When breath becomes air 

I’ve tried re-writing this one a few too many times but that’s only because I felt like this review didn’t do justice to the book. It still doesn’t but here we go.

The book ‘When breath becomes air’ is an autobiography written by Paul Kalanthi. It’s the story of a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He starts thinking about ‘living a meaningful life’ and he wonders what it takes to achieve one. As he starts cancer treatment he tells about his struggles, his thoughts and his feelings.

The book is magnificently written and it’s ending is bittersweet. It’s book that definitely deserved the attention it got. There were a lot of things I loved about this book but I mainly want to talk about what I learned from it.

  • I learned that life is short, full of unexpected things sometimes the worst things in life come together with the best and if you’re lucky you’ll be around to see the good. If not it’s up to you to create good things in the middle of bad ones!
  • I learned that humans often live life as if life is endless. We even postpone the thought of death itself until someone around us dies. When you think about it there isn’t a single person in the world who is completely ready to die at any given day. There is always something more we want to do, something more we want to realize.
  • I learned that when bad things happen and we get knocked down, we need to keep going and keep pushing.
  • I learned that the best way to live a meaningful life is to give it your absolute best every single time no matter how hard life gets. It’s often easier said than done but it’s all we can do.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost! I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a remarkable story that left it’s imprint on me and I’m sure that you’ll find it as special as I did.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

 

Preparing for retake exams

As you all know I’ll be on vacation but for students who need to retake exams I wanted to write this blogpost. Retake exams are not fun and you often have less time for retake exams, than for exams you take during the year. It’s important in medical school to pass retake exams or you won’t be able to follow all courses from the following year.

1. Look at what went wrong first
Since you have retake exams it means that something went wrong the first time. Therefore it’s important to take a look at your exams and see what went wrong. There are feedback moments, there are professors who will help and guide you through the process. They will be able to tell you what went wrong and thus what you can do better next time.

2. Make a good schedule
I made a timetable for my vacation. I have already spend a good amount of time relaxing. It’s important to make a timetable that you will follow. You need to divide your time well and make sure that you keep to your schedule. You don’t want to retake these exams again next year.
When I had retakes I would study for three days and take one day off. That’s how I stayed positive and kept on studying during my vacation.

3. How to use your notes
Before studying make sure to have all of your notes present. Do not rewrite them because that is just a way to procrastinate the actual study process.
If there are mistakes on your notes write those in red so you don’t make them again.
If you don’t have notes, ask your classmates for help! I miserably failed the easiest class last year and I was lucky enough to borrow someone else’s notes.

4. Too many retake exams
Students with 7-8 retake exams often end up taking all of their exams. In the end they fail with 45/100 which is really sad in my opinion. If you know you won’t be able to pass all of your exams, or you have too many try to prioritize your classes!

5. Don’t get demotivated
It’s important to keep your goals in front of you because they will motivate you for me a simple inspiration board works. When I’m really not feeling it I’ll take a day off (this is usually planned in my schedule). Taking a day off will help you get motivated back again.

Last but not least I hope that you do well on your retake exams! If you have some tips for retake exams leave them in comment section down below because they can help other students ;). If you liked this article press the like button down below.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Review: how to think like a doctor

As some of you might know I wanted to read a lot of books this summer. I personally liked going for books related to the medical field hoping that I’ll learn from them. I recently made up my entire book list and I’ve already started reading some books. The first one I’ll be reviewing is ‘How doctors think’ and was written by Jerome Groopman M.D. This book has received the quill award for health/self improvement.

The title of the book is quite self-explanatory and though I’m not a doctor yet I figured that this book had to contain some valuable information on the topic. I don’t mean to spoil the book but the book reveals it goal in the first chapters. Students who eventually become doctors struggle with the transition from books to real cases but even older doctors make mistakes. The book gives a ton of anecdotes on the subject to try and show what went wrong with the diagnoses and how doctors can avoid making mistakes.

There are a few things I liked and learned from this book
… I liked the cases that were discussed and that there were a lot of them. Each case was different but the general conclusion was the same
… I liked that there were reasons given on how doctors make small mistakes. However it’s obvious that every human makes mistakes. The thing is that we can all learn from others’ mistakes and thus we can all learn from this book
… I liked the structure of the cases. Each case had a lot of explanation that accompanied it. There was a clear structure.
… I most definitely liked the advise that was given: think in the other direction when somebody comes with complaints. They have headache? Don’t think that it’s just due to tension look further!
More importantly I feel like this book is good for students starting residency. It’ll show you how patients reveal very small clues that are often misinterpreted. Small things like words or signs that make a big difference. It can also show you how confidence can form an issue. Leading to confirmation bias is the enemy here!

I would advise any medical student to read this book because it shows that small things that patients say can mean an entire spectrum of things and that it’s important to try and look for a correct diagnoses instead of assuming the first solution or the most common solution is correct. It’s important to keep all possible diagnoses open and think further than you normally would when diagnosing patients.

Though I’m on vacation definitely leave a comment in the comment section down below telling me what you’re favorite books are.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe ❤

Lokai bracelets

The lokai bracelets have been around for quite a long time now and I’ve decided to write a blogpost dedicated to the many goals they support by selling their bracelets. For those of you who’ve never heard of Lokai bracelets here is some background information. Lokai bracelets are rubber bracelets with two special beads. One bead contains water from the highest point (Mount Everest) and one bead contains earth from the lowest point (The Dead Sea). It’s to remind you to stay humble when you’re high and hopeful when you’ve hit a low.
The thing that makes Lokai bracelets stand out is that a big part of the money they make goes to charities. Over the past few years there were a lot of charities that they’ve supported and keep supporting. To name a few.

  1. Make a wish
  2. Red
  3. Alzheimer’s association
  4. Charity water
  5. BCRF
  6. Oceana
  7. WWF

At this moment they are selling black and white bracelet pack and if you happen to buy a black and white Lokai you’ll be able to choose which charity they donate that part of the money to. You can choose between the following options.

  1. The nature conservancy
  2. The women’s alzheimer movement
  3. American heart association
  4. National pediatric cancer foundation
  5. ASPCA
  6. Autism speaks

They are also selling ‘wear your world’ bracelets ‘to support the International Rescue Committee’s work helping refugees whose lives and countries have been shattered by conflict and disaster’. They will donate one dollar per bracelet and a minimum of 150 000$.

lokai.jpg

Hope you enjoyed this article. You can check out the Lokai site here and order a bracelet for 18$! I know I’m getting one soon! Let me know in the comment what you think of these bracelets.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

My Kindle

Today I’m going to tell you everything about my Kindle. I’ve had a Kindle since august last year and though it doesn’t compare to a real book it still has a lot of benefits to it.

Why I bought it
Ever tried taking a Stephen King book on vacation? I have and it was an absolute hassle. I couldn’t fit it in my bag. I couldn’t read it anywhere but inside. I knew that I wouldn’t have that issue anymore.
The second thing is that Kindles are environmental friendly and though I’m not the biggest advocate for saving planet earth (even though I probably should be) I think that buying one kindle and using it for a long period of time will (hopefully) have a somewhat positive effect on the environment.
And last but not least. Buying books on a kindle is cheaper. I can buy more books, books online or in stores and I always find free books online and I can read them all thanks to this little thing!

What I missed
The kindle doesn’t come with a protective case. I know that I should have thought about this but I didn’t. It took me 2 weeks of reading and taking it everywhere with me, to realize that my screen had scratched on two places. I ended up buying a bookcover from Klevercase and I would highly suggest this company. They make some beautiful real-book cases (and loads of other things too). I have the ‘Jane Eyre’ bookcover and you can tell that it was made with lots of love!
I have to admit though that I’m missing the touch and feel of an actual book in my hands that’s why I bought a klevercase book cover. I do miss looking at a book and visually seeing how far I’ve read it but nothing is perfect so I’m fine with it!

My booklist
I wanted to share all of the books I put on my kindle with you. There are a lot of suggestions that I got from you guys and some of my friends abroad. I’m going to try and read every single one of these this summer vacation and hopefully also review them. I’ve already read ‘When breath becomes air’ the autobiography from Paul Kalanithi and ‘How doctors think’ by Jerome Groopman. I’ve started reading ‘The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks’  I was suggested this book by Sesan Miller but I’ve really been procrastinating reading this book. I’m going to do a review on these book (and some others) after the summer! I’m currently on vacation so I planned this article ahead of time.

Do I suggest buying a kindle?
Most definitely. A kindle isn’t like a real book which is why it might not appeal to everyone. Some people like actual books (which I do too!). I would prefer reading a real book over my Kindle but there is no denying that a Kindle is way more practical. It’s lightweight and thin and you can take it everywhere you want to. It has a lot of benefits.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Again you can find the booklist above or at the top of this blog. Let me know what you think about E-readers in the comment section down below.  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your vacation!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Vacation

Today I wanted to write a little about my vacation! As you know I’ve made an entire reading list of books I wanted to read this summer (and you’ll be able to read more about some books soon!) but more importantly I wanted to enjoy my free time! I’ve worked hard and no matter the result I’m going to enjoy the upcoming months. I’m not revealing my destination since it’s completely irrelevant for my blog. But I’m going to go away for a while 😉 . I’ve planned some articles ahead which you’ll be able to read the upcoming weeks! 
airport

I hope you enjoy your vacation! Let me know in the comment section where you’re going this vacation or if you’re staying at home what you look forward to doing!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

My playlist

Though most students I know are on a break I’ve noticed that some are still very busy with their exams. For those of you on vacation: have fun, enjoy your well-deserved vacation! Go out but most importantly don’t forget to use sunscreen!

For those of you still struggling with their exams I want to give you my Spotify playlist filled with motivational music which helped me through my exams. I hope you enjoy these classic motivational songs some of them are older but they are still cool! Good luck on your exams I’m crossing my fingers for each and every one of you!

SPOTIFY LINK

I hope you enjoyed this brief post! Let me know which music motivates you! Good luck with your exams.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe