college

One year blogging and going strong!

It’s been exactly one year since my first ever blogpost and I wanted to talk about blogging in general and the amazing things I got to learn from medical students around the world. I never thought I would reach anything or anyone with this blog. I made this blog to take others on my journey to becoming a doctor and to show all of the amazing things I get to do as a student. There is most definitely not enough appreciation for the amazing opportunities we get in and outside our classroom.

I want my blog to inspire med/premed students or anyone to start a blog. You can never imagine how many amazing things you’ll get to experience while having a blog. This blog has in the short span of a year given me the opportunity to virtually meet other medical students and talk about subjects that are often taboo or subjects that we’re not familiar with. It gave me the opportunity to get to know medical students all around the world.

I also learned a lot of things that I haven’t learned in my textbooks. I learned more about mental health, about the amazing charities that are making a difference every day. I also read a lot more books and expanded my view on life.

I also started using social media more often! You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I’m not an avid social media user but I try to upload from time to time!

This blog and this year have been a great adventure so far and I couldn’t thank you guys enough to come on this journey with me. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did and that I was able to teach you guys some things along the way or just inspire you to study med or start a blog.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

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Essentialism summary and review

I recently read essentialism which is a book about ‘the disciplined pursuit of less’. The book was written by Greg McKeown CEO and founder of THIS, inc in Silicon Valley. He has achieved quite a lot and he thanks most of it to essentialism.

What’s this book about and what’s essentialism?
The book talks about how people are often doing unproductive things and saying yes to every opportunity in their life instead of focussing on one task. By putting their effort into just one task they’ll end up having one decent task, instead of multiple unfinished tasks.

The book describes a difference between the essentialist and the non-essentialist. The non-essentialist believes that he/she is able to do everything at once. In our society it’s often expected of people that they are non-essentialists and are able to do everything at once. In reality (and according to the author) doing this leads to a whole bunch of nothing. You can’t have it all or do it all.

To be an essentialist, you have to make sacrifices and even say no when you don’t have many alternatives. You have to focus on one thing before moving on to the next and you have to make a clear difference between what’s really important and what’s not.

My opinion on the book
I read this book after ‘the subtle art of not giving a fuck’ and ‘mindset’ and it was a great read. It was quite a short book which was pleasantly surprising and like most of these types of books it was an easy read.
I liked how the term essentialism was introduced and then elaborated. There were many examples that showed the life of different essentialists often in the corporate life. The only thing I personally didn’t like was that a lot of the examples given, were about people working in or running a company. Nevertheless all rules of essentialism can be applied to anyones life.

I would advise this book to people who are doing it all, but aren’t finishing much. It’s probably the shortest book I’ve read and reviewed and I promise that you won’t lose much time reading it. You will gain knowledge on ways to spend your time better and you’ll hopefully learn to differentiate important matters from less important matters.

Let me know in the comment section which books you’ve read and would recommend. I hope you enjoyed this post!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Anatomy videos

While I was studying for my anatomy course past year I must admit that I had a hard time. Anatomy is one of those courses where you need to get a lot of information in your brain in a short period of time. What helped me most, especially for anatomy, were videos. There are obviously a ton of videos online but these were the ones I found most useful because they helped me visualize the material and they contained a lot of mnemonics.

1. Medzcool
I loved the mnemonics that were used and explained in these videos. Especially for the cranial nerves. If you prefer other mnemonics than the ones mentioned in the video, check out the comment section!

 

2. Dr. Preddy
Give this man an award asap! If you don’t have enough time to learn all the arm and hand muscles this is your man! He is able to teach all of the arm muscles and their innervation in two brief videos! These videos are filmed by students but they’re useful nevertheless.

Arm muscles part 1
Arm muscles part 2

3. AnatomyZone
The youtube channel of anatomy zone contains almost all information about myology! These videos show our muscles from all angles which helps to memorize origin and insertion points. These also give a good image of the location of each muscle, artery and vein.
There is also an AnatomyZone site where you can find all of these videos for free you can click on the link to check it out!

I hope you enjoyed this post and found these tips useful. Medical students often rely on tips coming from fellow medical students and having a lot of tips definitely makes a difference when it comes to studying effectively. If you have tips that are helpful to study anatomy (or other courses) leave them in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

 

SYNAP – reblog

Today I wanted to share Synap with you. It’s a fairly new concept and as a medical student I can do no more but to promote amazing work other medical students are able to put out there. Synap is one of them. You can find all the information regarding Synap down below or on their blog.

REBLOG: Synap is an online education platform created by two medical students – James Gupta and Omair Vaiyani – to make studying easier. Synap lets you create, practice and share Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with your friends.

We have a huge range of practice questions and exam banks for doctors, nurses, dentists and physician’s associates – including some premium content provided by Oxford University Press written for final year medical exams, and the specialty board exams such as MRCP, FRCA, FRCP and MRCS.

To learn more about how Synap works, check out the short animation below!

 

What I loved most about Synap is that it’s an interdisciplinary site so it’s not only great for doctors but also for nurses and dentists!

Thanks for passing by! If you enjoyed this post check out SYNAP via links above and let me know in the comment section what you think of it!

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Prepping and how I study

I’ve already talked about my improved study techniques but today I’m going to talk about the three things that made the biggest difference in my results!

1 Preparing notes ahead

When i go to lectures I make sure that I’ve done everything ahead of time. If i don’t i’m just waisting my time and the professors time. Preparation is key. I like to make notes ahead of time and take those to class. Some people prefer reading through their notes, I do this when I don’t have enough time to type out my notes but this works great as well.

Along with this I reread all of these notes while going home. I take public transport so I often wait for my bus or metro. Those 5 minutes make a difference. It’s small but all small bits help! The time I need to get home varies but I spend an average of 1hour to 1hour30 to get home. Instead of waisting i try to benefit from that.

2 Visuals (other sources)

For medicine looking out for other sources is a good way to look at your courses differently. Especially if you don’t know the difference between things that are more important and things that are not. I watch a ton of videos and if there are things in my course that other videos emphasize on it means that it’s probably quite important. I personally loved ‘Shomu’s biology’ on youtube because he’s able to explain quite difficult concepts in an easy way.

3 Reading

Not only reading through your own course or textbooks but using other medical books is a great way to retain difficult topics. Different books often explain concepts differently and that is something that may or may not work for you.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Let me know what your tips are in the comment section down below.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Changing my study method

The new school year has begun for some of you and I wanted to update you on my new study method since it might help you! I’ve switched it up quite a lot and I’ve finally found a good way to make sure that I know my courses better. Since courses in med school are quite voluminous having a good study technique really makes a difference. I make sure that during class I write down what’s important. I follow the slides that are projected on a big screen and make sure that I listen to what the professor says. That way I can understand the most important concepts in our books.

The studying process is something that’s often pushed back to the weekend. Before studying I read my notes and then start. Everything in these courses is valuable information and needs to be known. There is no such thing as more important/less important (unfortunately 😦 )! Instead of just using one study method I now use a combination of different techniques. This helps me to make a difference in concepts I fully and concepts that need more time.

First method: there are parts of my books that I read multiple times and make sure that I understand what I’m reading. This doesn’t take a lot of time and I do this multiple times per day or even per week to make sure that I still know what the course is all about.

The second method that I like, is making question sheets on a part of my course. I make these sheets for parts of my course that I have trouble memorizing and I’ve noticed that this technique forces me to really actively read and my notes. I only do this for several parts of my courses because writing questions down takes up time.

Last but not least the third technique I use is making resumes of my printed notes. I personally don’t advise going for this technique in med school. I feel like while making these I’m not actively thinking about the subject I’m studying. Making resumes doesn’t only take a lot of time it makes you have less time to revise and consolidate the information – this technique didn’t work as well for me as the other two techniques but I do like to make these before going into my classes.

The key to these techniques is not about the time you put in making them. It’s about actively making them and thinking about everything that’s important. Active studying is more efficient and will help you memorize everything faster.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what study technique you prefer in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

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

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