Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Medical School Stupid

I am an Idiot.

I should stop apologizing. I promised you my faithful readers (Mom) that I would do this thing at least once a week to let the general public know how an over-caffeinated, over-studied and overly-tired normal human being traverses medical school and becomes a doctor, you know, the iconic professionals who attain the stigma of being within the civil elite.

-Elite in terms of commanding respect within their community and society for ascertaining a knowledge few possess the drive to sit through, assimilate and apply-

I told you last that we had finished our Introduction to Osteopathic medicine course (7 weeks) and were 2 weeks into our first legitimate system ; Musculoskeletal.

It's no surprise to tell you that MSK system is important. The number one complaint for seeing a primary care physician (PCP) in this country is low back pain, followed by shoulder pain as a close #2. The word on campus was that although fundamentals shocked us into submission as to what medical school was all about, MSK would seem easy by comparison.

Look at what we had to go by:
Anatomy- we had dissected the thorax, back and abdomen

That left head/neck (reserved for neuro) and the upper and lower extremity. There are no parasympathetics going to the extremities and the structures (muscles, arteries and nerves) are all relatively large and bilateral. Piece of cake, right?


The hand and foot are some of the most fascinating yet complex anatomical structures you will ever have to dissect. I swear to whatever God you want me to, I never cared so much about a few millimeters in my life (Second to Brett Hull's foot IN THE CREASE). The structures are packed in so tightly you have such a small window for error that most of us on our first try completely severed the superficial tendons on the anterior wrist. It was fascinating to see the amount of structures (10 to be exact) literally jump out of the carpal tunnel. But still, hard as hell to dissect through. The forearm ain't no picnic neither. I swear i still cannot distinguish between extensor carpi radialis brevis and longus. And I loathe the brachioradialis muscle, it seriously needs to become absent in 100% of the cadaver population. I don't care what it's function is, pick one compartment, arm or forearm and stay there.

As much anger I have stored up regarding the hand and upper extremity, do not get me started on the foot. It's comparable to your, your girlfriends, your mother's and aunts purses put together. But 1/7th the size as current purse sizes go. There are so, so many structures of clinical importance within the foot I have a new love for podiatrists. If I go into primary care and foot injury comes through the door, the patient will be immediately TURFed to podiatry, regardless of injury. The plantar aponeurosis is a bitch to cut through, and immediately deep to it are tendons, muscles, nerves and blood vessels which I refuse to name...

Okay, I am angry. Yet, I am to blame.

I tricked myself into the hype that MSK was going to be a pushover, where i could study at a relatively comfy pace (~4hr/night) and not on weekends and still expect to do well on exams. Lesson learned. I got bit in the ass a bit. I didn't do poorly by any means and still was above the class average, but I have my own goals that I wish to adhere to at all costs and I let myself down.

Trust me, Nothing feels as bad as when you let yourself down. So never do it*

I've been fortunate in that I don't have many moments that I can readily recall where the only person to blame for my failure was myself. I usually rise above all those obstacles and do well. Is there room for improvement? Of course, no one is perfect, but I have goals in and out of class. I want to accomplish them and as long as I can accomplish them, look back and smile at a job well done, I'll be fine.

(I know I'm all over the board with my thoughts tonite, but it will have to do.)

There are a few things in which I wish to advise anyone pursuing and career. Mine pertain to medicine but I'm sure you c extrapolate these principles to fit any goal:
- Write your personal statement well, be funny, be intriguing, be yourself, and don't be a tool.
Have everyone who you are close with read it and comment on it, they truly know you and see you as you are, as the admissions committee (adcom) will, take their advice.

-Then write another personal statement for your eyes only. Dig deep and truly lay out what you wish to accomplish, what you really desire, how you wish to be seen in the community as a physician and the like. Leave nothing unturned. It can be a paragraph or a novel. Keep it with you, edit it throughout your travels, and reflect on it when you get overwhelmed with obstacles on your path (aka studies). Trust me, you'll once again realize why you are traveling down your path in the first place.

Back to this thing...

We are now into neurology. It's a bitch. It's the hardest thing I believe I will ever study. Sure, fundamentals was 7 weeks, neuro is 4 months long! I've told you before that the goal of medical school, well mine at least, is to understand the concepts behind the facts in each system so I can become an amazing physician. That's a view I still hold. Medical school is drinking from a fire hose, you can;t possibly assimilate every bit of information into your pre-frontal cortex, but you need to know a dabbling of everything. There are times when certain courses require you to memorize, and memorizing sucks. Other times, it will require mastering complex concepts with so many twists and turns that the pathway you draw looks like nothing more than a botched spin-art (remember that toy?) painting. Well, neuro is both of those. Neuro require memorization of not only structures in the CNS, but cranial nerves, (their nuclei, function, modality and submodality) spinal cord tracts, selected sulci and gyri and numerous other bold-faced words on the course syllabus. Our first test in in 5 days and I firmly believe those who know only 40% of the material will get honors.

It's that hard.

Stress, more comically how we handle stress, is one of the major tools in weeding out the prepared and confident students from those who seriously require a psyche checkup. I am in the middle somewhere leaning sane, but the feeling of anxiety that grips each and every one of us is very overwhelming. Right now, I'd feel better acting out "The Full Monty" at my high school reunion, at then my senior talent show. But what can you do? I keep pushing forward, you'll have to pull my Starbucks cup and highlighter from my cold, dead hands.

December 8th, 2008 at 3:01pm will feel so sweet.

Whoop Whoop,


*-Take home point

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Huzzah indeed my dear readers...

2 weeks ago we at NYCOM finished our introduction course, known as fundamentals. It sure was a hell of a way to start off our medical school careers but I feel I am better prepped and primed for the true rigors of the many courses ahead of me the next year and a half.

Fundamentals was a blitzkrieg of information. I was in anatomy lab the other day and the department chair Dr. Hill walked up and asked us to trace the blood supply from the cephalic vein back to the heart. Now, earlier in the year, my only knowledge of the cephalic vein was that it was located by the deltoid muscle and looked purple in our cadaver "Kat Von Dee" ( she has 3 tattoos including a tramp stamp), and white the the cadaver on the table adjacent to us. Fast forward 5 weeks ahead and I can regurgitate that it would track to the axillary v. then to the subclavian v. to the left or right brachiocephalic trunk depending on which side you were tracing the arm from and finally to the superior vena cava.

Yes, I am scared too...

Quite possibly the best part of finishing fundamentals was the SGA sponsored party called osteoblast! Yes the name is corny, but we're nerds, what do you expect? I wrote earlier of the first med school bender, in which we partied after our first exam like no other to the extent the police showed up. Yet looking at all of our ID's, realized our average ages is 24, simply told us to take it indoors and promptly left to wherever cops at 230am go.

This party was much better. It took place at a local Mexican restaurant. Well, They cleared away all the tables to make it seem like it was nothing more than a bar and a dance floor. The best way to describe the night was 2 hours of drinking followed by two hours of pairing up on the dance floor with whomever and having a "good" time. I knew my night was getting off to a good start when the first sentence uttered in my direction was

"Jack and Coke's, $2.00"

Well this was fantastic. I was also offered a jagerbomb (my new haircut anyone) immediately as I entered as well. Needless to say the latter half of the night is still quite blurry most of the next afternoon was spent detagging photos on facebook. Did I do anything unprofessional? Hopefully not. Did some of my classmates? Woefully so. But truthfully, what else was expected. We are 7 weeks in to medical school which ultimately decides our careers, we still don't know 7/8ths of our class, and we've been repressed because no one should be studying on a Saturday from 9am to 10pm. I'm not making excuses but this party was needed.

After all the drinking an dancing, its safe to say that she will be trouble.

After fundamentals, we begin legitimate medical school. I'm not saying fundamentals wasn't legit but the grades we received are not counted towards our class rank, so it was kinda like preseason albeit with a postseason emphasis.

NYCOM functions on a systems base curriculum. Right now we're in the musculoskeletal (MSK) system. What is nice about MSK is that lectures are not all day, we don't have anatomy twice a week and we are usually done by 3pm, not 5pm. In fundamentals, we dissected the thorax, back and abdominal regions. Sounds like we're done right?


MSK delves into the upper and lower limbs. Which are not as convoluted as say the abdominal viscera, yet they contain more muscles/nerves/arteries and veins with the most confusing names ever. MSK is a 6 week course in which we have two written exams, two OMT exams, and one anatomy exam (shit). The first three weeks focus on the upper arm (damn you Brachial Plexus!) with the latter three on the lower limbs. We are also introduced to more challenging courses in lecture, notably rheumatology. It's very interesting and it is peaking my interest in terms of a possibly specialty.

Living Arrangements during your first year

Told you I'd get around to commenting on this topic.

"Live simply so that you can simply Live"

That's probably the best advice you can take when looking for apartments/roommates for living during your years in medical school.

Living in medical school depends most importantly on how much you wish to spend, but also your study habits, your life outside school, whatever you do to relax, and how you study.

When I choose my house, I did it with the knowledge that my twin brother (deserter!) was coming to school with me. Unfortunately as previously stated, he accepted an offer to go to Tufts Med and hasn't looked back. Its fine though, really, now we can corner the market on western philosophies of medicine (well mainstream at least). I am a social creature, not in terms of i must attend every social function but that I like to be around people when I can. I cannot live on my own. I just couldn't, I enjoy company and living alone would drive me crazy.

It's a major factor. Are you willing to live in a 2 family home occupying a single floor (that's me!) or do you want your own apartment? What amenities matter to you? (I prefer washer/dryer at least on location and a dishwasher) How far do you want to live from school? How many people do you want to live with?

All questions which need to be answered by you. The apartments are usually more expensive, at least here in good old Nassau county (the drivers here are on meth), and houses are cheaper. I pay $500/mo plus utilities, which is outrageously good for this area. I know if I went to UNECOM I would be in a penthouse for that much but the first rule of real estate is Location Location Location. As I mentioned, I needed to live with people, which helps bring down the rent and utilities as well.

Study Habits.
You are in medical school to learn, no doubt you know that. so how you study and where is very important. If you prefer to stay on campus a house with many people would suffice. If you prefer to control your learning atmosphere, living alone would be the best option for you. You know how you learn best. Make the best choice based on you.

I found my roommates on facebook. Its quite the social tool. Your school may set up some kind of web-board or equivalent to notify incoming students of properties/roommates wanted. This can be a good resource too. I decided that getting roommates and housing out the way early was the best way for me. The pros of this move is that finding housing early, say June, crosses a big item off the 'ole "To Do" list. The cons include a lease starting early. I found that many residences were not completely full even as classes started. So if you are a single, you can almost have the pick of the litter as many people will be begging for a roommate to offset cost. I wouldn't recommend traversing this route but it is an option.

You need a life outside medical school. Whether it be a significant other, sports, exercise, paintball or whatever, if you concentrate solely on your studies, I GUARANTEE you will be burned out halfway through first year. Remember, you're drinking from a fire hose, sometimes you need to come up for air. Is your place near a gym, the supermarket? Fuel costs are still high so take into account what matters most to you.

Keep the questions coming!

Till next time,

Whoop Whoop


Buffalo Sabres
3-0-0, 6pts 12/3 (GF/GA)
2nd in division
4th in conference

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The First Bender

Evening all!

Sorry again for not posting weekly, our fundamentals course is winding down and this past Monday we had our first double exam day. Both a written exam and our inaugural anatomy exam. So my life was a mess the week prior and that's my excuse, for the previous weeks, well I am very lazy in general.

First and foremost, I am ecstatic that people have left some feedback for me. More importantly, I am honored that you found this little slice of the world wide web and that you are actually asking questions of me. Marvelous! I only hope we gave our professors this much attention. Let me say my $0.02 and then I will address your questions.

The first post-anatomy exam party in medical school may be the single most bad ass and biggest bender of your life. Not going to lie, I was looking forward to last Monday at 2:30pm like the first Friday of freshman year back at college. All giddy and excited, I couldn't;t be happier leaving the anatomy lab that afternoon. What made it sweeter was the successful completion of the written exam earlier in the morning. I say successful as I finished it without my brain seizing up and me staring blankly at the clock for two hours. I do not know my grade yet and at this point could care less (I will care once I get my grade though!). At my school, in this fundamentals course, tests are usually administered every two weeks with a quiz in between. For this exam however, we had three weeks worth of material to cover. Just to give you some quick stats, the test was 100 questions representing 54 hours of lecture. That makes it about 1.2 questions/lecture. To give you a sampling of the topics covered: Anatomy-thorax and ventilation, mediastinum, heart, abdominal viscera of the foregut/midgut/hindgut with blood supply and innervation's, Histology- epithelium, connective tissue, bone and cartilage, bone formation, neural tissue (neurons and such), muscle, Molecular/Cell bio- organelles, bulk transport I and II, signal transduction I and II, clinical techniques (southern blot, PCR etc.), genetics (Dr. K would be proud of me there), Transcription/Translation, plus some radiology, 6 hours of epidemiology, doctor-patient relations and other goodies.

OK, I admit that wasn't a sampling. I'm not trying to scare anyone, just to illustrate a point about medical school. Medical school is a marathon, not a sprint. You are trying to drink from a fire hose, its important to know details, but in my opinion, much more important to understand the concepts.

After this fun exam, it was on to our first anatomy exam. Now supposedly, it's anatomy which separates the top 10% of the class from the rest, the men from the boys, the women from the girls. I find it extremely important because anatomy is the foundation of medicine. Remember, structure influences function, you must know how the body is put together to treat any malady. Our exam was forty (40) questions based on the back and thorax region. This incorporates the vertebrae, blood supply and innervation of all the muscles too. Again, a waterfall of information, but you can handle it, trust me. If I can do it, so can you. We spend exactly one minute on each question in the lab, then exit the lab and head straight to the bar.

I'm not advocating binge drinking here, it's true I have done some drinking, but never to the point of blacking out/vomiting, its just not fun when anyone gets to that point. I'd much rater drink maybe 4 beers amidst a company of friends and talk about anything beside school. Its much more fun that way. However, when you introduce alcohol to a bunch of med-students post test with no tolerance for alcohol, hilarity ensues. Details are a little fuzzy, but I've never laughed harder in my life. Good times had by mostly all. Proceed to facebook if you wish to see the photographic proof.

Reader Submitted questions:

With your OMM frustrations, are you happy to have gone to osteopathic school?
- I am very pleased with my choice of an Osteopathic medical school. I can't believe I am using this reference to explain it, but in one of the Harry Potter movies, the school advocates teaching theory behind magic instead of actually allowing the students to practice. I feel the same way. I've seen OMM done but qualified professionals and it looks like so much fun to lay your hands on someone (always in a professional manner) and treat a musculoskeletal problem without having to resort to the prescription pad. But these professionals have years of training underneath them, and I am starting out. You need to know the basics before you can practice. What's nice is that we are practicing along with learning the theory behind it. So we are developing or tactile senses. I guess I am just a little impatient.

Are you finding it hard to adjust to the rigors of school and the study schedule?
-Initially I was wary of my study habits. They were more fine tuned towards collegiate learning and not professional learning. The best way to gauge your studying skills is to see how you test on the subject material. If you can recall the information then you are doing just fine. Turns out my study habits are fine. If you want to look at my typical day:
Wake- 700am
Class/Lab- 8 or 9am till 5 pm
Home to eat/relax - 5-7pm
Library to study - 7-1030 or 11
Bed around midnight

My study habits are pretty run of the mill. Our school streams all the lectures for us. Every night I re stream that days lectures and copy what I deem important into that particular class's notebook. I don't know why I re-write everything, its time consuming but it helps me retain the information so I'll stick with it. Then I study my version of the notes for exams/quizzes and memorize what I see fit.

Did you interview at any other Doctor of Osteopathic schools? Can you comment on them? Do you like your school?
-I interviewed at both UNECOM and PCOM. I was accepted to UNECOM and waitlisted at PCOM. My first choice as PCOM overall but things just didn't work out as I had hoped. But I do feel I made a good decision to come to NYCOM. The students here are top notch, the faculty are amazing and I haven't heard anything bad about the clinical sites. I also was told by many doctors that NYCOM students are very well trained and really know their stuff. So I really have no regrets about my choice. UNECOM was very nice. It's setting is surreal and the cost of living in that area is minuscule compared to Nassau county on Long Island. The facilities are top of the line and although I couldn't see the anatomy lab, I can only speculate at its beauty. My main reason for not attending were the clinical rotations. I am currently interested in emergency medicine and I felt I could get a much better exposure in NYC than Maine. PCOM, in my opinion, is the best DO school in the country. The faculty are amazing there and their rotations are also spectacular. I pretty much judged every other DO school against PCOM. But I didn't get in, so how good could it possibly be! (i kid).

Keep the questions coming! I hope to tackle 1st year living in the near future. I hope this helped you who asked.

'til next time

Whoop Whoop


Monday, September 8, 2008

Dimming the Limelight

3 weeks in and life is tough...No shit right?

Its amazing the amount of material that can be crammed into one's head in three weeks. I know the heart like the posterior side of my hand and am not too back in the thorax either. Regardless, this place has a way of making the most mundane and ill-prepared students jump right into line with the rest of the medical community. I am one of those students. Sure I made my way to this place but I am no means an excellent student. Case and point, I'm writing this post in lecture right now. Before you judge, its an epidemiology lecture for 2 hours and 248 ppt slides. Why would I pay attention?

Now I must apologize to you, oh faithful readers, for I promised a new post each week. Well, three weeks in and I'm still trying to find a groove. I can lay out my study schedule for you but you may run for your lives as to how little of a life I lead. Its okay, I signed up for this after all.

My school is unique, for the first 8 weeks we undergo a class called Introduction to Osteopathic medicine. It's called fundamentals by us and its the worst 8 weeks of your life. You bounce around from biochem to global health not to mention stopping off at transcription and translation, anatomy/embryology and physiology. It's the most convoluted train of information one can undertake. But I am learning.

Anatomy lab is no picnic either, but the system here works and I have been blessed with a great group who in amongst ourselves are not gunners and just wish to learn, not sabotage others in hopes for a higher class rank. The coolest thing is that our cadaver has a tramp stamp, yes a tattoo on the lower back on the midline, and she is quite young. Its nice from a learning perspective as we can see the musculature very easily and there is little fat to strip away. The anatomy prof's are really low key and will go head over heels to help you if you ask.

OMM is kind of a toss up right now. I understand the theory behind it and really do not need it to be drilled in my head over and over again. I mean, seriously, we choose this curriculum in part due to OMM, why wouldn't we read up on that? One professor I'm sure is a pimp on weekends. The practicality and learning the techniques are of great interest to me and I really enjoy learning about them.

Lecture is lecture. Monday's we either have a quiz or a written exam. Then we go to lecture from 9-5. Very interesting indeed. I try to stay interested but some topics/presenters are so drole I cannot stay awake for the life of me. Lecture usually ends at 5 at which time I head home for dinner, then rush back to the library and study for about 4 more hours before hitting the sack and repeating the process all over again. Like I said, Paris Hilton has got nothing on me.

If you are looking a this blog as sort of a guide, that's great. I can only hope this helps to influence one opinion. Just for the record fella's, there are much more attractive girls in D.O. schools an M.D's.

Till Next time

Whoop Whoop Whoop


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Annnnnnnndddd Awayyyy We Go!

Its official,

I'm screwed.

It's medical school after all, who said the days would be easy and the nights festive? Certainly a business major. I've had one full day of classes and one day of orientation. Orientation is exactly what it sounds like....boring as all hell. Its kinda like college orientation, or high school orientation. Well, more like high school as in college there were parties to go to. Orientation in medical school is simply a parading of faculty remarking on how wonderful it is to welcome us to their prestigious school of medicine. We had an awesome keynote speaker, that man was awesome! Lived with Dr. King, took part in civil rights movements, a true vanguard for physicians back in the day. Regardless of how awe inspiring his life has been, it was marred by the fact that we can only be welcomed so many times. Was I glad to be there, you betcha! Was I nervous the night before, like nothing I've ever experienced, was it worth it? meh.

I'm not trying to put down my school, but orientation seemed to be an administrative clusterfuck in which we the students just sat back and perused for attractive members of the opposite sex. We mostly waited and waited. We were entertained only briefly by lunch and then the drone of financial aid presentations or presentations of academic honesty tried to drown out thoughts in our heads. I know they mean well, but you can't expect me not to be critical when financial aid describes the loans we should be getting after we're in medical school. Just seems a bit out of touch, wouldn't you say? I just love how administration selectively keeps information from you, such as if you wish to decrease the amount of money disbursed to you in loans, you should of called us yesterday.

I know they're busy. They have all of my money along with 297 of my classmates. Well, 296 as we are on long island and there has to be at least one bastard here with a trust fund. They are swamped with questions and give out ambiguous answers. what irked me the most were the questions being asked. I know my classmates are smart, hell, most of 'em are likely smarter than me, but read! You don't go to a book signing and ask the author what the book is about do you? If only a select few decided to read what literature they gave us we could of easily shaved at least 30 minutes off our day.

On a lighter note, I am glad to have socialized as much as I did before school started. Kids from where I reside seem to get along fine with each other and we make a darn dandy group. We all sit in the same area during lecture and when break time comes we all look to each other before venturing out into the social ocean that is the rest of our class. I will meet them all soon.

Oh, and bro....D.O. schools have wayyyy hotter chicks than M.D. school. Just thought you should know

Until Next time (anatomy tomorrow...eeek!)

Whoop Whoop


Monday, July 28, 2008

Low Tide

'Tis a sad day for this crustacean,

My brother who was accepted to the same school I was was offered a position at his school of choice this past week, which he accepted. For those of you who don;t know, applying to medical is quite similar to applying to college. You fill out an application (2 in the case of medical school), send in some money, interview, send in some money, receive a letter detailing how you fared for said interview and then have the option to send in more money or cry yourself to sleep. Being granted an interview for medical school is one of the greatest hurdles in the application process. By receiving a request for an interview your school of choice is telling you you have what it takes on paper to enter our halls and become a physician under our guidance. A very proud moment indeed. You then interview to show you are more than just words on an 8x11 piece of paper, but a person who shows zest for learning, compassion for humanity and a sense of humor. After the interview, the admissions committee (adcom) meets to discuss your overall application. This includes all the essays, demographic information and impressions you made at your interview. After they debate, then render a decision an snail mail it to you. *In the case of some schools, they don;t let you know at all...those bastards*. There are three possible options they render, rejection, wait listing, or an acceptance.

Everyone wants the acceptance, duh, its kinda why we applied to your school, but most of the time you will be wait listed. Never fear my humble readers, wait listing isn't all that bad. Some schools have an unwritten policy in which students who are wait listed for one year and don not matriculate are given acceptances next year if they choose to apply again. More on the application process later. However, if you choose to be wait listed you wait, grinding your teeth and biting your fingernails until either the academic year starts and you're out of luck, or they call. Oh the call, nothing like the call of the wild but it's still a glorious moment. In the case of my brother, he was accepted to my current school while currently wait listed at another school, Tufts School of Medicine in Boston. He received the call and after careful deliberation, seeing that he and his brother would run the show at NYCOM, he decided it would be in his best personal interest to attend Tufts.

Can I blame him? Sure! Should I? No.

He had to do what was best for his professional career. I do feel we are equally benefited in our educations but my selfishness cannot trump my brothers future. It's just not the way futures are made. Am I gonna miss him? Hell yeah, to have my best friend go to medical school with me would be a treat unlike anything else, but alas its not meant to be. Its true I will more likely receive a better education because I am in a better city (Go Yankees!) but I am sure we will be in constant dialogue helping each other out with many of the problems we will face in our medical educations. Beside, now I have an in to St. Patrick's Day in Boston, who is gonna complain about that?! I do wish him the best of luck and I will miss him but I have to work hard and study on my end so I won't have too much time to think about "what if...?"

Until Next Time

Whoop Whoop Whoop


Monday, July 21, 2008

2 Weeks Notice

Good day to you all! Zoidberg here at a very difficult time in his medical school career. In two weeks time I will move to school. My brother has been dreading this moment, for he loathes moving more than I loathed coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's death. I understand his point though, if I were to drop all my possessions in front of a starving Ethiopian child, he/she would mostly likely give me the finger and kick me right in the crotch. It's absurd the amount of stuff I have, moreover the amount of stuff my mother and sister recommend I acquire on top of all my crap (Metal wall art?, wtf mate!). I recently returned from a family vacation to cape cod. Not a bad time was had at all. It was a week of sun, incredible surf, great beer (delirium tremens <-- best beer in the world, magic hat summer variety pack and a Westmalle Trappist ale) and family fun. I would guess that our family is unique in the fact that us kids like, actually LIKE, going on vacation with our parents. Its time for us to kick back, simplify everything, and enjoy the beach. Before our vacation I resigned from working. Its true I loved my job working in endoscopy. I may have worked with he best nurses, doctors and staff anyone could. Yet, it was time for me to relax and kickback before I devote my life once again to textbooks, slide shows and Mozart flowing through my iPod headphones.

My major fear in these two weeks revolves around my study habits. I have been out of school for over a year now, counting senior year that's a little over 20 months without caring about academics and really "studying." I really do not have a plan to get back on track, and with two weeks to go this poses a great problem on my end. My strategy at this point is to devote at least 2.5 to 3 hours to sitting down, turning off all electronic devices (sans iPod) and reading. Doesn't matter what I read and that I switch media, just that I read. Now I am not a reader. What I mean is I do not read for pleasure, I read for work such as texts etc. This approach under my own volition has made me a slow reader as compared to my brother and sister. Will my strategy fail, we'll see after the first test. Right now I am not worried about it. Next post in two weeks when I move in.

Whoop, Whoop!


Monday, June 9, 2008

What to do, What to do

The Summer Before

The lame duck period, as I have come to call the summer before medical school, is really your last taste of freedom as an individual. Sure there are those 8 weeks between first and second year but most of that time is devoted to studying for Step 1 or the COMLEX, trying to earn that extra beer money and checking out hospitals for 3rd year and residencies. So really, that vacation comes down to two hurried weeks of friend and family interaction in which most of you will be bombarded with medical questions from your relatives. As for me, I have been working since June 2007 in my local hospital as an endoscopy technician. Endo-GI is a wonderful field if you can get past the idea of showing tubes up and down peoples orifices. Its procedural medicine at its finest. Without a doubt a well compensated field with one of our Doc's just bought his "fiancee" a 35K engagement ring and 90K wedding band (compensate much?). Regardless, I work side by side with the doctor/surgeon and a wonderful group of nurses who insist I pay them $50 and hour when I open my practice. In my situation, taking a year off and gaining more clinical experience was by far the best option while getting paid. I also did some scant volunteer work at a local free clinic and shadowed two D.O's. I would highly recommended taking a year off between undergrad and medical school as it gives you time to relax, connect with old friends, and most of all get paid and live some sort of a natural life. Most of the doc's I work with say if they did it again they would have taken a year off. I for one have become a beer aficionado of sorts, I have also gotten myself into some sort of shape (i'm orbish at the moment) and have picked up the game of hockey.

Most advice given for your last summer is to not touch anything to do with school and rather explore the world. If you can afford airline prices, I would suggest picking up a copy of Europe Through the Back Door and travel abroad. Nothing can cleanse your mind and spirit like gaining a new perspective on the world. I took this advice and caught up with two good college friends, one who lives in Honolulu and another in Nashville, TN. Other advice I can pass along is to chase down a hobby you never really had the time for (ie-RC planes, flying real planes, underwater basket weaving etc.) Just get out and get your mind off of books, school and research related. Many students who enter medical school are certified EMT's. Like working in a hospital a great way to learn on the side while getting paid. Do an internship with a medical examiner, follow around your PCP if you desire, just do not pick up a textbook. I have already alluded to some light reading (HOG, TDNH, MSC) which may give you a better idea of whats ahead, but don't pick up an anatomy atlas and memorize away. For those who simply cannot wait to go to school and must study something, read up on biochemistry. Yep, that dredge of a topic is very complex and I know I will need all the help I can get at it. Learn about pH, acid-base stuff and metabolic/respiratory alkalosis and acidosis. It won't be fun, but that's my suggestion to you.

Have I killed this point about not reading texts? Yes. Good

For those who are going straight from college to undergrad, man do I pity you. You graduate, receive complimentary monies and have to turn everything around while you look for housing, roommates and other necessities in the city in which your school is located. I found roommates and a house already (June 7th, wohoo!) which seems to be ahead of the curve for most of my class. You also have to decide between an apartment and a house. I choose the house route because I like space and need a place to store most of my crap. Those who find apartments are usually the students who prefer to live alone as apartment space is limited and need that solitude to study. I am not one of those people. I am renting, not buying as I do not wish to pay taxes as I have no idea what I am doing financially.


There's another topic for discussion. Many students turn to loans or wealthy grandparents to fund their medical school education. Since my one grandfather currently drives an old-school Buick Roadmaster (with wood trim) I went with the loans. There are two major federal loans which I applied for. First is the Stafford loan. The Stafford Loan is a federal loan which can either be subsidized or unsubsidized. There is a maximum you can take out for the subsidized loan which usually amounts to a little over 40K a year. This may not seem like much, but this usually covers most tuition bills and you do not have to pay any interest or make any payments until 6 months after you graduate. The unsubsidized Stafford loan allows you to take out more money but as a hindrance you must pay interest on the loan (I think...) The other major federal loan is the Grad Plus Loan. This loan can cover all of your expenses as you can take out any amount you want. Yet, you pay interest on this loan (interest rate is higher too!) and make payments every month until your loan is payed in full. Mind you these explanations are very broad and if you need help consult you family's (or your own you rich bastard) financial planner to work out and decipher the details.

In summary: take a vacation, don't read anything medical and maybe gain some clinical experience.

Until next time

Whoop Whoop Whoop,


*I know shit about money so take everything I say about finance with a HUGE grain of salt

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why Now, O Lord?

Why bother with this?

In truth, I have no idea what I am about to do. This blog is nothing more than another assignment jotted down hastily in my daily planner. Nevertheless, it is useful and I am doing it for many reasons. First, I am privileged to walk down the path of medical education and to become a doctor, honored even. This blog is for my friends I made in high school and at Niagara University (Division I, Represent). I want to let them know how I am doing, and that those hours of studying in the library and missing the most amazing college parties was worth it, at least to me, in the long run. Secondly, this voyage I am going to undertake is for all those interested in the medical school journey. I hope my experience serves as a roadmap of how to make to medical school and hopefully how to succeed and become an amazing physician. I hope also this blog turns out to be more than a "what not to do" narrative. Thirdly, I feel many people know very little about the entire process of taking a over-studied, over-caffienated, and over-worked person and transforming them into a doctor. Medical school is no picnic, and I wish to simply explain the obstacles facing us medical school students following the osteopathic curriculum and relay what we have to deal with to the general public.
This will be fun, I think.

Just a little about me, if anyone is that curious to know the author. I grew up in Rochester, NY, namely Spencerport. I went to Spencerport High School and graduated with honors in 2003. I entered Niagara University that fall and undertook a curriculum in the biological sciences. I graduated in May 2007 with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. The last two years of college was mostly spent unsuccesfully researching organic chemistry culminating in going to ONE conference and not even putting out a single paper (do I get points for trying?) At Niagara, I made the best friends a guy could ask for. I am nothing without friends and wish to keep them in contact with me until my death. I also have the pleasure of being a fraternal twin who is going with me on the same medical school adventure. My brother is my best friend. Although I am older, this blog is my only evidence that I can do something on my own and try to prove that the big brother did something the baby of the family could look up too. I also have an amazing older sister who, if not for the fear of flying animals, is the perfect person in the world. Both my parents are my role models. My Father is an accountant while my Mother is a college professor (D.N.S.) and an N.P. I took a year off between graduating from Niagara and starting at med school. I did this because a) I was waitlisted and it fell through and b) I wanted to take the time to relax for what I hoped would be another 4+ years of school. I am an optimistic individual who loves the sport of hockey, a cold brew, the beach, a good book and the people I call friends and family. 'Till next time

Whoop Whoop



I do not know much. I am a student who went through high school, graduated college and was accepted to medical school. According to statistics, this puts me into the 95th percentile of intelligence on this planet. I beg to differ. It's true that doctors are revered in society as persons with most all the answers. Doctors tackle to complexities of human health, one of the great frontiers left to explore beside space and the deep ocean. Within this blog, I may write something completely wrong, naive, offensive or idiotic. No offense intended. I am merely expressing my opinion or view on a particular matter. If nothing more, this blog will help with my poor grammar. Yet, if you feel strongly about a subject I dare to present, please leave a comment. Leave constructive criticism, a different viewpoint even, but do not disagree just to simply disagree without providing an explanation pertaining to your disdain. Support your case with logical arguments, papers reinforcing your viewpoints, etc. I believe I am an educated crustacean and will attempt to deal with any opposition as diplomatically as possible. If anything, leave ideas for me to consider writing about. I live in a world of science and medicine which unfortunately is rather boorish to most. I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. Especially when the Internet is mostly used to edit fantasy rosters and porn.

Whoop Whoop