Sunday, July 27, 2014

Anonymous said: How old are you? Do you think it matters how old you are in medical school? I'll be 28 going on 29 when I graduate

Hey friend, I’m 24. I will most like be 27 when entering med school, assuming I play my cards right (aka work really hard). I’m not too concerned about age… I’ll turn 27 anyway, right? And from what I can tell, med students are pretty varied in age anyway. Most universities have a place online where you can see the demographics of the incoming med school class- you should take a look. You may be surprised with what you find. Thanks for the question, I hope my answer helps!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Anonymous said: do you ever doubt yourself and don't feel like you have what it takes to make it through med school?

Hey friend! Honestly, the answer here is no! But that’s probably because I’m pretty far from med school at this point. I am taking my first two undergrad labs in fall and I’m a bit nervous about that- I haven’t taken a lab in 7 years! At the end of the day, I believe in “you reap what you sow,” so I will do my best and see what happens.

If you want a better perspective from inside med school, I would suggest @aspiringdocs or @ladykaymd. Good luck!

Monday, July 21, 2014

(Source: alevelstudent)

Anonymous said: What system do you think is better regarding getting into medical school? A. 50/50, which is based on the separation of males and females. So let's say 50 spots for males and 50 for females. Males and females compete against each other. In this if a female has a 3.5 GPA, she might not get in, while a male with a 2.7 GPA can easily get accepted. B. All equal. Males and females compete on 100 spots equally. Since adapting the second system, male student numbers have decreased significantly.



My ONLY opinion on med school admissions is this: 

Take the best applicants. Take the BEST applicants. Take the BEST applicants regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, sexuality, etc. Such things don’t matter when considering who merits a position. Medical schools should simply be considering which students are academically capable of managing the rigorous course load. They should consider which students exemplify the values they would like to see their doctors exhibit. 


Easy for an upper middle class white person to say.

Now, i don’t know exactly what you mean by “best applicant” but if you mean what would commonly be understood as the high GPA earning student with the good to awesome MCAT score and tons of volunteer hours including that life-changing trip to Africa, then I’m going to go ahead and offer you a few seats for you and your privilege.

It’s hard to be the “BEST APPLICANT” when you’ve had to work your way through high school to help support your family and you paid for college yourself. It’s hard to be the “BEST APPLICANT” when you don’t get enough to eat, when your water is sometimes turned off, when you witness daily violence and oppression in your neighborhood. It’s hard to be the “BEST APPLICANT” when the high school you are zoned to is underfunded and teachers leave every single year. It’s hard to be the “BEST APPLICANT” when you finally get into college you realize how little they taught you in high school. It’s hard to be the “BEST APPLICANT” when you work the graveyard shift and spend time volunteering and doing school work between raising a family and paying bills. It’s hard to be the “BEST APPLICANT” when you experience daily racist/classist microaggressions, street harassment, and cop harassment.

Here take a look at these heart warming statistics:

You’ll notice that in 2008 over 70% of physicians are white and over 70% of physicians are male.


Is there a reason that physicians are predominantly white males and middle or upper class? YES

Is it because POC and poor people would not be good doctors? NO

Should the hardships that an applicant has had to overcome be taken into consideration and outweigh low grades and MCAT scores? Absolutely.

The thought that academic merit should be rewarded above all else — while still considering that the hardships a person endures as a limiting factor of academic success — is something a previous newspaper editor of mine refused to publish. I don’t see why this is such an outrageous idea and neither does the reblogger.

(At the same time, I also don’t see why the reblogger felt warranted in his or her response. Lady Kay said those best capable of handling the rigorous course load should be chosen. If you have to handle a rigorous course load and the burdens of lower socioeconomic status at the same time, I don’t see why that wouldn’t be a measure of your ability to deal with medical school. In medical school, you’re only a full time student who accepts the fact that you will have a shit ton of loans. In this sense, the playing field is considerably leveled come medical school to where these socioeconomic burdens have far less of an effect on academic performance. Lady Kay never said only high MCAT scores and GPA were indicative of your ability to withstand the rigor of medical school.)

But this is worth thinking about…

It would be hard to argue, as Lady Kay prescribes, that we shouldn’t admit applicants partly on the basis of the degree to which the applicant exemplifies and embodies the values we want to guide medicine. What should these values be? Compassion, kindness, humanism, etc. Yes, of course. What is hard to argue, however, is how ADCOMS could ensure that the chosen applicants embody those values. One can volunteer without giving a shit about people. One can pretend to care about other people for an interview, in front of professors you choose to write an LOR, etc. Boxes showing fake values can be fervently checked. Could admitting less privileged minorities ensure some of these values? Because they have “been in the shoes of” many of their patients, would that make them more compassionate? I’d like to see the data.

Another thought: When we privilege disadvantaged minorities in any application assessment process, I worry that we don’t know the degree to which we should be lenient on grades in proportion to disadvantages. The racial and gender percent quotas that medical schools aim for in their matriculating classes is doubtful to be led by informed data and studies on this question. Also consider the reverse kind of discrimination: Discrimination against those who have had so much privilege that their accomplishments are seen as null. I worry that we might be making the wrong calculations in respect to how much accomplishments should be discounted in accordance to privilege.

I’m someone who grew up with a high household income, but who in truth lived off the earnings of a part time school nurse. I’m also someone who is considered by the government to currently live below the poverty line, though my parent’s household income remains just as high. I am truly, truly curious to know how I will be classified by ADCOM’s in their privileged/disadvantaged schema.

Great response from philosonista. I personally think there is a difference between setting a quota for “blank percentage of demographic A” and picking the people who have demonstrated through their schooling and personal life that they could handle the rigors of med school. If that personal life includes crazy multi thousand dollar medical mission trips around the world- awesome! That must have been a great experience. If that personal life means staying above your academics while working and dealing with a system inherently against you, then that’s at least equal (if not greater than) the aforementioned experience. Everything I have read about medical school admissions says they look at the whole person. Quotas don’t allow you to do that.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
I wasn’t motivated to do my homework today. Seriously, I wanted nothing more than to roll over, close my eyes, and spend the rest of my day cuddling with the cats. But what did I do? I got up anyway. It sucked, but my homework is done and I just took a baby step closer to my goals. If you treat  every, little thing  like your dream depends on it, it’s crazy how much you can get done. Because you know what?  IT ALL MATTERS.  The little voice in your head telling you to blow it off is lying. Don’t listen.

I wasn’t motivated to do my homework today. Seriously, I wanted nothing more than to roll over, close my eyes, and spend the rest of my day cuddling with the cats. But what did I do? I got up anyway. It sucked, but my homework is done and I just took a baby step closer to my goals. If you treat every, little thing like your dream depends on it, it’s crazy how much you can get done. Because you know what? IT ALL MATTERS. The little voice in your head telling you to blow it off is lying. Don’t listen.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Anonymous said: are you only taking the pre-requisites needed for med school or more than that?

Hi, anon! I am pursuing a degree in Biology. My university requires me to get a minor in chemistry with the degree. We don’t have a “premed” curriculum per se, but eventually I can pick a biology “track”. I’m not sure what I’m going to pick, but it definitely won’t be the plant track. 

Thanks for the ask! 

Anonymous said: Are the online courses science pre requisites? If so, how many sciences are you taking at the same time? Cause I don't think my school offers online science courses :( thank you so much for your encouragement! I always feel like I'm the only one feeling like an old woman because I'm going to med school later than most. I wish I had support from my employer! But I'm nervous to tell my co workers. I don't want them to see me as a "traitor" or something for not pursuing my NP instead

Hi! I am so sorry - it seems as though Tumblr doesn’t notify me of these. 

I will not be taking any premed pre-reqs online. The classes I’ve taken are either classes on my university’s mandatory list for graduation or classes that will get me to a pre-req. Ex: right now I am in trig, which I took so I can take calculus and physics in the spring (both premed prereqs). I have heard mixed thoughts on how med school admissions feels about online class prereqs and figure I shouldn’t risk it. 

As for your coworkers, if they really think you’re a traitor, they’re jerks and you don’t need them!

Definitely don’t let them get in the way of pursuing your dreams. Best of luck! 

Cheat sheets!

Ok guys, I am a visual learner. I like to visualize things as I do it, I do better reading a book than sitting in a lecture, and colors make me happy. So I survive (and excel) in my online math classes by making cheat sheets! I’m currently in Trigonometry and these are the ones I use most frequently. 

First: A basic unit circle: 

I use this to visualize reference angles in particular. Which of course, can’t be calculated without: 

Trigonometric Functions

This tends to be my go to for everything at this point, because all of these identities and equations are really just referring back to this point. I actually just keep it open as I do problems. For angles in different quadrants, I just figure out the reference angle using the unit circle cheat sheet, find its calculation, and then check my handy dandy quadrant map to see if its positive or negative. By the way - can I just mention that my new sheets look like a coloring book? 

Here’s a close-up of the quadrant map: 

The great thing about my cheat sheets is that while I use them when doing homework, I remember them later by thinking back to the colors and the layout. When I want to make sure I remember, I also draw it from memory until it’s engrained in there. 

By the way, I don’t have the best handwriting and sometimes I mess up and scratch things out (see cot(90) on trig functions), but I don’t re-do the whole thing unless it’s really bad. And I mean really really bad. Doing problems is a much better use of my time than perfecting cheat sheets. 

How do you guys study math?

Thursday, July 10, 2014
STUDY TIME! Trig test in the am. BRING IT ON!!

STUDY TIME! Trig test in the am. BRING IT ON!!