18 9 / 2014
Anonymous said: Hey! I am a second year medical student and having a bit of trouble studying for one class- pharmacology. I watched your video on studying (btw was great! =) )but was hoping if you could give some advice on how you tackled pharmacology in specific. Thanks!
- Flashcards for the nitpick-y details
- Try to relate it to a clinical vignette—otherwise it’s meaningless.
- Know your latin (it really helps sometimes to understand the roots of some of the words—sometimes the answer is in the name!)
- Relate it back to the pharmacokinetics/dynamics if you understand how the drug is used or broken down or metabolized it’s easier to remember all the details about it. Something that’s broken down by the liver is more likely to be hepatotoxic—get it?
To the person who asked me for pharm help.
18 9 / 2014
asunza said: hey I really love this blog and it's been helping me as I'm moving on with my pre-med track. I have a question that I'm not quite sure if you can answer but let's see! I have three majors; psychology, religion, and russian literature, and I wanted to know if this would be something that would make med schools less eager to accept me (if they think I'm confused or directionless). I do in fact have reasons for all of these majors, and they are related to my interest in the medical field. Thanks!
TELL THEM THAT! If you have good reasons, and they all tie together in a way that can be succinctly explained, I don’t see why not!
Plus those all sound super badass. Go you!
18 9 / 2014
just--keep-walking said: Hey there, for the anon asking for advice about medschool and mental illness: If you want to talk to someone who has gone through this, I'd be happy to help. You're not alone, there are quite a few of us.
Hey! Message this person!!!
18 9 / 2014
Anonymous said: I'm sorry if this doesn't apply or if it's too personal. Feel free to tell me to go away. I'm a first year med student (all of 3 weeks in) and I'm wondering if you've ever battled with mental illness throughout your program. Fearing I'll fall apart.
First off, no, please don’t go away. You are wanted and liked. Your concerns and questions are valid.
Second, I have struggled with feeling very lonely and isolated and stupid in med school, quite frequently actually. Med school can be an emotional rollercoaster and that’s normal. Mental illness- whatever it may be- can make the normal rollercoaster feel like some terror ride through fire and knives. If you feel like you are falling apart please please please talk to someone. All med schools have student health offices with mental health folks available. It’s ok to get help, it’s the bravest and nicest thing you can do for yourself. You are not alone, I promise. You can do this.
18 9 / 2014
Anonymous said: how, please may I ask what a levels you took for medicine? I'm taking chemistry, biology, pyschology and I'm unsure of what 4th one to take - someone said applied science maybe good to keep options open but I am really stuck on what to do?:-(
Hi! I wrote a long reply (twice!) that got lost due to my crashing internet. So I will try to be succinct. You submitted this to my comic blog dxmedicalstudent, but unfortunately I try to keep that site for my comic only, so I will eventually delete this post and archive it on my other tumblr, dxmedstudent.
I did Biology, Chemistry, English literature and Classical Civilisation. I found the essay subjects complemented sciences nicely, and brought a different kind of analytical skill to the table. I was certainly grateful for them by the time I got to writing essays and dissertations in university! But you need to do what you enjoy, and which subjects you think you can do better at. Biology and chemistry are nearly always essential for medicine, the other subjects depend on multiple factors. I know people who did all sciences, and people who had one or two humanities choices and still got into medicine; there is no hard-and-fast rule. But you have to check which universities accept the type of subject you choose; some only accept 3 sciences and others actually prefer a non-science third subject at A-level. Confusing, right?
I actually didn’t know that there is an Integrated science A-level, and I can’t find anything on google on it, so make sure your school offer it, as it may not be around since the O-level days. Some elite universities look down on non-traditional ‘soft’ subjects like integrated sciences and psychology, so do your research - the best way is to make a table and check the prospectuses of each medical school. Or phone/email them and ask. Not easy or fun, but essential.
Advice from others about A level subject choices:
- Which?Magazine write about these kinds of things.
- The Guardian has a students section that is really useful.
- Studential also give advice.
- Some schools like the London Academy of Excellence have tips for their students, as does the Oxford Royale school.
- The Russel group of elite universities tell you which subjects they recommend in this guide here.
- Some Oxbridge colleges are open about which A levels they don’t accept, such as Trinity college, Cambridge.
- The aspiring medical students on forums like New Media Medicine or The Student Room are great for offering advice or sharing useful information.
If you are considering keeping your options open, remember that for most degrees, you don’t need to do the A-level equivalent of it. In fact, it is sometimes frowned upon by more prestigious universities. Hence you don’t need to do engineering at A-level to study it at university. Same with psychology, or accounting, for example. Biology and chemistry would let you apply to the subjects most people use as a backup option, like biomedicine and biochemistry (qualifies you to do analysis work in a lab, or go into research), or pharmacy (trains you to be a pharmacist). If you can stand physics or maths, they will widen your options much further into the other sciences, however they are not necessary to study medicine at all universities. Whichever subjects you pick, make sure you check that any university you apply to accepts them; you don’t want to waste a place on a university that would never accept you!
Thinking about the distant future and applying through UCAS, it’s worth remembering that when you are applying, your personal statement must be geared 100% to medicine, and go through all the hoops if you wish to stand a chance. Some people choose a contrasting subject as a back up, but then you also have to ensure you have any subjects that this second degree needs. Some subjects are willing to accept a cover letter explaining why your personal statement is all about medicine, and will consider you despite that. Because many degrees have lower expectations of applicants than those required of med school applicants. However it is by no means a given that they will accept you, so if this is your plan you will have to do even more emailing and asking all the universities. I know it sounds horrible and daunting (I’ve called/emailed all 32 medical schools in the UK, myself; it was a tedious process), but I cannot emphasise enough that you have to take responsibility for your application and be proactive if you want to succeed. This is my one most important piece of advice: do your research.
I have written about the medical school application process here, however there are also plenty of other resources out there that you should read. Good luck in your choices and future applications!
Saving this on my med school applications advice section and taking it out of my comic blog.
17 9 / 2014
Anonymous said: So I'm majoring in Anthropology rn and I'm thinking about getting into the medical field, but If I do, does that mean my anthropology degree will be for nothing? Like you with your art degree (I think it's art, sorry if I'm wrong) .. I mean you just seem so invested in doctoring, do you or do you plan to do anything with art? I just feel like all my efforts toward my degree right now are kind of pointless since I'm going premed and anthro will me a long lost dream or something...
I have actually used my art degree in med school, because I tell my mom every time I do. I had been drawing prehistoric opossum skulls and now I am photographing molds of teenty tiny prehistoric opossum teeth. I designed a totally flipping rad logo that Med Student Affairs tried to make a legit school official thing. I hope to resume art things after I do doctor things for awhile. Not to mention the random posters and stuff. I’ve got ideas for a few series cooking, just having the time and resources to devote to it is an issue.
Art school was a really awesome phase of my life, an amazing experience, and I have totally awesome knowleges (like composition, sometimes it can be really bad because now that I know what good composition is when I see bad composition it bums me out). Art school was good for giving me an outside perspective, and a different way of approaching things. So while I’m not actively making ‘art’, I consider my art degree far from useless.
But I don’t really know much about anthropology. So I asked Baby Dragon, who is a member of Cytokine Storm (the med school branch of Babe Squad), because she was an anthro major (in addition to Spanish and Biology I think? Her resume is impressive, that’s all I know) and is currently being wildly intelligent and generally full of rage. Here is what she said:
"Okay, this is real Baby Dragon talk.
Firstly, if they think their work will be “useless” if they go to med school, then their work is ALREADY useless. Because anthro is as much about re-evaluating your worldview as it is about sitting in classes and writing term papers and learning pretentious vocabulary. If being in an non-explicitly anthro branded field makes you think that those lessons are useless, sorry, brah, but you never internalized them in the first place: anthro = people, logos = knowledge.
You are literally learning about people. you are analyzing their motivations, their mindsets, their environments. do you know what patients are? PEOPLE. You CANNOT be luckier; medicine is a field where your ENTIRE JOB is to apply the “knowledge of people” skills and analytical framework to take care of folks!
Essentially, you learn to look at a person or community and say, “Wow, how did all of these factors influence this person inside and out?” Cultural anth is, duh, culture. Which is important for patient care. Forensic and medical anth is chock full of genetics and applied biosciences- which guess what- is patient care. Linguistics is understanding how communication and language is intrinsically tied to phenomenological experiences. And guess what, language and communication are HUGELY FUCKING IMPORTANT to helping your patients no matter what specialty you go into.
tl; dr: stop being sad, because there is absolutely no reason to. Instead, take a hard look at what you think you got out of your anthro education. If you can’t apply that information to actual humans, maybe it’s not anthro that’s the problem. NO PITY FOR LAZY THINKERS.”
For all your real talk tough love needs, Ask Baby Dragon can totally be a thing.
17 9 / 2014
17 9 / 2014
Shoveling cardboard squares masquerading at graham crackers into my face in the floor pantry before rounds start because oatmeal isn’t keeping me full the way it used to and it isn’t 9am yet.
17 9 / 2014
I realized I had forgotten my white coat at home. My white coat with everything- my pens, my stethoscope, my ID badge that opens doors, my little pocket references, my snacks- EVERYTHING in it.
Please, white cloud gods, let this morning not be a harbringer of how the day will go!!
16 9 / 2014
Anonymous said: Do you have a vaccines tag? I'm doing an ethics project on vaccines and I remember reading an interesting post that you posted or reblogged. If not thanks anyways! You're awesome!
Convenient ‘search’ option in upper rightish area. Type ‘vaccine’ or variations thereof.