Blogging with a purpose.

Blogging is something I had always done, ever since I was younger. However, back then it was really personal.  I was writing and posting online, but it never really was intended for reading by anyone other than me.  It was just a way for me to let my feelings out. This blog is the complete opposite of that.  It was the first time where people could actually be reading my writing. When I first started this blog, I was terrified of that.  The fact that anybody out there could read what I wrote, and that people actually would be reading it, was so weird to me.  Another difference is that this blog has a theme, a purpose to it.  All of my past blogs were more like random ramblings from a teenage girl that didn’t quite make any sense.

I think that this kind of blogging, posting with a specific audience in mind, helped me improve my writing so much more.  Knowing that other people would be reading my writing made me more careful and more meticulous.  No longer was I posting without reading through.

I also appreciate how this blog has really helped me gather my thoughts.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my science world and lock myself away that the happenings of my daily life get kind of jumbled in my head.  It’s a nice break from the pre-med madness to take an hour or so to sit, write, and reflect. I definitely need a lot more of that in my life. 🙂

 

Social Media for Med Students

Being on the pre-med pathway is tough.  Medical school, I’m sure, is even more difficult.  I think one of the things I’m most scared of about medical school is the realization that I’ll be in it by myself with no one to really lean on.  As an undergrad, I feel like my classmates and I are all in it together.  We help each other and can depend on each other for help with homework and classes.  But when it gets to medical school, the competition becomes fierce.  Everyone’s gunning to be in the top of the class and beat each other out.  However, I have recently discovered a few specialist social networking sites that can be a lifeline for me and other potential medical students, helping us make useful connections with others in the field and allow us reach out to others in the same situation as us.

1. DoctorsHangout 

DoctorsHangout is an informal social network, sort of in the Facebook style, intended for medical professionals and students.  The network allows users to share photos, videos, posts, and blogs.  Another cool feature is the jobs board, which has many job listings available for those that are looking!

2. Student Doctor Network

This isn’t completely like a traditional social network.  It’s more so a forum site where students can go for advice.  They feature articles and interviews from physicians that seem quite helpful!  The emphasis of the posts are mostly academic, so it’s a bit more business-like when compared to DoctorHangout.  This site seems like a great place to look for academic advice from others who know exactly what we will be going through.

3. Medical Mingle

This social network provides career resources, forums, and blog posts.  Another cool feature is that users can share photos, videos, and all the other aspects of social media making this network much more personal.  It may not be as active as the other websites, but it’s still a good resource for information.  It also may be beneficial to check it out when looking for jobs after medical school!

Though I am not in medical school (yet!), I’m definitely going to check these websites out. They may prove to be beneficial to me when I find myself in the process of applying to medical school.  I encourage you all to check out these social networking sites and utilize them as well! 🙂

Know of any other helpful medical social networking sites? Comment below and let me know!

I haven’t really been able to post as much lately. I feel like school keeps getting busier and class keeps getting harder.  Finals are in a month… less than a month actually, and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by.  With that in mind, I realize I have to come up with some sort of study schedule that I can start now so I won’t be behind by the time finals roll around. A set study schedule is something I have been sorely lacking this entire semester. My problem is that I end up hardcore studying for a test a week before and end up disregarding all my other classes.  It’s a horrible process. I get behind and then spend that week trying to catch up before the exam.  It’s not very fun. I vow to change that in the last month of this semester. Studying, even two hours a day, starting now will help so much when it comes to finals. I know it means having to study all throughout Thanksgiving break, but it must be done! So here’s to getting work done and ending the year right!

Lessons Learned

I can’t believe that my sophomore year is almost halfway done! It seems like just yesterday I was a wide-eyed, hopeless freshman.

Having almost a year and a half of college under my belt, I have had more than enough time to make mistakes & learn from them.

Here are some of the lessons I have learned.

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Volunteering!

As I’m sure many of you already know, volunteer work is an essential part of a premed student’s medical school application.  Though it’s not an actual premed requirement, with how important it is to medical schools, it might as well be.  You see, I never actually realized just how important volunteer work actually was.  I mean, I knew it was a good thing to have on one’s resume, but it never clicked with me that it had so much weight with medical schools.  

I was talking with a friend of mine a few weeks ago about this.  She had just graduated from college and this past summer was taking the necessary steps to apply to medical school.  During a meeting with an academic advisor, she was told that she wouldn’t be accepted into medical school.  When she told me this, I was baffled.  This friend of mine had one of the highest GPAs upon graduation, did hours upon hours of research work with faculty, and had even gotten her scientific research paper published! So why exactly was she told that she wouldn’t make it into medical school? Because she hadn’t devoted any of her undergrad years to volunteer work within the community.  Crazy, right?

As important volunteer work is for a medical school application, I’d hate for it to be something that premed students think they have to do as a means to end.  Volunteer work is supposed to be something you enjoy doing because you legitimately enjoy giving back to your community.  I currently volunteer at Children’s Hospital for Orange County (CHOC), and I absolutely love it!  On top of providing me with helpful medical experience, volunteering at CHOC provides me with a good time and the satisfaction of knowing that I’m impacting my community.  It’s an awesome feeling knowing that you’re helping people out and loving it at the same time.  Volunteering a hospital also reinforced my desire to become a doctor and work in the medical field!

So even if you’re volunteering just to add it on to your resume or just because you like it, know that it is an awesome experience and something I highly encourage everyone to do at least once in your life.  It’s so great to know that just the little things you do are positively impacting the lives of others. 🙂 

The Importance of the Gen Ed

A lot of the times, students try and rush through their GE (general education) classes during their undergrad years, especially science majors!  We get so caught up trying to take all of our major classes, all at the same time, that we never give our GE classes a second thought.  The thing is, you DON’T have to take a course-load full of science classes, and you shouldn’t.  GE classes are there to help you branch out of your major and experience different subjects that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to. They’re the classes that interest you and that you take because you want to the them, not because you have to.

General Ed classes help students become more well-rounded and it’s also a nice break in-between the difficult science classes.  Medical schools want to see well-rounded students who are enthusiastic about various subjects, not just those who are solely devoted to science without any other interests.  By taking GEs, you learn what you like and enjoy, broadening your horizons in a way that a full-load of science classes just wouldn’t be able to do.  A full schedule of science classes is a death wish. Every class kind of blends together.  By the end of it all, you get so stressed out and tired.  There’s absolutely no point to that because later on in graduate or medical school, it’s a guarantee that you will be 10x as stressed.  You might as well enjoy classes and school now while you can.  Find the balance that works for you and pick classes that actually interest you!  Don’t just settle for “easy” GEs that you aren’t interested in.  In the end, they’ll just be extremely boring and be a complete waste.

Another important benefit to general ed classes is that they help you better learn how to write and express yourself.  They encourage creativity! When it comes down to applying to medical school, writing an admissions essay is required.  How do you expect yourself to set yourself apart if you don’t know how to write a creative, unique personal statement?  You need that certain creative skill and science classes won’t teach you that, but GE classes will.

So when it comes down to registering for classes, pick some GEs that interest you!  They’re not a waste and will actually be able to benefit you in the end.  So take that English or Anthropology class or whatever class you’ve always wanted to take and enjoy it! It’ll be worth it.

So let’s recap:

  • You don’t have to take a full-load of science classes.
  • Full course load of science classes = death wish.
  • Screw the “easy” GE; take something that actually interests you.
  • GE classes encourage creativity.
  • Be well-rounded!

What do you guys think? Are general ed classes just a waste of time or do you think they can prove to be beneficial in the end? Comment below!

Global Medical Brigades

This past week I attended an information session for one of the clubs on campus, Global Medical Brigades.  GMB is one of the clubs I had always wanted to get involved in, but felt like I never had the time.  This year is different, however.  No matter what, I am going to stay involved with the club and make time for it.

Global Medical Brigades, which is a specific program under the Global Brigades corporation, sends a group of volunteer students and doctors to provide comprehensive health services in rural communities with limited access to healthcare.  Brigade volunteers have the opportunity to shadow doctors in medical consultations and also assist in pharmacy under the direction of licensed pharmacists.  So not only does the trip allow you to positively impact others, but it also gives you a unique medical experience that could not be achieved elsewhere!

Last spring, the students at Chapman went on a brigade to Panama.  I’ve talked to many who have been actively involved in GMB and they absolutely love it.  Many have said that it was the trip of a lifetime and such a unique experience, which makes me even more eager and excited to be a part of it.

Here is a video of Chapman GMB on their Panama 2012 trip:

I’ve heard that while the medical brigade was a ton of fun, it was also a lot of hard work.  However, that doesn’t deter me from wanting to go onto the trip.  If anything, it makes me even more excited for a trip that will be even more meaningful and worthwhile.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

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If you’re even considering going into the medical field as a profession, there may come a time when you ask yourself, “Is all of this work really going to be worth it in the end?”  It’s a completely valid question.  I mean, after say about 14 years of schooling, you’ll want to be reassured in the fact that after all the time and hard work you put into it, you’ll be able to reap the benefits in the end.

From what I’ve observed after spending tons of time at my local hospital, being a doctor gives you this great position of power.  People find out you’re a doctor and you immediately gain their trust.  They want to listen to you and have faith in what you say.  You gain so much credibility all from the fact that you have the title “doctor” in your name.  Those fourteen years of school turn you into a leader and role model for others to look up to and trust.

There’s also the aspect of financial stability and security.  Many know that doctors do make quite a hefty salary.  A physician’s salary ranges from $150,000 – $300,000.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is excellent, increasing at a rate of 24%, which is faster than average.  Job growth will occur because of the expansion and increase of health-care related industries.  By working in the medical field, you pretty much secure a job for the rest of your life.  Medicine is always going to be in demand.

Another benefit, and this is probably the biggest factor that most consider when going into the medical field, is the fact that you’re significantly impacting someone’s life each and every day.  That satisfaction of knowing you made a difference in someone’s life by doing a simple check-up or something more intense like open heart surgery is a feeling that cannot be replicated.  It’s the smile on a little girl’s face when you tell her that she doesn’t have to get any more shots and the sigh of relief from a family whose loved one has finally gone into cancer remission is what makes the long hours, stress, time, and hard work all the more meaningful.  It is the opportunity to positively impact the life of another that’ll push us through those 14-something years of school.

Though at times we may feel stressed and are so close to giving up, we have to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, burning brightly and just waiting for us to reach it.  We just have to push through and keep going through the tough times.  After all, nothing worthwhile in life comes easy.