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Work, work, fish tacos!

Hello world, I’m alive. I promise. Step 1 is done and M3 year is here! It’s been ages since my last blog post and so much has happened! In some ways, I feel like a completely different person. I finished the grueling preclinical years, passed usmle step 1, and completed my first rotation – internal medicine!

Studying for Step 1 was endless. I started at the end of March and worked non-stop for 5 1/2 long weeks. After the first week, I quickly realized my Step 1 schedule was unrealistic and a bit too ambitious. I couldn’t keep up with doing and reviewing questions as well as reviewing all the additional material I wanted to, so I adapted. I focused on doing World Questions and reviewing First Aid, which made my life so much simpler and studying became less overwhelming. I discovered some new study locations too! Rackham anyone? It’s beautiful! Step 1 is behind me now, and I’m happy I survived!

Doesn't this place inspire you to learn?

In the last three months, I completed the grueling three months of internal medicine. At first, it was overwhelming. EKG quiz? Chest X-ray quiz? Pattern recognition AND shelf exam? Oh my. I was going to have to learn a lot.. and quickly. I bought question books, general textbooks, and a shelf study book, so I was well equipped and ready! During my first month of medicine, I was assigned to outpatient, which is very similar to most of our typical doctor-patient experiences in a clinic from 9-5 p.m. I loved working with so many different physicians, but sometimes it would get dizzing with the 15-20 minute appointments. The best part of internal medicine was my month on GI/Liver (a secret passion of mine). I had amazing attendings and residents, so I was excited to go to work every morning. By the end of that month, I felt like a young doctor in training! I even diagnosed herpes zoster on my own! Looking back on my three months, I’m amazed at how much and how quickly I learned. Hopefully the base knoweldge I gained on IM will help with all my future rotations.. cross fingers! 

Now that medicine has ended, I’ve adopted the role of psychiatrist for the next 6 weeks. From learning about LFTs, I’ve transitioned to understanding the mind and behavior. Is this child delayed or autistic? Is this post-partum depression or pregnancy psychosis? It’s still a puzzle in my mind, but very interesting!

Even with all the excitment of rotations, I’ve sqeezed in some time to enjoy beautiful AA since it’s my first summer in town (last year I was climbing the pyramids in Mexico, remember?). So far, I’ve eaten Black Pearl fish tacos at Taste of Ann Arbor and walked the miles of booths at the Ann Arbor Art Fair!

Fish Tacos at Taste of AA! Delicious!

If I manage to escape from clinic, I plan to squeeze in more fun time this summer.. and maybe some more fish tacos! See you soon! Enjoy! 🙂


No Sleep Til Step One?

Hey everyone!

This will be my final post before I disappear for boards studying. I chose to stay in Ann Arbor for this period, so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we have been having lately! Ann Arbor in the Spring really is BEAUTIFUL!

Today is officially the first day of boards studying for most of my classmates, but I’ve chosen to take the day off to stock up on rainbow highlighters, delicious Trader Joe’s meals, and finally do laundry. I finished the M2 reproductive sequence exams last night, so this is my first and final day of relaxation before I crack open my First Aid 2012 – now in color!

I’m happy to announce I finally made a study schedule too! Big accomplishment in my eyes and necessary since I’m starting tomorrow! I looked at more than 10 schedules from different friends and upperclassmen in the process of developing my colorful schedule (see below). It looks pretty intense, so the challenge will be to stay focused and motivated! Cross fingers!

My extremely-ambitious-but-hopefully-feasible Step One Study Schedule! Can you tell I love color?

All my classmates are experiencing the same rush of stress and emotions about Step One. Inspired by Step One and our stress, my class made an awesome class video parody and posted it to YouTube! Check it out: No Sleep Til Step One (UMMS 2014) and my screenshot below!

Screenshot of my 8 seconds of fame in the UMMS 2014 "No Sleep Til Step One" Music Video.. You would be angry too if someone disturbed your 29 day isolation study period!

I wish this post had less study talk but unfortunately its that time of year in every medical student’s education. My next post will probably be when I’m back home in Panama before the start of M3 year, so stay tuned!

Where did M2 year go?

Hey everyone!

It has been a while since my last post and I feel like a lot has happened! Where to start?? How about the scary reality that in less than 2 weeks, I will take my final pre-clinical sequence exam – reproductive – and begin studying for Step 1 of the USMLE boards!?

While the first two days of the reproductive sequence has been quite interesting (“Candida.. and I don’t mean the country to the north”), I feel guilty admitting it is the last thing on my mind! Yes, I still need to pass Reproductive (and complete my M2 Autopsy requirement) in order to start studying for Step 1, but I’m entirely distracted by the fact that I still haven’t made my Step 1 study schedule! Am I completely unprepared already? I’m not sure, but I must tackle this big item on my pre-boards To-Do list as soon as possible! Other items on my list include stocking up on Trader Joe’s meals (to keep me happy and fed), doing laundry (I need clean yoga pants AKA my study uniform), and finally cleaning up my apartment (with the hopes that it stays clean until boards time). A few of my friends will be going home to study, which I wish I could also do, but I think I’ll be more focused studying in Ann Arbor. I have my exam currently scheduled for May 4th, which gives me about 5 1/2 weeks to master everything, and then I will be going home to Panama for a short break before we start M3 orientation. It is crazy to think that in just a few months I’ll be walking onto the wards! I’ll probably have to invest heavily in some new professional attire before then so I can really embrace the look and role of future doctor!

Apart from the excitement of boards and M3 year, the end of second year also signals the end of my reign as “La Presidenta” of the Latin American Native American Medical Association (LANAMA). We had an amazing year coordinating a variety of events including community service, medical spanish, mentorship, educational seminars, conferences, and admissions/recruitment. We already elected a great team of M1s that have a deep desire to contribute to the Latino and Native American communities, so I have faith that they will work hard to ensure the success of LANAMA! Any future M1s out there, look out for LANAMA at second look weekend and orientation! They are awesome!

LANAMA in front of Mass Gen in Boston for the Latino Medical Student Association National Conference 2012! One of my favorite memories of this year! Next year's conference location? Miami!

LANAMA 2011-2012 and 2012-2013!

Well, the time has come for me to finally open my delightfully thick reproductive sequence packet and get to work, but I promise to blog again before I disappear for boards. Maybe by then I’ll have my study schedule done? I may just have to share that masterpiece with the the world! 🙂

Getting into the rhythm of things…

Hey everyone!

I’m back in school after celebrating another great New Years in Spain with friends and family! Since arriving back in Ann Arbor, I finished our final Clinical Foundations of Medicine week in preparation for yesterday’s M2 Comprehensive Clinical Assessment (CCA) Exam. The exam was both a written and practical exam where we were assessed on all the details of pulmonary, cardiovascular, abdominal, musculoskeletal, and neuro examination techniques and basic diagnosis, as well as history taking and verbal presentation skills. It’s crazy to think how much we’ve learned over the last two years! Yet, at the same time, I feel completely unprepared and nervous with the reality of becoming an M3 in a few months. Will I magically blossom into a competent and confident medical student? I guess we’ll see! For now, I just hope I passed all the components of the CCA!

Although the CCA was on my mind all week, I was able to take a small break on Saturday with the annual Biorhythms show! Biorhythms is the medical school’s largest musical show produced by and starring medical students in many different dances and singing combinations. This year I took part in the Chinese dance organized by my friend Grace and an outside Chinese choreographer. We worked on our dance every Monday night since October, so I was excited to finally show off our moves to the entire medical community! In the end, everyone was very impressed with our costumes and drum moves, so I guess practice makes perfect in both art and medicine, right?  Check out our Chinese dance here: (try and spot me!)

Some of the Chinese dance girls! Grace, Sarah, Xixi, and me after our performance!

Now that Biorhythms and the CCA are out of the way, we begin the M2 Gastrointestinal sequence today. I’m sure it will be interesting but a lot of work once again since the packet is 890 pages! Woah. Wish me luck!

Countdown to 2012!

Saludos desde España!

It’s hard to believe two weeks ago I was bundled up in multiple layers of clothing, studying non-stop, and wishing the freezing Michigan weather would end. Now after a relaxing few weeks of winter break, I’ve officially turned off my brain, forgotten about emails, and soaked up all the sun and warmth I possibly can. I’m spending this break in Palma de Mallorca, Spain with my best friend and family. This vacation is exactly what I needed for my health and happiness! Here are some pictures from my trip in Spain:

Palma de Mallorca

After some sightseeing and shopping, time for a coffee break!

Christmas market in Puerto Portals

Amazing cheese pasta at the Christmas market

A closer look at the amazing cheese pasta! Yummy!

How about a powder sugar crepe? Yummy!

I’ll be keeping this blog post short so I can get back to my relaxation, sleep, and food. Tomorrow night is New Years and I’ll be eating 12 grapes in my Spanish countdown to 2012! Best wishes for health and happiness to all! See you in the new year… xoxo