Finally sent in my 23andMe!

I FINALLY have turned in my 23andMe Kit! I have had the kit for MONTHS and forgotten about it every day. Terrible, I know. I’m not sure who is more excited for the results though, me or my brother and his friends. Somehow, they believe that my ancestry results will reflect theirs because we are all Sudanese! Totally inaccurate belief by the way lol

I have been waiting to write this post for so long! I can’t remember which day I sent it in exactly but I just got the email that they received my kit as so I am excited to know what my DNA is composed of!

Basically, 23andMe is a company that takes your DNA and breaks it down to analyze certain features about you. Our DNA is what makes us who we are. In fact, the “23” in the name is based on the fact that each and every one of us has 23 chromosomes that come from our mom and 23 chromosomes that come from our dads. Chromosomes are what contain our genetic make-up or DNA.

23andMe takes that DNA  and is able to determine where you came from based on where your ancestors came from. They are also able to tell you which type of diseases you are a carrier for or at risk of developing. Another feature that 23andMe offers is the opportunity for people to connect with relatives.

I’m not sure which of these features, I’m more excited for!

Anyways, let me tell you guys about when I first heard about 23andMe. I first heard about it back in 2010 or 2011 when I was sitting in one of medical anthropology classes. I don’t even remember what the topic was that made my professor talk about this but all I know is that afterwards, I went home and looked it up and had my eye on ordering a kit ever since.

I was heartbroken at the time because I couldn’t afford it being a college student and all, so I never bought it. Also, I think the price for the kit was much more expensive than it is now. I could be wrong though! I’ve always, always, ALWAYS had it in my mind to purchase a kit but I was never able to.

Then, one day, I was watching a YouTube video and the YouTuber talked about how if you are Sudanese and all 4 of your grandparents are Sudanese, you could contact them and get a free kit or something (this offer is expired now). She couldn’t have told me twice. I emailed them that second and fast forward to months later, I get my kit.

Lesson learned from this experience: Sometimes, years of patience gets you free things LOL

When the box came in the mail, I was too excited! Much to my surprise, there were only a few things in there. The box itself was really small (much smaller than I expected) and the kit basically contains a test tube that you spit in (for the DNA) and the bio-hazard and a little information packet with instructions.

I love how pretty this box is with all the colors by the way.

Here is what you will find inside:

This kit that I received is for the African Genetics Project which hopefully means I am going to get back a lot of data. This project seeks to gain better understanding of genetic similarities and differences between people in the different regions of Africa. I love that I can contribute to a research!!

When I got the kit, I opened the box carefully because you actually mail back that same box when you send in the sample. Before you spit in the tube, you have to register it online using the number on the test tube. Also, you have to wait 30 minutes after you eat before you spit in the test tube.

I think it’s better to just spit in the tube right after you wake up. I kept forgetting to do this, which is probably another reason it has taken me almost forever to send in my box!!

Below, you can see that I’ve already spit in the test tube and placed it in the bio-hazard bag and sealed it. The bag is really tiny. The picture makes it look big.

After I placed the test tube inside the bio-hazard bag, I then placed it inside of the box. To secure the test tube inside the box, you have to seal the box before mailing.

I believe the lab where your sample will go depends on where you live. For example, if you live in New York, it will probably go to some lab in NY. It doesn’t really make sense for your sample to travel all the way down to North Carolina to be analyzed….Unless, your sample really wanted to come down to NC for some Bojangles and sweet tea LOL

What I loved the most about this process was how easy and uncomplicated it was. The directions were so clear and so convenient. I’m a type of person who is always asking questions and I’m easily confused so for me to not ask any questions is miraculous!

23andMe is also great in that they send you emails with constant updates about what’s happening with your DNA and they will keep sending emails. It’s like they know I’m super excited to get my results! Stay tuned to read about my results!

To stay updated on what’s happening, make sure to subscribe to my blog via email! You can also follow me on Instagram!

Advertisements

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!

To stay updated on what’s happening, make sure to subscribe to my blog via email! You can also follow me on Instagram!

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.

img_3184.jpg

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 (:

To stay updated on what’s happening, make sure to subscribe to my blog via email! You can also follow me on Instagram!

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 (: