Stressing out!

Medical school is hard work. It takes up your time. It can happen that you get stressed out, worry, and might even get nightmares about failing. That’s how my exams feel to me. The funny part of it is that all of these feelings are unnecessary. Since I have quite a lot of experience with stress and anxiety I wanted to give you my best tips.

1. Don’t worry
Instead of worrying you should relax and keep working on. Worrying will lead to doubt and doubt is the last thing you’ll need. Constant worrying will absorb time and energy and you’ll need these to study and make your exams. All you can do is your best and see how things work out!

2. Work out
I like to workout in the morning. There are a few benefits to this. The first is that going for a run in the morning gives you more energy! You’ll have more energy, feel better and have enough time to study. The second thing is that you’ll probably be more tired in the evening and fall asleep quicker.
Running outside also gives some time to completely de-stress. You’ll be able to shake off some of your feelings and move on.

3. Food is important
Some people don’t eat while studying, others like to stuff themselves. Either way it’s important to have the right nutrients. Go for dried fruits and nuts as snacks, a decent meal and drink some green tea or some coffee during your breaks. Don’t forget to drink enough water!
For me sugar makes me feel more anxious and more on edge. I definitely advise avoiding sugar. If you do want to eat chocolate go for pure chocolate with at least 70% chocolate in it.

4. Talk about it
If you’re genuinely stressed out talk about it with your parents or friends. A listening ear can help more than you think. If you don’t want to talk to your parents or friends about your feelings I advise going to a psychologist. You can trust them 100% and they will be able to provide the help you need. Universities usually provide student psychologists for free so check out your university site for more information.

I hope these tips help you tackle the exam stress. I wish you all good luck with your exams and I’m rooting for each and every single one of you ❤

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

 

Motivational video

There was a video I really wanted to share with you. As you might know I find Will Smith one of the most motivational people on the world. I’ve found a compilation of some of his quotes on talent, skill and the influence of dedication and I wanted to share it with you!
 

Hoping this will motivate you as much as it motivates me! Lots of love ❤
-A doctor in spe

Trying out a ‘perfect’ lifestyle

For this blog I wanted to measure the effect of doing everything right (I’ll specify this part in a minute) and report my results. The goal is to raise my grades because at the moment they’re just average and unfortunately average isn’t going to cut it.
For this experiment I took other students as guidelines and I looked on forums for student tips. I also made sure to talk to my peers to set out a realistic goal.

1. Television and phone
The use of television and social media takes up such a big part of my life that I need to decrease it. I watch quite a lot of television and the moment I pick up my phone in my study break I end up waisting hours. I’ll stop using Facebook and not watch television until the end of my exams (june 26th). The only thing I’ll update regularly is WordPress 🙂  that way I’ll be able to keep you posted.
UPDATE: you’ll all be able to follow this challenge via Instagram (the only social media platform that is an exception because I need some control).

2. Free time
Should I become bored I’ll read some books on my kindle. The books I read have to be challenging in a way they need to be socially relevant. I’ve already gotten one suggestion so if you happen to have some leave them down below!
I love working out but I hate working out alone. I will try to work out 3 times per week. Two days of cardio and one day of yoga. The day of yoga will clear out my mind since the upcoming weeks will be very stressful. I’ll probably also do some workouts during my study breaks.

3. Eating habits
Unfortunately even eating clean is also an important factor while trying out ‘the perfect lifestyle’. The upcoming month I’ll try to only eat healthy foods such as vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, pure chocolate.
I will make sure to drink 2 liters of water every day in this amount tea and coffee is calculated. Breakfast will always consist of yoghurt and some fruit or oatmeal with some honey. Lunch will be made at home. That way I’ll know what I eat. As snacks I’ll be consuming two pieces of fruit everyday.

3. Studying habits
I’ve done quite a lot of research on this topic and a lot of medical students say they study around 6-7 hours everyday. I’m not going to lie 6 hours is way out of my limit. I still have a lot of courses so I’ll go for a minimum of five hours during the week and more hours in the weekend.
Active studying means that I need to put in more effort which helps retain the information I learn better. I’ve found out that I love to combine different methods to learn different parts of my courses. I’m going to write about this the upcoming week!

4. Sleeping habits
The average sleep time I need is between 7 and 9 hours. I usually get around 7hours of sleep everyday. I need to wake up at 6 a.m. every morning so I’ll try to sleep at 11p.m.

If you have some tips let me know in the comment section. I’m starting this challenge tomorrow so definitely wish me luck!

Lots of love!
-A doctor in spe

UPDATE: I’ll probably open an Instagram so that I have some control of what I do. I really want to commit to this challenge and that’s the only way to have full control.

Tips for prosection courses!

Prosections are a part of anatomy. You’ll see parts of the human body and you will most likely have to know where the muscles, nerves, veins and arteries are. I spend a lot of time preparing for my prosection course so I have quite a few tips!

1.Look up videos
The best way to have a clue of the material you’ll be studying is to look online for some videos in which they go over every part of the body and talk about what’s important. On youtube you’ll find sapiens medicus, on the internet I found this site. These videos will help you know where to look for certain structures.

2. Anatomy book
Your anatomy book is going to be your best friend during all of med school and it’s filled with pictures of the human body with and without muscles, nerves, arteries and veins. I use Sobotta anatomy which has an online site on which you’ll be able to find anatomical pictures. These are more structured and therefore easier to visualize.

3.Work together
It’s perfectly normal to search for certain structures. Talk to your peers and ask them if they know something you don’t. This is what helped me so much. Everyone I knew seemed to remember a certain part of the human body best. I always asked my friends to help me with structure I didn’t know.

4. Take your time
I ended up going to two groups of prosections to have enough time to revise everything and to make sure that these prosections where actually useful. You’re going to have to retain all of this information and it helps if you do it well. In my university every group got 1:30 hours to look at the cadavers. For me this was not enough so I ended up staying over groups to make sure that I was able to visualize and point out every structure.

I hope you enjoyed these tips! Let me know what you thought of your first prosections in the comments down below 🙂

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Charity hair for kids with cancer

I wanted to talk about donating hair since it’s something that is done quite often and it is important. There are a lot of people in the world that are diagnosed with cancer. Some prognoses are terrible whereas others have a chance of getting cured. While talking about the basics of cancer I also wanted to raise awareness for cancer and hopefully show you how you can help.

Cancer is a disease that is characterized by abnormal cel growth. Keeping it quite simple (and more understandable) cel growth is not necessarily a bad thing. If these abnormal growing cells stay in one place of your body and don’t invade in the tissue around them you’ll most likely talk about a good form of cancer that’s often curable. I’m saying often curable because there are so many different types and forms of cancer that don’t follow the rules.
If these abnormal cells keep growing and invade in the surrounding tissue or they move through blood or lymfe vessels they will lead to more abnormal cell growth in different places and are most likely to be benigne or bad cancer. This form is often aggressive, more likely to return after treatment.

The curing of cancer has a very rich history and there is a beautiful book written about it but the essence is that physics (chemotherapy) combined with chemistry (medicines) and biology (human processes) are able to create a situation in which quick growing cells are attacked. This is a process that requires a lot of energy from human beings. If you know someone with cancer you’ll know that the entire process of chemo and medicines can cause changes in someones appearance. Since these treatments work on rapid growing cancer cells, they also work on other quickly growing cells just like hair cells and skin cells. Therefore people with cancer start getting a fragile pale skin and might experience hair loss. Hair loss is often a negative experience it can damage your self-esteem. Besides that buying wigs is quite expensive. That’s why there are a lot of foundations that make wigs for people with cancer and…

…here’s how you can help. If you have beautiful long hair and you want to get a haircut you can donate your hair. Depending on where you live you can donate either directly; send your hair to the correct address or you can donate via your hairdresser (this is only possible if your hairdresser donates hair).
The hair is then taken and processed before it’s made into a beautiful wig. There are a lot of ponytails needed to make a wig so please consider donating your hair.

I’ve listed some websites down below that are aimed at hair donation. There are also a lot of foundations that are aimed at kids that have hair loss due to other diseases besides cancer. So I really wanted to list those down below as well ;).

Canada
UK or UK
USA
USA
NZ

Definitely leave some options in the comment section. I’d love to see more places where you can donate your hair.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Charity: WWF

I want my blog to inspire people and to help people get to know things they otherwise wouldn’t. I’ve decided that I want you guys to know about some amazing charities and the work they do. There are some amazing charities out there that deserve a little more attention and I hope to be the link between you and these charities. The first charity I wanted to talk about is WWF.

WWF stands for world wildlife fund and is an organization founded in 1961. They originally wanted to protect animals that faced extinction but soon realized that they also needed to protect these creatures natural habitat.
Today they have 7 big challenges which are the prevention of deforestation, habitat loss and degradation of habitat, the bycatch of fish, overfishing, poaching, climate change and conflict between human and animal.

How can you help (Belgium)?
I’ve listed the Dutch options down below. You can however find international information via the WWF global site.

1. Monthly donations: WWF works via monthly donations you can donate monthly or you can go for a one time donation.

2. Adopt an animal: you can adopt an animal (or an animal and it’s child). They will use the money you pay monthly for the protection of the animal and it’s natural habitat.

3. Ranger club: children can become a part of the Ranger club. This cost 30€ yearly and they’ll receive the Ranger club magazine (5times per year) and they will be able to participate in great activities.

4. Panda magazine: costs 15€ per year and you’ll get a magazine (4times per year) and become an automatic member of WWF.

5. Working for WWF is also a possibility. You can find job offers via this link. You’ll find both jobs as voluntary work and they’re divided based on country. I’m personally amazed by the wide range of work you can do at WWF. They truly have something to offer for anyone.

They also have some other ways to donate and some more information about each project on their site if you live in Belgium or the Netherlands you’ll find information here. If you live outside of Europe you’ll find if you live outside of Europe you should visit the global site and choose your country on the top of the page.

I hope that you’ve learned a bit more about WWF and are ready to reinforce their team/work. Definitely let me know in the comment section what you thought of this article.

Lots of love
-M. A doctor in spe

The medical tag

Since I’ve tagged people I follow, I figured that it was time to answer the questions to my own tag. I hope that it’ll will give you an image of who I am!

  1. Who are you?
    My name is M. and I’m a medicine student in Europe. I’ve just started my first year in medical school.
  2. How did you come up with your blog name/username?
    My blog name is Doctor in spe. The term ‘in spe’ is Latin for ‘in the future’ or ‘to be’. Since I studied Latin in high school I wanted my blog to kind of refer to that period.
  3. How would you describe your blog?
    Doctorinspe is currently a mix of everything that interests me and is related to the medical field. Sometimes I like giving my opinion on a subject, sometimes I’ll write about something that’s noteworthy. It varies a lot!
  4. What made you choose the medical field?
    When I was a kid I loved watching a show called ‘there ones was…’ which was a series on the human body, made for children. That show has always laid a foundation to pursue a career in medicine.
  5. What are your best tips for future medical students?
    Don’t forget to enjoy medical school. There are a lot of things to do when you’re not studying so go out every once and a while and have some fun! Don’t miss out on the fun because you’re always studying!
  6. What’s your favorite quote?
    Life is not the amounts of breath you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away – Will Smith.
  7. Best memory in medical school?
    My best memory was getting into medical school. It was just so gratifying. I remember screaming like 5 minutes before I could process the whole thing. When I told my  brother he did the exact same thing :’).
  8. What’s one course you struggled with?
    Biochemistry. Purely because I was too lazy to make time to study it (yes I have flaws too). Biochemistry is quite a detailed course and I shouldn’t have postponed it that much. You can’t start learning chapter two if you don’t know the first chapter. Biggest mistake in medical school!
  9. Name one thing you want to achieve this year.
    I would like to pass all of my classes upcoming semester 🙂 but I would also love to make this blog into something that I will be proud of.
  10. What’s your favorite book?
    My favorite medical related book is the emperor of all maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I gave a brief resume on my blog so check it out! The main reason why I liked it is because of the infinite dedication these people showed for cancer research. The world needs more people like that!
  11. What do you do in your free time?
    I blog whenever I find some time and I love watching movies and series. My current favorite series is Grimm and the best movie I watched last month was Sing.
  12. What do you want to major in?
    I have no idea and I don’t even worry about that right now. I still have 6 more years to go so I’ll figure that out along the way ;).
  13. How do you study productively?
    I’m currently using flashcards which helps me a lot! I also use the My homework application to track all of my tasks.
  14. How do you stay motivated in medical school?
    Thinking about that beautiful white coat everytime I can.
  15. Who do you look up to?
    I would like to name a scientist or someone who has done something extraordinary but I look up to my family. My mom dad and brother have supported me so much and I look up to them because of that

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know in the comment section if you’re going to do the medical tag :).

Lots of love
– M. Doctor in spe