Midterm week = unproductive rest of the week

This week we had our intro to clinical medicine midterm! I’m not sure if it’s just me or everyone else is like this but whenever it’s an exam week, the rest of the week is sooo unproductive. My midterm was on Wednesday so that means Wednesday evening through Sunday have been quite unproductive!

I apologize in advance for the poor quality pics!

Monday:

Monday before the midterm was okay. It was kind of rainy and cloudy. We had a 4 hour lecture on the reproductive and renal systems. Then we went to our small group discussions about those same systems. I came home and studied a little. So, it was a pretty uneventful day lol

Tuesday:

Tuesday was freezing! I had virtual clinic in the morning, SOAP writing in the late morning, and clinical skills lab in the afternoon!

I had to change from dress clothes to scrubs before clinical skills. This got me thinking about how badly I need a bag to carry all of my stuff in! Any recommendations are appreciated! I’m wearing what’s now my favorite coat from Talbots!

Those are my Cherokee Scrubs that I love!

Tuesday evening was of course spent cramming because the exam was the  following morning!

Wednesday

I couldn’t believe how fast Wednesday came! This was the day of the midterm. Surprisingly, I was so calm before the exam. I’m normally freaking out on the days of exams but I realized that I’ve truly done my best with the chaotic schedule so I had to let God handle it at that point!!

It was still kind of chilly outside and cloudy so I definitely had to wear a sweater! After the exam, I ended up going to the mall with a few friends and getting matched for foundation at Sephora!! It was kinda cool! I don’t know much about make up so this was enlightening for me!

I also wen’t into bath and body works to stock up because they are having their semi-annual sale! If you don’t know, it’s still on until the end of June!

On Wednesday evening, I went out to eat at this Iraqi restaurant! The atmosphere was pretty chill and the food was good!

I came home, watched TV and fell asleep lol

Thursday

Thursday was a semi productive but I felt myself slipping toward the end! I studied for only a little bit and ended up cleaning my place / organizing. So I guess it was productive, just not productive with studying.

Friday

I did NOTHING! I watched Netflix all day long! This was my first ever Netflix binge lol I’ve never done that before but seriously it was the most relaxing day! I didn’t even feel guilty about being doing nothing and that’s the best part lol

Saturday

I came to campus to force myself to study and only ended up doing about 5 hours of studying! I went home and continued to relax lol

Sunday

I woke up determined to get some schoolwork done but I thought it might be better to go get groceries, plan my meals for the week, and cook! That way, I would have the rest of next week week to study. I ended up studying for about 4 hours and did the rest of that stuff!  I was proud that I planned my meals for the week and cooked a little bit.

The struggle was real after that midterm! I hope this coming week is much more productive! Stay tuned for another update!

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Back in the US! …..what now?

Basic sciences is OVER! I am officially done with all of the “book work” portion of med school jk, there are still some books involved…lots, and lots of books!

Not sure if I have explained before but with Caribbean Medical Schools, we study our basic sciences for two years overseas, on an island, and then come back to the United States to study for the USMLE and start clinical rotations!

I am beyond excited to be done with basic sciences but I definitely already miss the warm weather and beautiful views! I didn’t realize how much I would miss St. Kitts & Nevis but I definitely do. And to those who are still on the island and are coming back to the States, you will too, believe it or not!

The first few weeks of being back in the States and being in a new location was a little bit challenging because I’m technically starting over in a new place. The unfamiliarity can be scary at times but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

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I came only a few days before classes in hopes of exploring a little before classes began but unfortunately it was rainy and cold up here so I didn’t get to see much of the city ! Three weeks in and I still haven’t been able to see much 😦  Hopefully soon though!

Classes go by REALLY fast and so do the weeks. I can’t believe I’m already on the 4th week! The current schedule is composed of lectures, virtual clinic (a simulated clinic), clinical skills training, preceptorships, CPR and ACLS training. This schedule is for the first 8 weeks of the semester only, the following 6 weeks will be Kaplan Review Lectures that we have to attend in preparation for the USMLE.

At first, the semester seemed chaotic because it was completely different than the basic sciences schedule but then once I got the hang of the schedule, I’ve realized it isn’t that bad. As of now, there are no Saturday or Sunday classes except for when we have CPR or ACLS training which is just two Saturday’s. Once we start the Kaplan Review classes for the USMLE, I hear the schedule is pretty packed and we even have classes on weekends but not sure if this is just a rumor or the truth!

Other than that, I’m loving preceptorships which is essentially a clinical rotation, just much shorter. I’m in peds with the little ones and I can’t believe how much I have learned already from this experience. Fortunately, I have an amazing preceptor who is always teaching me new things. He’s really passionate about peds which makes it that much more fun! I’m amazed with how much I have learned in such little time! Sadly, this week will be last preceptorship 😦 I can’t wait until my peds rotation!

Midterms are just around the corner aka next week so this weekend will be spent intensely reviewing !

For any questions, shoot me an email or comment down below (:

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What should I bring with me from home for EBS 5?

Are you about to start EBS 5 and are completely clueless as to what you will need like I was? A few of my friends have asked me about the EBS 5 semester at UMHS so this post is going to be dedicated to incoming EBS 5 students. EBS 5 is such a chaotic semester so please read these next few posts I will be writing to help clear some confusion that you may have!

This first post is about what I think you guys should bring with you to the island before EBS 5 so that you can have an easy transition into EBS 5 and a smooth semester with less worry.

“What you need” are things you absolutely need for the semester with no questions asked! “What’s recommended?” are just things that I found to be helpful. I recommend getting these things while you go home for the break and bringing them with you to the island because once the semester starts, you are going to be incredibly busy!

Like many of my peers, I don’t have a money tree growing outside in my backyard so these things that I have listed are the bare minimum requirements!

What you NEED for EBS 5

Stethoscope

You need a stethoscope without a doubt. It doesn’t matter which brand, just make sure it has a bell in addition to the diaphragm! Mine is the Littman Cardiology III Stethoscope. You will use this a million times through out the semester.

White coat (THE SHORT ONE)

I have 2 white coats. My original white coat, which I used for PD, Physio lab, neuro lab, etc. is the same coat that I use for ICM labs. Over the break between EBS 4 and 5, I bought a SECOND white coat because I just wanted to have a newer coat that fit better and looked better for the hospital and presentations, etc. This is most likely the coat I will use when we do Clinical Rotations in the States.

You DON’T need 2 lab coats, I’m just extra. If you use the same lab coat that you used in PD and are planning on using it again in ICM labs, and hospitals, just make sure it is “durable” or will last and doesn’t have holes in it or anything like that.

Professional clothes

If you’ve seen the EBS 5 students, you probably thought that we dress up all the time but we only dressed up for the hospital, presentations, and practicals. You go to the hospital 5 times, there is 1 midterm practical, 1 final practical, and 1 presentation. So, you actually only need 8 professional outfits or mix and match and make 10 outfits just in case and you will be more than fine.

Dressing up those times is NOT optional. You can’t go to the hospital in scrubs and you can’t take the practicals in scrubs either. Of course you can wear whatever you want as long as it is professional but I highly recommend comfortable shoes because you will be standing a LOT in the hospital.

Guys, make sure you have ties. You can’t just wear button ups without the ties.

Females, FLATS > heels. Your feet will thank you. Also, the doctors and people on the island are conservative, this means your professional clothes have to be modest. I’m not saying cover from head to toe but make sure the skirts aren’t too short and cleavage isn’t showing. The patients in the hospital are already suffering, the last thing they need is someone to come in looking as though they are going to the club. I know that sounds really harsh but professionalism is very important.

Scrubs

This is not negotiable! You need about 2 or 3 pairs of scrubs. I used TWO pairs of scrubs the entire semester and survived. I was afraid people were going to make fun of me or talk bad because I only had those two scrubs BUT in reality, most people did too. You are in ICM lab at the most two times a week. You can wear professional clothes to the labs but scrubs are easy to get in and out of. Please get them.

Clipboard

I thought long and hard about whether I should put clipboard under recommended or required but I think I’m going to say it’s required. You will be standing up and writing a lot in EBS 5 for ICM. So you really do need this especially when you go into the hospital to take notes on your patients.

Not needed but RECOMMENDED:

Robbins Pathology Hard Copy textbook

This is the reference book for everything path. Dr. W loves this book and her powerpoints are based on this so I highly recommend having this book for Dr. W’s lectures. Dr. J, doesn’t use it so much because he gives you everything you need to know in his powerpoints. He recommends pre-reading it before class.

UWorld Qbank

I recommend doing lots and lots of UWorld questions for pharm as well as for path AND for preparing for USMLE STEP 1. Getting your subscription now and doing just 10 questions a night puts you ahead of the game. By the end of the semester you will finish HALF of the UWorld question bank. When you get to Maine, you can finish the second half. Trust me, there is no negative aspect about purchasing this set of questions. Please budget it in somehow!

Before the exams and quizzes, I did these questions and they were helpful. You can’t go wrong with UWorld.

Flashcards

I am a strong advocate for flashcards because this is the method that works for me. I use both hard copies and electronic flashcards such as Quizlet. If you’re not a flashcard person, that’s okay, we all have our own methods of studying but if you are, make sure you stock up before coming to EBS 5.

I used them for all of the EBS 5 classes because there is so much information so in a way they helped me with organizing each topic or disease or drug. I used Quizlet for pharm and hard copy cards for Path and ICM.

Pathoma book and videos

I didn’t use the Pathoma book or videos for path at all. BUT I am using it for reviewing for NBME final. Pathoma is a review resource. Because the final is cumulative and we have learned everything we need to know, I’m using Pathoma to review the material. I will let you guys know how that works out after I take the NBME.

I think this is it. You don’t need a reflex hammer, opthalmoscope, otoscope or any of those things but if you can afford them, please get them because it would be nice to have your own to practice with on your friends and family and while in lab; however, these items are provided to you in lab for practice.

Get in contact with me if you have any questions!

Transitioning from EBS 4 to EBS 5

First off, I want to say congrats to everyone who will be making it out of EBS 4 into EBS 5! You are one step closer to finishing basic sciences and another step closer to fulfilling your dream!

EBS 4 was TOUGH!!! This semester was packed with information but you did it and I am so happy for each and every one of you because I know the struggle!!!

When I was heading in to EBS 5, I didn’t really have a guide. I didn’t have anyone to say, “Hey, heads up, this is what you need and don’t need for EBS 5 and by the way, don’t do this but do this instead.” I think it’s so important to have that because not only will you mentally prepare but it is also motivational. You will be so much more prepared for the semester if you know what to expect.

After EBS 4, I was just chilling, super excited that I am about to enter my final semester of basic sciences and more determined than ever to finish successfully. I don’t think I mentally prepared for EBS 5 though because from the very first day, I was already exhausted.

Here are some tips that I recommend for a smooth transition from EBS 4 to EBS 5 and if you follow some of this advice, I guarantee you will be more prepared than a lot of students starting EBS 5.

First: Take a deep breath. You did it. You passed EBS 4! But wait, before you take that deep breath, go ahead and email the school’s nurse and ask her if your immunizations are up to date or which titers and immunizations you NEED to get for the hospital rotations here on the island and for Maine. If you’re reading this and are on campus, don’t even email her, just run up to her office, ask her to look at your file too see which vaccines, titers, and boosters you ALREADY have. In my experience, she’s horrible with emails so it’s best to go up to her office to ask.

The reason that I recommend taking care of this now BEFORE the break, while you are still on the island is because if you need a vaccine or booster and it is available on the island, it is a lot cheaper to go ahead and get that taken care of on the island than back home.

Okay, now that you already went and asked her or emailed her, you can proceed reading this post.

Over the break, get all of your vaccines that you need and titers, get your updated immunization records from your doctor, and bring these papers with you on the very first day of classes.

On that first day of classes, as soon as you get to campus, go upstairs and hand those files to the nurse. I’m not joking when I say go up there on the very first day as soon as you get to campus or as soon as the nurse gets there. The key here is that you want to be among the first 30 students to turn in your forms because you will be in the first group to rotate in Maine.

Why would you want to be in the first group when you get to Maine? BECAUSE would you rather be doing your preceptorship, ICM II class, CPR class, and getting all of that out of the way and then doing Kaplan alone and studying for STEP 1 during the second part of Maine semester OR would you rather do Kaplan, studying for step, and going back and forth to preceptorship?

My reasoning is that I would knock out preceptorship, ICM II, CPR class and anything extra so that during the second half of the Maine semester, all I am doing is Kaplan and studying for STEP. I want the second half of Maine to be dedicated only to STEP studying. Of course, when I get to Maine, I’ll be able to tell you guys what exactly what you should do. But for now, this is the best advice I can pass down.

I think this is about it for the transition between EBS 4 to EBS 5. EBS 5 is an intense semester and time is a huge issue. I’ll make another post about what I recommend you should study or how you can prepare for classes over the break.

Enjoy the break, get your things together for the semester and start with the mentality that in just 4 months, basic sciences will be over!

Email me with questions if you have any!

Study schedule for the week downloadable

I have another free downloadable for you guys! I’m old fashioned so I still like to write out my schedule on pen and paper.

I print one of these out every week and fill it out. I also have my schedule on google calendar, but with the printable, I can hang it on my wall in front of my desk or stick in my binder along with my notes.

Study Schedule

You can download this planner for free here: Weekly Schedule

Let me know what you guys think about this one (:

 

Weekly meal planner

Below is my custom weekly meal prep planner. I made this a while ago when I was bored and I use it for meal prep now. I have a bunch of these printed and I fill one out every Sunday to help me organize what I am going to eat that week.

It also helps me organize what groceries to get so that I stick to my budget rather than buy things I’m not going to eat. In the past I would just buy whatever groceries and then make what I can out of them to eat. A lot of times, I would end up throwing away stuff that went bad because I wasn’t really eating them and I hated doing that!!

Having all my meals laid out in front of me helps me narrow down exactly what I need to buy so I don’t overspend or waste food. It also helps me visualize how healthy or unhealthy I’m eating and it really takes the hassle out of thinking about what foods to eat that day.

It’s super helpful for block weeks when there is no time to do anything but study!

Weekly meal plan

If you want to try this, you can download for free here: Weekly meal plan

Let me know what you guys think (:

The Medical Tag

So! I’ve decided to do this medical tag to answer some questions you all might have. Thank you Doctorinspe for creating this tag and inspiring us medical students and new bloggers. I love Doctorinspe‘s blog. It highlights some important aspects of medicine that we must all consider like mental health and the importance of blood donations. Thanks again Doctorinspe!

Who are you and where do you study?
My name is Alli. I am a 2nd year medical student and I attend medical school in the beautiful West Indies!

When did you start studying medicine or premed courses?
I have wanted to become a physician for as long as I can remember so it has always been the goal for me. I started my premed classes in undergrad and took two years after undergrad to complete those courses in a postbacc program.

What made you choose the medical field?
I chose medicine/medical field because I found that it was the best way for me to give back while still receiving gratification in return. Also, coming from a developing nation has always played a HUGE role in my decision to pursue medicine. I have a passion to serve underrepresented populations, especially seeing as how I come from one.  I feel that medicine is the best way for me to contribute back to my home the best way I possibly can!

I’ve shadowed a variety of physicians and volunteered in different hospitals/hospital departments throughout high school and undergrad. There wasn’t a single day where I didn’t see myself working there as a physician.

How did you come up with your blog name/username?
Coming up with my blog name was probably the hardest thing I have ever done LOL I brainstormed so much. I wanted something to connect back to where I was from and to showcase my identity. As Sudanese people, we refer to ourselves as “children of the Nile” because the Nile River runs right through our country. When I finally came up with “Nile Child” and saw that the domain was available, I definitely had to stick with it.

How would you describe your blog?
At this stage, I’m not sure exactly how to describe my blog. It’s both an outlet for me and an advice source for anyone seeking advice. It’s without a doubt geared for pre-meds or med students. I want it to be a source of inspiration for students.

What’s your favorite quote?
I have a lot of favorite quotes but my favorite one lately is: “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher” by Oprah Winfrey. I really like this quote because I believe that every goal driven person should not waste his or her time with people who are bringing them down, especially not in medical school. It is stressful as it is. There is NO TIME for drama.

Best memory in medical school?
My favorite memory in medical school so far is when I attended a volunteer event with the Muslim Student Association of my university. We went to an orphanage where we spent time with the children and had dinner with them. This was the first time I had ever been to a children’s home. It definitely opened my eyes. Sometimes we don’t realize how lucky and blessed we are. Those kids had hardly anything but they were still smiling and laughing.

What’s one course you struggled with?
oh. em. gee. Organic chem was the worst for me in undergrad SMH! I still don’t understand it. SO GLAD IT’S OVER. In med school, Neuroscience was a struggle as well. All of those tracts and such confused me and took me SO LONG to learn but once I was able to get it, I got it!

What’s your favorite book?
hmmm….this is a hard one. Can Shakespeare plays count? “Taming of the Shrew” is probably my favorite one but I like a bunch of them. The Alchemist is another book that I like. Thanks J for forcing me to read that book because turns out I really like it.

What do you do in your free time?
What free time? LOL After block exams I usually clean and get my life together to prepare for the next block which starts the next day LOL. I also like to catch up on shows on Netflix, bake/cook.

What do you want to major or specialize in?
I’m not sure exactly what I want to specialize in just yet but stay tuned. Once I get to clinical rotations, I think I will have a better idea of which type of medicine I’d like to practice. I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician though (:

Who do you look up to?
I look up to a lot of people. For instance, Oprah Winfrey. Who doesn’t look up to Oprah though? I look up to my mentor who has guided me through life since I was 10 years old. I owe her the world. She embodies everything I want to be! I also look up to my parents who have worked and continue to work so hard so that I can succeed. Writing this, I realize how incredibly blessed I am to have these people.

How do you study (productively)?
Flashcards! Flashcards! Flashcards! and rewriting notes in different colors. I believe in active learning as well so sometimes I’ll talk to myself while reading my notes out loud. Medical school teaches you how to study. The one thing I’ve learned about studying during my time in basic sciences is that repetition is the best way to succeed.

How do you stay motivated in medical school?
A friend of mine asked me this recently. I have a huge fear of failure so I honestly, that motivates me. I’ve worked so hard to become a physician and I’ve gotten this far. Failing is not an option. I also look at my life and see where I am now and where I want to be. This motivates me a lot because I don’t want to be stuck in my current situation.

What are your best tips for future medical students?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or that you are not cut out to become a doctor. You can and you will. With this being said, you have to work hard. It’s definitely not easy. There are times where we feel like giving up but thinking of the end goal helps us out. Take it one day at a time. Another tip that I think is important is working on discipline. It’s easy to get distracted but having discipline will keep you focused.

I hope this answers some of you all’s questions. If you have any more questions or need advice, don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment (: