The medical tag

15 questions to learn more about me and my blog

Check out my answers to the 15-Q medical tag to learn more about me and my blog! 

  • Who are you?
    I’m Ijeoma Okoye, a 23 yo first generation American, and third year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia. I like sunsets, long walks on the beach, and the occasional ratchet turn up.
  • When did you start studying medicine or premed courses?
    I began premed studies in 2011 at the University of Georgia and matriculated into med school in 2015 directly from undergrad.
  • What made you choose the medical field?
    Both my parents work in healthcare, but really it wasn’t until high school when I decided to pursue medicine. The only subjects I liked were math and science–I was your typical nerd. I only liked math because I was really good at it, but with the sciences I actually enjoyed the study. I contemplated pharmacy because of all of the chemistry but then considered my personality–how much I like talking to patients, how I wanted to be challenged, and the level of autonomy I wanted in my career–and I landed in medicine.
  • How did you come up with your blog name/username?
    My life has been a balancing act since college as a pre-med, and I don’t think it will ever stop. I think it’s something all pre-health and health professional students can relate to–this constant juggling between our identities as students, leaders, siblings, friends, regular people, etc. It just resonates. My content is also reflective of this balance and I feature people who can speak to the same.
  • How would you describe your blog?
    I’d describe my blog as the perfect blend between encouragement and entertainment for the health/pre-health professional student. I write very casually and lightheartedly but I cover things that are important to touch on in this journey into the healthcare field. I’m honest and transparent with my followers. As a minority blogger, it’s especially important to me that I put myself out there so that other minorities on the ride with me stay encouraged by seeing my journey.
  • What’s your favorite quote?
    – In life, you get out of it what you put into it
    – In all things, we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us
  • Best memory in medical school?
    My roommate and I hosted Christmas parties for our class during our first and second years of med school and they were always so much fun! Med students party way harder than I expected. Must be something about the stress….
  • What’s one course you struggled with?
    I struggled with GI a lot. Whether it was the anatomy with the blood supply or the physiology with all of the different hormones, or the drugs, it was just so hard for me to wrap my head around. I ruled that specialty out very quickly. Even while studying for STEP1, it was always my lowest section and unfortunately I don’t think I ever really conquered it. No success story this time around lol
  • What’s your favorite book?
    I’ve read very many great books, even just in my time in medical school. I think my favorite would be The Alchemist. It’s timeless.
  • What do you do in your free time?
    What free time? HA. No, I’m kidding I do try to make free time and these days when I get some time I will read, blog, exercise, clean, cook, watch a TV show/YouTube videos, call my parents, bother my roommate, call my boyfriend, look up new hairstyles, or hand out with friends if they’re also free.
  • What do you want to major or specialize in?
    I want to do primary care, and leaning towards Family Medicine right now. But I also want to own a gym and do personal training on the side.
  • Who do you look up to?
    My sister, my mother and father. I’m so blessed to not have to look far for role models.
  • How do you study (productively)?
    First step-put my phone on do not disturb and turn my notifications off on my laptop. Second step-establish my game plan for that chunk of time, always keeping it realistic. Then I just jump in. First and second year it was one lecture at a time, one slide at a time (our school does a lot of powerpoint) taking notes on paper or electronically as needed. Now that I’m in third year, it’s watching videos/taking notes, supplemental readings, and boat loads of practice questions
  • How do you stay motivated in medical school?
    I’m self motivated for the most part. But when that eventually fails, I’m motivated by those around me, so I will study with someone and feed off of their energy. If that fails or I don’t want to be around anyone, I think about my future patients and how I need to learn this stuff for them. When that fails, I pray for strength. Sometimes I feel like even that fails and at that point I just need to take a step back, breathe, maybe go for a walk, and come back to it (maybe even the next day).
  • What are your best tips for future medical students?
    First of all, don’t compare yourself to anyone else, because we are all meant to follow different paths to our end destinations. If medicine is truly the path for you, you will get there as long as you keep working hard, surround yourself with the right people, and cancel out any negativity or doubt that tries to come your way. When you get to medical school, buckle up! This is not for the weak hearted. That phrase that the hardest part of medical school is getting in is a lie! But you will learn so much about medicine and about yourself; all of your labors will not be in vain and you’ll find that it is indeed so, so rewarding.

I hope you enjoyed the read! Please subscribe on your way out if you haven’t!

Confronting Failure

New school year brings new challenges.. discussion about failure and coping with it

This post was inspired by the handful of people who’ve reached out to me about their struggles to adapt to the new demands placed on them in a new academic year. I’m sure there are many others in the same boat. For most people the new year is just starting to take off. If you’re a pre-med/pre-health in general, you’re feeling pressure to perform well this year to stay competitive. If you’re a first year professional student, you’ve probably been hit by an 18-wheeler and just trying to pick up the pieces of your life. As a second year, the dark cloud of STEP1 or other board equivalents are starting to encroach, all the while you’re trying to hold leadership and get ready for the tests that are right in front of you. Every year brings on it’s own individual stresses, pressures, and challenges. But also more laughs and memories, deeper understanding, and further mastery of a craft. Each year is a new balancing act, and it can be hard in the beginning to get your footing just right–naturally.

We each give our own meaning to the word failure, but either way it goes it cuts deep, and many times we let it negatievly affect our attitude and actions following. We turn against ourselves, bashing all of the work we put in, interrogating inwardly in attempt to discover the root of the issue. You’re such an idiot is my personal favorite line for myself when I encounter failure. I used to ask myself where did I go wrong? Failure really is a tough pill to swallow, especially for people going into healthcare, as we’re held to a higher academic standard and everything is about being “competitive.” We’re conditioned to place so much of our value in our GPAs and when something threatens to tarnish that, it hurts.

In college I would call my dad when I didn’t do well on an test and he (in true Nigerian fashion) wouldn’t even sympathize with me or validate any of my feelings. He would ask Did you do your best? and once I said yes, he’d say, Then it’s ok, you can’t ask for more from yourself and you can’t change anything now. All you can do it learn and move on. Oddly, his stern message actually would make me feel better; I would feel almost stupid for beating myself up. His message never changed no matter how many times I called him, even in medical school. Of course, I’d also call my parents with good news too, so they knew my potential. With time, I’ve matured enough that I can have that conversation with myself. Every once in a while though, I’d convince myself that my best wasn’t enough, that I could have done more. I know there are other people who do the same. It is such a drain of energy living in the past and present at the same time. When I would tell my sister about it, she would tell me This isn’t the last time you’re going to get grades like that, you’re not always going to excel, so you shouldn’t spend your energy dwelling on it. It’s one test. My family is very straight-to-the-point if you haven’t figured lol.

But I got mentally tougher! And I’ll tell you what I learned that helped me cope with failure. We were not designed to succeed in everything we do. Otherwise we would never have mistakes to learn from, never have obstacles to make us stronger/wiser. It’s only scary because we don’t know when we’re going to fail. And there are many times when it feels like we simply can’t afford to fail. But God knows when we will prevail and when we will fall short. And He has planted people in our lives for us to turn to in either case. When I decided to put my trust in Him, the fear of failure began to wash away. I knew either way that I would be OK, because that is part of His promise to me. With each failure, we become mentally stronger, more resilient, more determined–if we choose to. We can choose to become consumed by our pitfalls or we can choose to thank God for them, learn from the experience, and become better students, clinicians, and leaders. It has taken a lot of growth for me to be able to say, “You gave it your all Ijeoma, you just weren’t meant to make an A this time. But you know what, you’re gonna bounce back and kill it next time.” I’ve become a better student student because of that. It’s all about your mentality, which you (and only you) have the power to control.

I hope this post inspires someone who feels like their school year got off on the wrong foot. I’ve definitely been there, and you are not alone!

When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realize that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives.” – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

 

New rotation, new location–one week down!

Update on OB, life, and embarrassing moments from the week

First week of OB has been awesome! It started out with me being in the wrong place for orientation, which is exactly the type of thing that I would do. People think I’m really smart but in reality I don’t have much common sense. Everything ended up working out though of course. Anyways, being in a rural area as the only student with my preceptor and no residents means that I get to see all the patients and scrub in/assist with all the surgeries. I work with different preceptors throughout my time here which I personally enjoy because I learn even more. And I live right across from the hospital and 2 mins from the surgery center/clinic, which is so great for my sleep, and car. And there’s free breakfast and lunch in the doctors lounge, which I have access to! So I can’t complain.

My first day was GYN clinic which was full of women young and old with all sorts of things going on. From annual physical exams to possible ectopic pregnancies to infertility, I met so many school requirements in just one day. Coincidentally, I watched my preceptor insert an IUD (intrauterine device for contraception) in clinic, and after we finished she trained me on inserting it using a model. Then the next day I was working with a different preceptor doing GYN surgery and there’s a woman also getting the same IUD (under anesthesia)! Literally my the doctor just gave me the IUD and said “OK you’re gonna put this in.” I was praising God in my head that I had just learned about it the day before so I was able to do it with confidence. I worked with the same physician the rest of the week and not only do I scrub in each time, but she lets me operate the camera when she’s doing laparoscopies and she even let me do part (a very small part, she’s not crazy) of a D&C (dilation and curettage). Anything I want to do I just ask! Thursday morning I was in L&D (labor & delivery). I was in my first C-section and all I can say is WOW. I was just blown away. I might have even forgotten to blink. It was weird though because we were talking to mom casually meanwhile I’m looking at her insides. I was thinking if only you knew what was going on on the other side of this drape… The rest of that day was OB clinic which was pretty un-stimulating for the most part bc it’s just monthly check ups and labs. The girl we were supposed to deliver from L&D decided that her cervix wasn’t going to dilate till 8pm so I missed that chance. My preceptor just had me read and present all the fetal heart tracings so I got pretty good at those, and I watched ultrasounds, which I’ll eventually have to do as an assignment. Then Fridays are apparently office OR days so I was back there again–saw stage 4 endometriosis which was pretty gross and so cool at the same time, also sad bc it was preventing the patient from getting pregnant.

I’ve been able to stay on top of my studies without losing sleep also which I’m proud of. We have assigned readings, videos, and online quizzes to do and I also try to squeeze PreTest questions in as well. As for other parts of my life, I got 2 workouts in this week–we’ll shoot for 3 this week. I haven’t explored the city much outside of going out to dinner with my roomie. I got lots of great news this week including winning this scholarship I applied for back in June! And also, my birthday is coming up on Wednesday! So over the weekend I had a brunch with some of my college and med school friends and had so much fun! My parents also took me out for breakfast so I appreciated that very much.

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All in all I’m having a blast to far, and I’m excited to see what this week has in store! Being me, I’ve already racked up my share of embarrassing moments in just 4 days and I’ll tell the top 3 stories for your entertainment pleasure…

Pass the Scissors:
So I’m with my preceptor the first day in the OR and the nurse tells me to get ready to pass the surgeon the scissors–simple enough. Up until this moment I had never passed a surgeon anything so I didn’t know there was a special format. So it took me like 3 repositions and the nurse kept saying “no not like that, turn it the other way”. I just felt like an idiot! Then after the procedure my preceptor showed me the proper way to pass instruments, and she was nice about it so I didn’t mind.

Scrub:
I got fully scrubbed in then I touched the overhead light without the sterile cover thing and then everyone just looked at me like yeeeeeeah you’re not touching anything this time.

A way with words:
This nurse in L&D was asking me about the size of a patient (who was having her c-section that morning) and I didn’t know exactly how to describe her. She specifically wanted to know about her body size. But what I said was she’s like your size…like with her arms and stuff. And honestly she did have similar body size as the nurse in terms of arms and shoulder breadth. But I quickly realized that I basically just told that nurse that she was the same size as a lady giving birth that morning. I think I severed any possibility of a future relationship with her.


Hope you enjoyed the read! If you did, take the next step and S U B S C R I B E today!

Have a wonderful week,

Ijeoma