Reflections on my first year of med

Humans are organisms that are constantly changing. Some people change quickly whereas others take a little more time. I personally changed a lot in my first year of medical school and I learned a lot as well. Here’s what I’ve learned.

I learned that medical school is hard work. It’s a constant struggle to get everything together before exams start. It’s a struggle to work consistently every day. There were days that I just felt like all of my efforts never seemed enough. I had no choice but to accept it and move on. Hard work often pays off but sometimes it doesn’t.

I learned that med school ment making sacrifices. This summer I reflected a lot and I actually liked studying during my vacation. The reason behind this is that I genuinely like medicine. I like it so much that I’d give up anything in the world to struggle my way through even if all those struggles lead to average results.

I learned that there are always going to be people who gossip (even in university!) and that most of it goes around behind you back. Take my advise and don’t worry about it, there are more important matters in the world :).

I learned the importance of having good friends that motivate you, that are ready to help whenever you need help and that are honest when needed. Big thanks to the people motivated me through my exams, they made me feel more at ease and less stressful which helped me a lot!

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know in the comment section what you learned at uni or in college.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

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30 day cold shower challenge

The 30 day cold shower challenge has become of the most popular challenges of the summer and since there are quite a few benefits related to this challenge I too decided to take the plunge. Here’s what you need to know about it

The cold water challenge tells you to take a cold shower every day for a month. It’s said that taking a cold showers has a lot of benefits to it like improving productivity, improving your immune system, reducing blood pressure and speed up healing.

Hot-vs-cold-shower-Infographic

Infographic from punditcafe

A few tips before you start
-Don’t take a shower every day. Taking a shower every day also means waisting a lot of water, instead take a shower every other day.
-Stand in the shower and let the cold water flow instead of waiting outside your shower until you have enough courage to go in. This will again prevent waisting water.
-Take a cold shower after you have worked out. It’ll be easier, trust me.
-When your heart starts racing, try to keep going. After you’ve gone through that phase it gets easier!
-Make sure to put some warmer clothes on after your shower if you don’t want to catch a cold.

The result
Even though it did take a little while to adjust to showering with cold water it wasn’t too bad. The first couple of times my hart was racing but I just tried to take a deep breath. It can be tough to get through that part but afterwards you’ll definitely feel better.
Unlike my regular showers, I took less than 7 minutes to completely wash myself with cold water and I felt like I hadn’t waisted as much water. I have a huge issue with waisting water so this was definitely something important for me.
Taking cold showers in the morning made me feel invincible and ready to take on the day. It sounds weird but it felt like doing something I didn’t always think was possible made me feel better. This is a challenge that I honestly hope to keep doing because I liked it so much!

Let me know in the comment section whether you’d try showering with cold water every day.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Book review: The man who mistook his wife for a hat

I recently red the book ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ written by Oliver Sacks, a British neurologist. Oliver sacks is quite a famous writer, he has written 14 books of which 7 were made into a movie. This specific book was written in 1985 and it consists of 24 cases in which different neurological issues are being discussed.

Summary
The book is divided into four categories that each talk about a specific neurological issue. Part one deals with losses, part two with excess, part three transports (about perception, imagination, dreams,…) and part four the world of the simple (how ‘simple’ people understand remarkable concepts).

I’m going to talk about one of these stories because it stood out to me. It’s the story of Jose, the autist artist. This is written in chapter four – the world of the simple. Jose was a 21 year old male who was said to be retarded and had seizures which caused him to be hospitalized. During his examination he was asked to draw a pocket watch which he drew remarkably well. Dr. Sacks was amazed by this and wanted to learn more about this patient. He wanted to see more drawings and asked Jose to draw some more and again his drawings were really nice.
It appeared that Jose was indeed autistic, but that he was quite talented. He could draw, remember what he drew and he was able make adaptations to his drawings.
This story definitely stood out for me because it just goes to show that there is a whole world to people that often stays unnoticed, even for many many years.
The drawings are included in the book but I wanted to show you an example. On the left we see the picture, on the right the drawing that Jose made.

Schermafbeelding 2017-07-30 om 10.08.55
There are many more extraordinary stories written in this book. It’s an easy read making it is a book that will appeal to a lot of people. Difficult concepts are all explained in the book making the book fit for anyone interested in knowing more about brain related issues.
For those wanting to learn or read more about neurological problems, there are also a lot of references to other scientifical books. Especially Loeria (neuropsychologist) and Jackson (neurologist) are writers who are often referred to.

For me this was such an interesting book that I was able to finish it within the day. It is therefore no surprise that I strongly advise you to read this book.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Medical stationary gifts

I recently saw a picture on Instagram that had bone balpens and while I was searching for these I came across these amazing school/college supplies. Most of these would make great gifts and they can be found on various sites such as Aliexpress, Amazon and Etsy. So without further ado here are some great gifts for medical students.

gift renew.png

1. Sticky notes
I found these great sticky notes on Amazon, these are pricier than your regular sticky notes but they’re unique and quirky. There are quite a few options to choose from so definitely check these out!
Link: Amazon

2. Memo holder
This is definitely the most unique gift out on this list. It’s a brain shaped memo holder made out of concrete. These are made in the Netherlands and you can find these on Etsy or on the manufacturers site.
Link: Manufacturers site
Link: Etsy

3. Pen
A funny gift for students who are tackling anatomy and learning all bones in the human body. These balpens are quite affordable and can be found on Amazon and on Aliexpress.
Note: since Aliexpress can sometimes be unreliable I’ve tried to filter out two companies that have sold the most and had the best reviews.
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Amazon

4. Erasers
I found these cool brain shaped eraser tops on Amazon but you can also buy these on Etsy. They come in different colours and are a great addition to your medical stationary.
Link: Amazon
Link: Etsy

5. Tape
I never knew about DNA tape but it’s a clever take on regular tape. You can use this to decorate your note books. This tape also comes in a spinal tape version and you can buy both of these together on Amazon.
Link DNA tape: Amazon
Link spinal tape: Amazon

6. Markers
These come in many different shapes but two stood out to me. The first were pill shaped markers. I personally loved these from Amazon because of the bottle they came in.
The second shape were syringe shaped markers which you can find almost everywhere.
Link pill markers: Amazon
Link syringe markers: Amazon

I hope you enjoyed this stationary as much as I did! Let me know in the comment section which stationary item you liked most.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

College supplies: the basics

The new school year is coming up and I wanted to talk about some stuff that come in handy when you’re in college or university. When I started university my biggest issue were the long hours of lectures with only short breaks in between. Everyday I came to my lectures there was always something I had forgotten. So here are the basics that everyone needs.

1. A good backpack goes a long way!
Go for comfort over fashion! I suggest buying a laptop backpack since these are often more comfortable. They usually have padding so your stuff will be protected while you’re carrying it with you and they are roomy.
Looking online I found some basic laptop backpacks from Incase they definitely have a nice design but since theses quite pricy I’ve listed an alternative from Amazon!

 

2. Water bottle
You will be attending classes for long periods of time and it’s nice to have water wherever you go. My university has taps in each campus so you can fill your water bottle. Buying a water bottle is better for your wallet and for the environment! The S’well water bottles were very famous this year and they come in lots of different colors and designs. If you prefer a classic design, go for klean kanteen.

3. Foldable rain coat
The weather here is very unpredictable as it is in most countries. Having a foldable rain coat helps a lot! If you don’t like unflattering rain coats you could also buy a foldable umbrella. This foldable rain coat is from Uniqlo and only costs 39$. You can throw it in your backpack and you’ll be good to go!

4. Good notebook
One thing I struggled with was writing my notes down and not loosing them. In the middle of the year I ended up going for a spiral notebook. My favorite ones are from Oxford but these can be quite expensive. I found some notebooks on Amazon which were on sale. You can check those out via this link.

 

5. Good pencil case
My pencil case was made of canvas and I’ve had it for a very long time. Somehow my fountain pen made a hole inside my pencil case making it look terrible. A good pencil case is a must! I found this a few on amazon. One from Kuuqa and IDream.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what’s on your college supply list in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

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 Kalanithi. 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 doctors think

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