university

Medical school 2nd year

I’m halfway through my second year of medicine! My exams are done and I’m going to take a short break before getting into the new semester. I have one week before the second semester starts and though I really hoped that I’d have a week off to do fun things and sleep out my week will consist of finishing a paper. I wanted to talk about this first semester of my second year since it was completely different from first year.

-I learned that first year is a breeze compared to second year. It’s easy to say that now that the two biggest blocks of my entire year are over. To all you first-year students out there, these courses only get bigger every single time.
-Never give up. By now medical school consists of really pushing mental boundaries. Though most people give up, those who persist and don’t give up are the ones that will make anything happen.
-The best tip I’ve ever had was to read all of my courses completely through before exams start. This helped me to at least grasp what I was studying and I had a better total-image of my courses.
-Working consistently throughout the year is really important. If you don’t do this by second year, you’re going to get into trouble. I worked consistently throughout the year and still struggled extremely hard during this exam period.
-Workout, you’ll feel more energized and more focussed.
-Treat yourself to a pampering day. I did this once in the two exam-months we had. It can be quite time consuming, but makes you calmer at the same time. So if you can, pamper yourself.

To all students out there I would also like to say the following: it’s often the things that you struggle with the most that end up being the most rewarding. Try as hard as possible and don’t give up! Hard work always pays off.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Junior doctor this is going to hurt: summary and book review

It’s been a while since I’ve done another book review. I read the book ‘Junior doctor, this is going to hurt’ one week ago and the book stayed with me for quite some time. The book was written by Adam Kay, an English gynaecologist. He has written some short diary-type stories about his life as a doctor. This specific book was a Sunday Times bestseller and has received quite some good reviews.

Summary
The book is written in a diary entry style. Every inquiry has a date. The author talks about how the life in a hospital goes, how on one moment he’s still a student and then goes on to have responsibility over someone’s life. The book is raw and honest. Maybe a little too honest at times.
The author describes many cases in which he did what he ought to be right. Staying late after hours, doing overtime, going against his mentors wishes. These are all things that doctors experience on a daily basis but often fear talking about.
The ending however really made an impact. Especially after reading everything the author has gone through, has done.

Opinion
I loved the book but in a way I felt like I was more aware of the lack of compassion for doctors. It’s as if doctors are being pushed into staying late, doing extra work without any communication. There isn’t enough help going from one doctor to another. The ending was quite unexpected and I never expected that even in the worst of situations doctors really don’t have a safety net.
The reason why I loved the book, was the author himself who was able to let his personality shine through. The diary style writing just put more emphasize on how ‘close’ you actually get to the author. It was because of the connection you got with the author, that the ending just made it more painful.
The book made a political point towards the NHS. So I’d specifically recommend this to English medical students as health systems vary across countries.

I hope you liked this book review. Definitely go out and read this book you will not regret it! It’s a book that comes closest to the life in a hospital. It shows the good and the bad times. Also let me know in the comment section what books you’ve liked in 2018.

Lots of love
-M. A doctor in spe

Make your own planner!

Happy new year everyone! To make sure that you start your new year the right way I wanted to inspire you guys to make your own planner! When I wanted to start planning (aka first year of university) I didn’t know where to start because there were so many different types of planners out there. I decided to make my own planner a few years ago and today I wanted to help you guys create yours.

Today I’ll explain you how to make your planner from scratch! You can choose to use a binder as a planner or if you only want to learn how to make printables skip number 1.

1 Choose a binder.
I bought a clear A5 binder because it was easy and quite minimalistic. They’re also durable and come in many different colors and patterns. The best part about these is that you can reuse them instead of buying a new planner every year. Mine looks a bit worn out but that’s because I’ve been using it for quite a while now!

2 Printables
I’ve tried using different types of printables but I never managed to keep everything in order. I printed out my class schedule on A5 paper and used that as my planner. Even though it’s not the prettiest planner layout, it’s honestly very convenient.

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If however you have some spare time on your hands, make your own printables. It does take quite some time, but they will be completely to your liking.

To help you out I found this video from Mariana who made planner printables on Word. There are a lot of other videos out there so you can always check those out too!

 

3 Page dividers
I ended up finding some clear page dividers at home and I used these for my own planner but if you love getting creative you can follow the instructions in this video.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know if you’ve made your own planner or just bought one in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A Doctor in spe 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Happy new year!

I wanted to wish all of you a very happy new year and take time to thank each and every single one of you, my readers, for becoming a part of this journey. As for the journey itself 2017 has been more than I could ever dream of! As you might remember I did a one year anniversary blogpost where I talked about the amazing opportunities I got this year and today I wanted to highlight some of the best blogposts published in 2017.

The best blogposts of 2017

  1. Medical tag
    One of my biggest accomplishments this year was creating the medical tag which has been done by many medical and premedical students all over the world. You can find videos about the medical tag on youtube, wordpress and bloggr. I’m just mindblown!
  2. World mental health day
    This year I also wrote about mental health which is an issue a lot of people face with but never really follow up on. I urge you to take mental health issues seriously and go see a professional! You should never be alone when facing issues with your mental health!
  3. Medical compendium
    You might have seen this on my instagram page but these amazing books were published not long ago. They contain the essence of medicine. Currently they’re only available in Dutch but they might be available in other languages in the future.
  4. Book review: the subtle art of not giving a fuck
    Some people might remember this as I’ve recommended this book to everyone I know! It’s about living your life and not caring about other peoples opinions. A must read!
  5. Cold shower challenge
    Quite surprised that you guys liked this post so much! The cold shower challenge was fun to. It has many health benefits such as better focus, better metabolism, better immune system. This would be a great new years resolution!

This includes 2017! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and I wish you and your families an amazing and extraordinary 2018 filled with happiness and courage. Remember that you have the power to make anything you want happen if you put your mind to it!

Happy new year to you all and lots of love!
–  A doctor in spe!

Medical article databases

One of the most important fields in medicine is research. This should come as no surprise as there’s still so much to learn about the human body and disorders related to it. As a medical student it’s extremely important to stay up to date and read in on these subjects and to learn more about the (r)evolutions in our health system.
There are a lot of databases where you’ll be able to find articles on medical research and today I’ll be talking about the best general databases.

1. Google Scholar

Schermafbeelding 2017-12-10 om 12.46.57
Google scholar is most definitely the best way to find the most scientific articles on any subject. You’ll be able to view the number of citations (a value to determine the impact) as well as the journal where the article was published and the publication year.
There is one thing I dislike about using google scholar. The filter system is quite impractical. Nevertheless you’ll be able to find a lot of articles extending over many different scientific topics. Google scholar will also show the number of citations, journal where the article was published and the publication year.

2. PubMed

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PubMed has a lot of different features and therefore learning how to work with the system is a challenge on itself. You’ll have to navigate your way around MeSH-terms and the search builder, subject topics etc, however when you finally know how to work with it, it’s actually a pretty nice database to work with.
You will definitely not find as many articles as you would in Google Scholar, however there is a good amount of articles that are closely related to your topic of choice. The filters are easy to use and will help you to narrow your topic down more clearly.

3. Embase
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One of the more esthetically pleasing databases is Embase (yes, I really like Embase). It’s easy to use and works similar to PubMed but you search via Emtree terms instead of MeSH terms. You can view your previous search inquiries and the amount of articles related to it.

4. Extra
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I also wanted to talk about Web of science where you’ll be able to find the impact factor, the number of citations. This is an easy way to have an overview on the importance of your article as well as the journal it was published in.

P.S. I prefer to use general databases as they offer a great variation of articles but if you only want to read the most important articles on certain subjects you might want to take a look at different options such as Medline, TRIP, Cochrane etc.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what sources you turn to to find scientific articles.

Lots of love
-M. Doctor in spe

 

One year blogging and going strong!

It’s been exactly one year since my first ever blogpost and I wanted to talk about blogging in general and the amazing things I got to learn from medical students around the world. I never thought I would reach anything or anyone with this blog. I made this blog to take others on my journey to becoming a doctor and to show all of the amazing things I get to do as a student. There is most definitely not enough appreciation for the amazing opportunities we get in and outside our classroom.

I want my blog to inspire med/premed students or anyone to start a blog. You can never imagine how many amazing things you’ll get to experience while having a blog. This blog has in the short span of a year given me the opportunity to virtually meet other medical students and talk about subjects that are often taboo or subjects that we’re not familiar with. It gave me the opportunity to get to know medical students all around the world.

I also learned a lot of things that I haven’t learned in my textbooks. I learned more about mental health, about the amazing charities that are making a difference every day. I also read a lot more books and expanded my view on life.

I also started using social media more often! You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I’m not an avid social media user but I try to upload from time to time!

This blog and this year have been a great adventure so far and I couldn’t thank you guys enough to come on this journey with me. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did and that I was able to teach you guys some things along the way or just inspire you to study med or start a blog.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Prepping and how I study

I’ve already talked about my improved study techniques but today I’m going to talk about the three things that made the biggest difference in my results!

1 Preparing notes ahead

When i go to lectures I make sure that I’ve done everything ahead of time. If i don’t i’m just waisting my time and the professors time. Preparation is key. I like to make notes ahead of time and take those to class. Some people prefer reading through their notes, I do this when I don’t have enough time to type out my notes but this works great as well.

Along with this I reread all of these notes while going home. I take public transport so I often wait for my bus or metro. Those 5 minutes make a difference. It’s small but all small bits help! The time I need to get home varies but I spend an average of 1hour to 1hour30 to get home. Instead of waisting i try to benefit from that.

2 Visuals (other sources)

For medicine looking out for other sources is a good way to look at your courses differently. Especially if you don’t know the difference between things that are more important and things that are not. I watch a ton of videos and if there are things in my course that other videos emphasize on it means that it’s probably quite important. I personally loved ‘Shomu’s biology’ on youtube because he’s able to explain quite difficult concepts in an easy way.

3 Reading

Not only reading through your own course or textbooks but using other medical books is a great way to retain difficult topics. Different books often explain concepts differently and that is something that may or may not work for you.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Let me know what your tips are in the comment section down below.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Changing my study method

The new school year has begun for some of you and I wanted to update you on my new study method since it might help you! I’ve switched it up quite a lot and I’ve finally found a good way to make sure that I know my courses better. Since courses in med school are quite voluminous having a good study technique really makes a difference. I make sure that during class I write down what’s important. I follow the slides that are projected on a big screen and make sure that I listen to what the professor says. That way I can understand the most important concepts in our books.

The studying process is something that’s often pushed back to the weekend. Before studying I read my notes and then start. Everything in these courses is valuable information and needs to be known. There is no such thing as more important/less important (unfortunately 😦 )! Instead of just using one study method I now use a combination of different techniques. This helps me to make a difference in concepts I fully and concepts that need more time.

First method: there are parts of my books that I read multiple times and make sure that I understand what I’m reading. This doesn’t take a lot of time and I do this multiple times per day or even per week to make sure that I still know what the course is all about.

The second method that I like, is making question sheets on a part of my course. I make these sheets for parts of my course that I have trouble memorizing and I’ve noticed that this technique forces me to really actively read and my notes. I only do this for several parts of my courses because writing questions down takes up time.

Last but not least the third technique I use is making resumes of my printed notes. I personally don’t advise going for this technique in med school. I feel like while making these I’m not actively thinking about the subject I’m studying. Making resumes doesn’t only take a lot of time it makes you have less time to revise and consolidate the information – this technique didn’t work as well for me as the other two techniques but I do like to make these before going into my classes.

The key to these techniques is not about the time you put in making them. It’s about actively making them and thinking about everything that’s important. Active studying is more efficient and will help you memorize everything faster.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what study technique you prefer in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Medical stationary gifts

I recently saw a picture on Instagram that had bone balpens and while I was searching for these I came across these amazing school/college supplies. Most of these would make great gifts and they can be found on various sites such as Aliexpress, Amazon and Etsy. So without further ado here are some great gifts for medical students.

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1. Sticky notes
I found these great sticky notes on Amazon, these are pricier than your regular sticky notes but they’re unique and quirky. There are quite a few options to choose from so definitely check these out!
Link: Amazon

2. Memo holder
This is definitely the most unique gift out on this list. It’s a brain shaped memo holder made out of concrete. These are made in the Netherlands and you can find these on Etsy or on the manufacturers site.
Link: Manufacturers site
Link: Etsy

3. Pen
A funny gift for students who are tackling anatomy and learning all bones in the human body. These balpens are quite affordable and can be found on Amazon and on Aliexpress.
Note: since Aliexpress can sometimes be unreliable I’ve tried to filter out two companies that have sold the most and had the best reviews.
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Amazon

4. Erasers
I found these cool brain shaped eraser tops on Amazon but you can also buy these on Etsy. They come in different colours and are a great addition to your medical stationary.
Link: Amazon
Link: Etsy

5. Tape
I never knew about DNA tape but it’s a clever take on regular tape. You can use this to decorate your note books. This tape also comes in a spinal tape version and you can buy both of these together on Amazon.
Link DNA tape: Amazon
Link spinal tape: Amazon

6. Markers
These come in many different shapes but two stood out to me. The first were pill shaped markers. I personally loved these from Amazon because of the bottle they came in.
The second shape were syringe shaped markers which you can find almost everywhere.
Link pill markers: Amazon
Link syringe markers: Amazon

I hope you enjoyed this stationary as much as I did! Let me know in the comment section which stationary item you liked most.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

College supplies: the basics

The new school year is coming up and I wanted to talk about some stuff that come in handy when you’re in college or university. When I started university my biggest issue were the long hours of lectures with only short breaks in between. Everyday I came to my lectures there was always something I had forgotten. So here are the basics that everyone needs.

1. A good backpack goes a long way!
Go for comfort over fashion! I suggest buying a laptop backpack since these are often more comfortable. They usually have padding so your stuff will be protected while you’re carrying it with you and they are roomy.
Looking online I found some basic laptop backpacks from Incase they definitely have a nice design but since theses quite pricy I’ve listed an alternative from Amazon!

 

2. Water bottle
You will be attending classes for long periods of time and it’s nice to have water wherever you go. My university has taps in each campus so you can fill your water bottle. Buying a water bottle is better for your wallet and for the environment! The S’well water bottles were very famous this year and they come in lots of different colors and designs. If you prefer a classic design, go for klean kanteen.

3. Foldable rain coat
The weather here is very unpredictable as it is in most countries. Having a foldable rain coat helps a lot! If you don’t like unflattering rain coats you could also buy a foldable umbrella. This foldable rain coat is from Uniqlo and only costs 39$. You can throw it in your backpack and you’ll be good to go!

4. Good notebook
One thing I struggled with was writing my notes down and not loosing them. In the middle of the year I ended up going for a spiral notebook. My favorite ones are from Oxford but these can be quite expensive. I found some notebooks on Amazon which were on sale. You can check those out via this link.

 

5. Good pencil case
My pencil case was made of canvas and I’ve had it for a very long time. Somehow my fountain pen made a hole inside my pencil case making it look terrible. A good pencil case is a must! I found this a few on amazon. One from Kuuqa and IDream.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what’s on your college supply list in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe