Every year we have Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house and the past couple times we’ve had gatherings at her house, it rains! We were joking around that we’ve solved the drought – we just need to keep having parties at her place. Someone call Governor Brown!
Below you can see the rain soaked tables. Thankfully the covers from her previous party were still up so the rest of the tables were nice and dry.
My cousins did an awesome job with the decor, as usual! I loved all the fall colors in everything – so many autumn vibes. It was pretty chilly because of the rain but that actually made it feel more like Thanksgiving.
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The past week or so has been pretty hectic with my birthday, going to a talk by Paul Farmer and finals so I thought I’d just do a general update on all that. I’ve never been a big fan of making a big deal about my birthdays. I’ve just always felt like it’s more a day to celebrate my mom, because she’s the one who worked so hard all those years ago. But with the madness that is finals week in medical school, I wanted something to look forward to. At midnight, hubby gave me my presents and a wonderfully hilarious card. After class we went to this bakery/coffee house near campus. Other than the fact that it closes super early, it’s a really nice place to study during the week. It’s kind of hidden so doesn’t get too much traffic and they have big tables (and outlets!!).
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I’ve recently been more interested in DIY projects to make our home homier. We’ve been in this apartment for just over a year but I’m still constantly moving things around/adding things. I’ll be doing a post soon on home decor with photos of where we’re at now and tips on how to work on your home while on a budget.
Doing arts/crafts is such a great study break and I love envisioning projects and seeing how they turn out. It’s definitely nice to use the right side of my brain every so often because it’s pretty neglected and as our learning coach once said to me ‘you need an outlet for your creative side’ so here we are!
In college, I had cork boards above my bed with photos, concert tickets, movie stubs, event flyers, etc. but doing that in my ‘grown up’ apartment just felt a little immature so I wanted to do something to class it up. I had this matte teal acrylic paint leftover from a previous project and the cork boards from my college apartment so of course I started painting them during study breaks while I watched TV. Most of the furniture in our apartment is a dark chocolaty brown and I love how the teal looks against it. It compliments the brown really well and also makes the apartment brighter with a pop of color.
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It’s been kind of serious on the blog the past couple posts so I wanted to keep things light and share how I celebrated Eid al-Adha yesterday! Eid al-Adha is a major holiday celebrated around the world by Muslims. It’s a celebrations of Abraham’s and his son’s willingness to sacrifice in obedience to God and God’s ultimate mercy. If you have any questions about the holiday or Islam in general, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to skip classes but decided to dress up a bit since it was Eid after all! I paired this royal blue top with black pants and the Steve Madden booties I got over summer. I don’t wear this top very often but I loooove the color. I love the way it pops and it looks great in a lot of different combinations. I also like the almost peplum-like way it falls.
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In order to become a practicing physician, in addition to attending medical school, we also have to take national licensing exams (USMLEs or ‘boards’). The first of these exams is known colloquially as ‘step one’ and is supposed to be the most difficult of them all. At most U.S. medical schools, students take the exam after they finish their first two years of med school. Most schools have a 6-8 week period after classes end in the second year that are designated specifically for studying for the exam. Some students take it earlier in the period and use the rest of time for vacation and others take it right before third year begins so they have more time to study.
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, it takes me a reaaaaally long time to understand and memorize material so I have to be really careful about my study schedules and make sure I review throughout each block in addition to learning new material. So when it comes to studying for step one, I know that I need to start early. Below I’ve included the resources I’ll be using over the next few months during second year and before the designated step one studying period starts. This, of course, is just what I think will work best for me. Many students wait until January to even think about the boards or don’t even study until the designated studying period starts. But I think it’s important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that’ll work best for you.
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One of my favorite things about second year so far is that we have much fewer hours of required classes and classes in general. It’s a lot more independent learning and since I do best studying on my own anyway (I’m a slow learner and have to repeat everything at least ten times before I retain it), it feels a bit more manageable. And now that hubby is no longer commuting and officially moved into our apartment, I love having slow mornings when I can just sip my coffee at home and we can catch up.
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I’ve been wanting to do this post for a few weeks now and I thought today would be a good day to do it since there are a good variety of things I can talk about (and the whole post won’t be about me sitting at my desk in my PJs studying all day). I’ve seen quite a few bloggers do similar posts and I think it’s a really neat way to get to know the more ‘behind the scenes’ of the day.
- 9:00 AM – We didn’t have lecture until later this morning so I got to sleep in, which was really nice. Originally, I wanted to go on a quick run before class but didn’t sleep very well and woke up exhausted so just ended up going back to sleep. The weather has been really nice here in the mornings so I made a cup of coffee and had breakfast on the balcony.
- 10:00 AM – 12:15 PM – We had another microbiology lecture this morning on a bunch of bacterias (corynebacteria, bordatella, pseudomonas and heliobacter for those of you who are curious). One of our professors likes to do a ‘flipped classroom’ style with his lectures and I personally really love it. It forces me to prepare ahead of time and also makes much more sense because he provides reasoning for why everything works the way it does. Microbiology is so memorization heavy, which is pretty much what I’m the worst at, so any reasoning/logic to why things work the way they do is so helpful. He also teaches using cases instead of just presenting the facts about the pathogens, which helps put it all in a clinical context.
- 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM – After lecture, I rushed home to shower and change into formal clothes for pediatric rounds. I finally got to style these slacks I got from LOFT over summer.
- 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM – Before heading to rounds, I had lunch with my dad and hubby at one of my favorite restaurant downtown and had the most delicious open face veggie sandwich. The food there is so fresh and they serve the best fresh fruits as a side.
- 1:40 PM – 2:00 PM – Rushed to the hospital to meet the pediatrician for rounds. There was a bit of traffic but fortunately didn’t take that long. It was only my second time at this hospital so I didn’t really know my way around but luckily it didn’t take too long to figure out where I was going.
- 2:00 PM – 4:20 PM – I saw pediatric patients with one of my classmates shadowing a pediatrician in our community. It was my first time every working with goobers in a medical setting and it was really interesting to see the differences between caring for adults and children. We also saw a variety of ages and it was interesting to see how providing care varied from a 3 week old, to a 2 year old, to a 6 year old and a 15 year old. Also picked up some cool tricks from the pediatrician on how to get younger patients to cooperate with physical exam. Tiny humans also tend to attract various pathogens because their immune systems are still developing so we got a lot of exposure to the material we’ve been learning in microbio this block. I’m not sure if pediatrics is something I’d ever pursue as a career but it was definitely a really fun afternoon.
- 4:20 PM – 5:00 PM – There was a bit of traffic on the drive home so it took about twice as long to get back home as it did to get to the hospital. I usually get really annoyed in traffic but I’d been having such a great day, it didn’t really get to me.
- 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM – Hung out with hubby and watched a couple episodes of Dexter/The West Wing on Netflix and worked on the beginnings of this post/edited photos to add in here. I’ve recently been watching The West Wing as my ‘study break’ show and I like it way more than House of Cards. HOC was waaaaaay to dark for me. I feel like TWW keeps it real but also is somewhat uplifting at times. And the last thing I need when I’m tired of studying is to lose even more faith in the world.
- 6:45 PM – 7:15 PM – Went on a walk with hubby. We try to do this every evening that we’re home and it isn’t scorching outside. Today was a really nice day and I reached my goal of 5k steps! I know that’s not really much but when you spend most of your day just sitting around and studying, it can be difficult.
- 7:15 PM – 9:00 PM – I had put some meat in the fridge to thaw earlier in the day so that I could make dinner but we ended up having leftovers from lunch with my dad so we just reheated that. I made a iced mango black tea in bulk yesterday so I’ve been sipping that throughout the evening.
- 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM – I’ll be reviewing the bacterium that we learned about in lecture today and going over the mini-paper I’ll be presenting in PBL (problem based learning) on Friday morning. Also going to try to a quick run through of the lecture we’re having tomorrow morning before PBL so that it’s not completely foreign in class.
- 11:00 PM – 11:30 PM – Continue reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I’m about halfway through the book right now and really want to finish it during this block. I try to read at least one book per block. So far this text has been really educational and eyeopening. I’ll probably do a book review/summary once I’m finished.
- 11:30 PM – And then it’s lights out! I try to sleep before midnight when I can so that I can actually process what’s going on in lecture and all that the following day.
Hope that helped give some insight into what a typical day usually looks like! There’s usually a couple more hours of studying involved but second year has been a lot nicer in terms of the numbers of hours we’re actually at school/doing required activities. So on the days that run to about 4-5 PM, I consider them more self care days. We have the long weekend coming up and I’ll be reviewing all the material we’ve covered in the block thus far and will probably try to take a day completely off to spend with family and friends. Hope you all have a great weekend!
Now that I’m back in school, we’ve been having clinical days which means dressing up as a ‘student doctor.’ This summer I did some shopping for professional clothing at LOFT. They were having some really great sales as usual and I picked up quite a few great pieces that I’m really excited to style. When dressing professionally, I still make being comfortable a big priority because who doesn’t want to be comfortable…? But on the real, it’s important because a lot of physical exams require maneuvering patients and that can be difficult if you’re not dressed comfortably.
Gray has always been one of my favorite neutrals, especially for clothing because it’s so easy to pair with anything. I was really attracted to this top because of the unique shoulder/neckline. The material is super thin, which is nice especially when you have to wear your white coat over it.
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Earlier this week we had one of the best lectures I’ve ever attended in my life. Dr. Keith E. Hall spoke to us about how identifying and focusing on our strengths (rather than our weaknesses) can help us with improving our lives both in general and as medical students. He started the lecture with the following quote:
“What would happen if we studied what is right with people?”
– Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.
And just five minutes before this lecture began we had been learning about various strains of streptococcus. He was asking this question to a group of students who have dedicated their lives to studying pathology and learning how to ‘fix’ it. But when I read this question, it really got me thinking. What would happen if instead of complaining about patients being non-compliant, I tried to understand their strengths and created a plan accordingly? What would happen if I suggested lifestyle modifications in a way that resonated with the specific patient I was talking to? What would happen if I stopped comparing myself to my classmates?
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One of my favorite ways to de-stress is trying new dishes but sometimes when my schedule is ridiculous (or I’m just feeling lazy…) I just want to whip up something easy that’ll last a couple meals. My go-to meals for this are baked pasta with either chicken or shrimp or a ground chicken dish. I usually try to do at least a bit of cooking on Sunday nights to avoid the stress of it during the week but this weekend kind of slipped away somehow so I ended up cooking this simple baked pasta chicken pasta dish on Monday.
I really don’t like using recipes when I cook because it kind of takes all the fun out of it. Most of the meals I make have onions, mushrooms and spinach as a base and then I just add some meat and seasoning. I was writing down what I used to send to my mom so I thought I’d post it here too.
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