I’m kind of cheating this week because I just don’t have time to form thoughts about anything outside of internal medicine. I’m 2 weeks away from my shelf exam and digging deep to give everything I have to keep working hard and studying while pulling 12 hour shifts every 3 days. Working through weekends for 8 weeks is taking a toll on me and it’s getting harder to be all-in for my patients when this exam is looming over me. So with that being said, I’m featuring some parts of a Doximity feature I wrote a while back that will let you get to know more about me. There’s 14 questions total, but I’ll drop my answers to the first 8 here and you can follow the link at the end to learn more!
1. How did you get into starting The Balancing Act and how has it helped you as a med student?
I wanted to have more purposeful social media and felt like I could have an impact through a blog. I represent one of the unfortunately low number of (in comparison) African American females in medicine. So, while I write for a broad audience, I recognize how important minority representation is in my field. My blog allows me to be a role model on a larger scale.
2. What technology is essential to your study routine?
My laptop. I pretty much do everything on it. In third year, most of your studying is doing practice questions and reading one or two books particular to the rotation you’re on. I take notes on google docs on my laptop and review them on my phone when I get spurts of free time. My planner is also essential because that’s where I list everything that I want to accomplish for the day.
3. What is your #1 study tip?
Learn your study style as soon as possible. At my school, first year was pass/fail, which made it the ideal time to do that. Are you digital or paper-pencil? Do you like flashcards? Do videos help you understand things? Partner vs. group vs. self-study? When you discover what works for you, you take control of the information. So much comes at you and you can’t control the volume, but you can control how you will tackle it. Close second is to set goals each time you sit down to study — always have a plan and make sure it’s realistic.
4. How do you keep yourself motivated or get out of study ruts?
I usually reach out to a friend so they can give me a pep talk. In med school, everyone knows what you’re going through, so I’ve found that my med school friends know the right thing to say to motivate me. Sometimes taking a quick 20 min break to watch something mindless will help reset my brain.
5. What does your daily study schedule look like?
First and second year things were all over the place as I worked around school and extracurriculars. Now in third year, it’s pretty standard. I’m home by 5 on average. I do anywhere from 20–40 questions, review them and take notes, then do readings. I watch 3–4 online med-ed videos a night depending on where I am in the rotation (I watch them at the beginning to set a baseline). I take advantage of early mornings whenever I can.
6. What would your classmates be most surprised to learn about you?
It is very hard for me to memorize things. My brain just doesn’t do rote memorization. I suck at flashcards. Sometimes I can make it happen but for the most part I have to just understand things and make connections for information to stay in my head. In the long run it helps, but in the short term it’s pretty frustrating.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t in medical school?
I’d be an event planner — probably for big parties and weddings. I just love seeing spreadsheets, budgets, sketches, written ideas, etc. come to life. I’m also very organized and detail-oriented, so planning things satisfies that for me.
8. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in medical school?
Everyone has their own journey. I can’t compare what happens to me with what’s happening with someone else. I can only stay in my lane and do the best that I can. I’m in competition with myself, no one else.
Hope everyone has a wonderful week! I have a hot date with these UWorld questions for the rest of the night (or as long as I can stay awake).