked hard enough, if I believed in myself, I could do it. That every year someone had to be accepted, and nothing was stopping me from being that 'someone' except for my uncertainties and doubts.

Throughout my application year, I balanced writing applications, midterms, extra-curriculars, practicing for interviews, doing interviews and honestly, I spent at least 10% of my nights sleepless. Having worked like a dog throughout the process, I remember the crushing feeling I would get whenever I got a pre-interview rejection from schools and also the accomplishment I felt when I got my first interview invite (Interviewed 3/7 Applications). Throughout the process, I kept on asking myself the question "what if... what if I get rejected, what will I do, will I have the strength to try again?"

Then came the big day, May 15 2009. All my doubts about my future washed away with the one fateful e-mail. My heart was racing all morning, waiting for the vibrations on my cellphone (e-mails) that would signal the receipt of a life-changing message. Bringing out my phone and debating whether I should look at it, the e-mail that would give me the biggest news of my life, the e-mail that could either crush me or give me the greatest gift imaginable: the chance to fulfill my dreams. I remember staring dumbfounded at the phone when I read the e-mail titled "Congradulations" and realizing that the next step in my journey was about to begin.

So here I am, ready to continue working for my dreams, and 4 years away from the two golden letters M.D.

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