Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cheers to a Great 2016!!!!

2016 was an amazing year for me! I celebrated 29 years of life, became National President-Elect of the Student National Medical Association, passed step 1 of both the MD and DO medical board exams, delivered my first baby, assisted with operations, had the ongoing support of my awesome family and friends, met many new wonderful individuals, and continued to raise the BEST daughter ever! The #2016bestnine app didn't do my year any justice, so I created my own, but even this collage really doesn't convey the awesomeness of the year. Why? Because I consider every moment of the year that I was living, able to inspire, and still on the path to pursuing my dreams a great moment. Every year gets better and better, so I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store! 😄

My Instagram caption says it all, and I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of another year! 2016 flew by fast, but it was filled with so many amazing moments. It’s interesting when I see social media posts talking about how horrible the year was, because honestly, for me, it was a great year! I was able to get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself, explore new heights, and wake up every day thankful and blessed for another chance to get it right. I hope those of you reading this were able to find the positivity and joy within the year as well. 

2017 is looking to be yet another busy, but fulfilling year, and I can’t wait to share it all with those of you reading this. New milestones will be accomplished, many connections will be made, and hopefully I will continue to inspire and show my love and appreciation to all those around me. Wishing everyone a very safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and a mind-blowing 2017...See ya next year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Interviewed by Daily Medicine Blog!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! A few months ago I was interviewed by my dear friend Ashley Roxanne, founder/author of Daily Medicine Blog, and it is now live! In the interview, I discuss why I applied to osteopathic medical school, my hardships, where I see my future, my top three networking tips, and many other topics. Feel free to check it out HERE, and as always, let me know what you think!

Friday, December 23, 2016

My 3-year Blogiversary (Yay!), the End of My Plastic Surgery Rotation, and Holiday Relaxation!

Happy 3-year blogiversary to me!

Can’t believe I’ve managed to keep up with this thing as long as I have, but last Saturday I became a three-year blogger! It’s been fun sharing my experiences with the world and I hope to continue to bring you all more excitement in the coming years. I’m super appreciative of anyone who stops by to read my random musings, and I’m even more thankful to those of you who have kept up with my blog over the years. If it weren’t for all the support, comments, questions, etc., I probably would have stopped writing a long time ago, so THANK YOU for reading and continuing to stay with me. It really does mean a lot to me.

In other news, I finished my plastic surgery rotation last Friday and I miss it already. I had an amazing month, learned a lot, and met some pretty great people. I’ve pretty much enjoyed all of my rotations thus far, but this one was the best yet. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better surgery experience, and I can’t wait until I’m back in the operating room again. The coming months will be filled with a lot of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine, and I look forward to new experiences and learning as much as I can on these upcoming rotations, but I will be patiently counting down the days until I get to have another surgery rotation.

Holiday selfie with Dr. Earl Stephenson and the staff of Signature Plastic Surgery

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I am looking forward to spending time with my family. I was supposed to make the drive today, but since my sister decided to take my daughter out of town for me today, I figured I would take the day to enjoy some much needed alone time. I had this week off and I will have next week off, so I have been thoroughly enjoying the first break I have had this year. This week I mostly got caught up with some things I’ve been procrastinating on, slept, and binged watched Netflix and it was awesome. I even had the opportunity to volunteer at my daughter’s class holiday party, which made her super happy. It’s not often that I’m able to participate in her school functions nowadays, so showing up and making her happy when I can makes me happy.  

But anyway, I hope everyone reading this was a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter, and happiness. Being busy with medical school definitely makes me appreciate the rare moments I get to go see and spend time with my family, so I am looking forward to dealing with all the craziness and laughs this weekend will bring. Have a Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Interviewed by TheDoctorJB!

Happy Wednesday! A few months ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Jessica Brumfield, a Family Medicine resident physician and GA-PCOM alumna. We discussed my journey to medical school, how I decided to run for National President-Elect of the SNMA, and how I manage to balance medical school with motherhood and everything else. Feel free to click HERE to watch the interview and let me know what you think. Oh, and you should definitely check out the rest of Dr. Brumfield's "TheDoctorJB" blog, because her journey to becoming a physician is definitely inspiring!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

In Love with Plastic Surgery!

The OR: My Happy Place :-)

So much awesomeness has occurred since my last post, but I could never find the time to sit down and write about it. I’ll try to do a very quick recap for you all, since I have a conference call coming up in less than an hour. In a nutshell, I am getting ready to start week 3 of my plastic surgery rotation tomorrow, and I am absolutely in love with this rotation! There is just so much variety and every last bit of it fascinates me.

All smiles :-)

On the very first day of my rotation, I got the chance to assist on a 5-hour procedure that involved reconstruction of an infected knee. The procedure included everything from wound debridement, muscle flaps, skin grafts, and negative-pressure wound therapy. During my general surgery rotation, I had previously given a presentation on muscle flaps, but I had never actually seen one done in person. It was the coolest thing ever! The surgeon even let me suture up the leg and he allowed me to handle the Bovie (a tool used to cauterize and coagulate tissue), and all this was on my first day! There really is no greater feeling than being able to repair a person, and we did just that.

Nope, that's not a breast implant. It's a butt implant

Other surgeries that I have assisted on have included bilateral brachioplasties (aka arm lifts), breast reductions, breast augmentations, and liposuction. I absolutely love that even with all the swelling, you are able to see immediate results with plastic surgery, and I love being able to help patients transform themselves. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing a woman who survived breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy, cry after a breast reconstruction and augmentation surgery, saying that she can finally feel like a woman again. It’s also pretty cool to see a patient go from having a huge hole in their backside from a pilonidal cyst removal, to looking completely normal again (with the exception of a minor scar). When I was a child, I always loved putting puzzles together, and to me, plastic surgery is all about being able to see the big picture when there are only mixed pieces in front of you. It just makes me so happy!

I will say that surgery is definitely not at all for the weak. The hours are long, and there have been some days where I have gone as long as nine hours standing with no food, drink, or bathroom breaks. I don’t notice it when I’m busy helping, but when I get home my whole body hurts and I am just tired! It’s a good taste of what’s to come during residency though, so hopefully I can build up my tolerance. I am definitely building muscle having to hold up breasts, arms, and legs though, LOL.  

But all-in-all, it’s been a pretty fun rotation and I am happy to be back in the OR. I don’t know why it makes me so happy, but there is just something to be said about working to fix people while jamming to your favorite music, and having interesting conversations with the OR nurses. I know I’ve said it before, but I can definitely see myself becoming a surgeon and having a very happy and fulfilling career.

Getting in the holiday spirit!
But other than that, life continues to be busy and fun as usual. The little one and I finally put up the Christmas tree today, so I’m finally starting to get in the holiday spirit. I also went to see The Hip Hop Nutcracker last weekend, and that was such a fun show. I seriously can’t believe the year is almost over, but I’m definitely looking forward to enjoying the rest of the 2016 holiday season while soaking up as much surgery as I can. Well, my next call is starting in less than five minutes, so until next time! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ending a Super Busy Month of OB/GYN

A simulated version of my month in OB/GYN

Whew! The past month has been extremely busy! My OB/GYN rotation officially ended Friday, and although I had many great experiences, I just never quite had the time to sit down and write about them all. I was busy with rotations, working on my executive agenda, trying to keep a good work/life balance, and my daughter even turned 10! Right now, the entire month seems like one big blur, but the above picture of one of my school’s patient simulators pretty much describes the month perfectly: delivering babies and examining lots of women.

Developed so many skills this month

At the end of every rotation, I’m always amazed at the things I have learned and my growing knowledge base. Before this rotation, I didn’t know how to enter patient information in electronic health records, write prescriptions, use my hands to tell how many centimeters a patient is dilated, perform a GBS test on my own, or how to deliver a placenta (we practiced delivering fake babies during my clinical skills rotation). Now, I not only know how to do all of these things, but I feel pretty comfortable doing them as well. I also enjoyed getting the chance to go into the OR and assist with a tubal ligation, and I was extremely happy that my preceptor allowed me to be hands-on with as many patients as possible. It was even better that most, if not all, of the patients were okay with me taking their histories, performing exams on them, and answering their questions. OB/GYN is a field with a lot of variety, and it definitely has its perks. The only thing I really didn’t like about it was the unpredictability that came with the timing of deliveries, and the time spent waiting around for deliveries to occur, but on the plus side it allowed me to catch up on other things I was getting behind on, so I can’t complain.  

Growing up so fast!
Mommy/Daughter Paint Night
If I had to choose one highlight from this month, it would be my daughter’s birthday. To be able to see her reach another year of life and spend time with her is always a special experience, but this year started off a lot differently. I was called to come to the hospital that morning to help a woman deliver a baby, and in the moment of helping the patient deliver, it hit me that I was in that exact same position 10 years ago. Thinking about the many milestones I’ve encountered over the years and how when I first gave birth I didn’t know if I would ever achieve my dreams, to now being in a position where I am on the path to fulfilling my dreams, made me kind of emotional. I feel incredibly blessed to be where I am at in life, and it feels extra good that I can be a blessing to others each and every day.

Love coming back to campus and reconnecting with awesome people

Outside of that, I took my OB/GYN shelf exam Friday followed by a 3-hour practice exam for my COMLEX PE exam in February, so that officially ends this rotation and I am excited to start another. Tomorrow I begin my four-week Plastic Surgery rotation, and I am beyond excited! I absolutely love all forms of surgery, but plastic and reconstructive surgery is definitely at the top of my list. I can’t wait to be back in the OR assisting and learning as much as possible. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to write weekly about my experiences, but if not, feel free to catch me on Instagram as I’m pretty good about posting pics about my daily experiences and adding to my story section. It will be another early day tomorrow, so I’ll end here, but I hope everyone has an awesome week. Oh, and if you don’t hear from me again this week, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!! 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Babies, Pap Smears, and Early Hours: Starting off OB/GYN Strong!

Adding another hospital badge to the collection!
This week is seriously flying by! I started my OB/GYN rotation on Monday, and so far it’s been a super fun experience. I wasn’t sure if I would find it awkward or amusing that my preceptor is my actual gynecologist, but my first day started off smoothly with no awkward moments at all. I am actually pretty happy to have my gynecologist as a preceptor because I originally sought him out due to the fact that he is a DO, is African-American (we don’t have enough black men in medicine), and he had great reviews. Before Monday, I had never been in his office, so it was awe-inspiring to see all the degrees on the wall, awards from the National Medical Association, and even a gorgeous painting of black physicians and patients which is included below. I even found out that he used to be a member of the SNMA, so that made me extra happy :-)

Love this picture!!!!
My first day was spent seeing patients for mostly annual exams and OB follow-ups. I was able to use the mini Doppler ultrasound on some of the patients to make sure their babies heart beats were strong, and it was fun seeing some of them get excited over it. I even got to take the initial history of some of the new patients, and since it had been a while since I performed one on a standardized patient, the doctor went over how to properly perform speculum exams and pap smears.

Ready to find that heartbeat!

On Tuesday, I headed over to a clinic that mostly caters to immigrant populations and I really enjoyed my day there. I had one embarrassing moment when I walked into a patient’s room and immediately started speaking Spanish, only to find out that her main language was Russian and a small amount of English, but I quickly caught on when she looked at me like I was crazy LOL. In my defense, over 90% of the patients that morning only spoke Spanish, but from now on, I will definitely ask the language when I first step into the room. On the plus side, the doc treated us all to a tasty lunch from a Colombian restaurant and it was one of the employee’s birthday, so there were delicious cupcakes that day too. At around 2pm we saw the last patient, and the doc told me we were waiting on a patient to deliver at the hospital but it would be a while, so I went home to relax. I figured he had forgot about me when I went to bed around 11pm, but I was woken up bright and early with a text that said to meet him at the hospital. Luckily, the hospital I am rotating at this month is only 10 minutes away from me, and my sister is here taking on the nanny role, so I quickly cleaned up, got dressed, and made my way to the Labor & Delivery section. The patient ended up not being ready until after 7am, but the delivery occurred really fast. I was all gowned up and ready to go, and the doc instructed me where to put my hands and I DELIVERED MY FIRST BABY!!!!! It was such a cool moment, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it, because he was then instructing me on where to clamp, where to tell the father to cut, and how to properly remove a placenta. There were also two more deliveries we were waiting on, so we left to go check on those mothers right after.

The "I just delivered my first baby" Selfie :-)
All-in-All, I ended up delivering 2/3 babies (the last one too big for a beginner) and 3/3 placentas, so it was a great day! The only con is that there was a lot of waiting around for the patients to fully dilate and be ready to give birth, but I had the pleasure of being able to chill out in the physician’s lounge which was really nice. I caught up on a little Netflix and even finished up some work I had been putting off, so I was able to actually relax and get some rest when I finally did make it home.

I voted! Have you?
I can’t wait to see what the rest of my month in OB/GYN brings, and I am looking forward to getting the chance to perfect my suturing skills in the OR. Today I had the pleasure of having the day off, so I took advantage of the early voting that is currently taking place and went out and exercised my right to vote. It took less than 30 min and only required an ID, so I strongly encourage all of you to go out, vote, and let your voice be heard. Welp, tomorrow will probably be another super early day, so until next time!    

Saturday, October 15, 2016

SNMA Region III RMEC 2016 Recap – Jackson, MS

Pictured with SNMA Past National President Dr. Loretta Jackson ('92-'93)

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Student National Medical Association’s Region III medical education conference in Jackson, Mississippi. The conference was hosted by the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and it was a wonderful weekend filled with great pre-medical and medical student tracks that had everything ranging from simulation labs for the pre-medical students to one-on-one talks with current residents for medical students. It was nice being able to interact with the membership of SNMA and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the conference.

Pictured with the founders of White Coats Black Doctors

Since I became involved with SNMA on a national level, conferences have typically meant either sitting in full day meetings or running around making sure that workshops or anything else I was involved with is running smoothly. This conference was the first time in a while that I was able to just sit back and enjoy the programming. I also met some pretty awesome individuals such as the founders of “White Coats Black Doctors”, MAJ Ezella Washington – a family medicine physician and fellow DO (Woot! Woot!), and I was extremely excited that one of the speakers was a surgeon and that there were a few surgical residents in attendance.

College Buddies!

What made the conference even more exciting for me was that it served as a trip down memory lane. Although I am a proud SNMA Region IV member at the moment, I started off with the organization as a pre-medical student in region III, so it still carries a large piece of my heart. Speaking with the pre-medical students in attendance reminded me of where I used to be and it gave me a lot of inspiration for my presidential agenda that I am currently hard at work on. I even ran into one of my old college buddies who is now a physician. Just reminiscing about how we made it through the struggles of undergrad (that biochemistry major is a beast!), to now one of us being a physician and the other on the way, really makes me feel blessed. This journey is definitely not an easy one, so it warms my heart to see those around me succeed.

Selfie with the parents!

The other highlight of the trip was being able to stay with and see my parents since they live fairly close to the medical center. My mother’s birthday was the day before the conference started, and it had been almost a year since I had seen her, so it was nice being able to celebrate and spend some time with her. I had already seen my dad a few times this year since he came to pick up my daughter for the summer and brought her back, but it was pretty cool hanging out with him too. I made sure to take a selfie with them both before I left because I just love my parents!

But other than that, it was a great experience attending last weekend’s conference, and I look forward to the rest of my travels with SNMA. Oh, and shameless plug: registration for SNMA AMEC 2017 is now open, so sign up now! It will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on April 12-16, 2017 and I am looking forward to seeing you all! Feel free to head on over to to register and find out more :-) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Goodbye Pediatrics, Hello Psychiatry!

Goodbye Peds!!!!

I’m a little late on the updates, but I’m a week and a half into my psychiatry rotation, and so far I’m really enjoying it! I was happy to finish my pediatrics rotation without getting sick the entire month, and while I learned a lot, I was happy when it was finally over. Between the screaming kids, endless colds, and what seemed like every other parent demanding an antibiotic prescription for viral illnesses, I think it’s pretty much safe to say peds isn’t for me!

My first day of psychiatry "gifts"

As for psychiatry, I am currently working with geriatric populations, and it is super interesting! I would have never thought psychiatry would offer a ton of variety, but in just a short time, I have been exposed to so much. I have seen patients with various mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and delirium, to name a few. Last week, I even had my first electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) experience. This is a procedure done under general anesthesia, and it basically involves inducing generalized seizures in patients experiencing severe depression, Parkinson’s disease, and other mental illnesses. My attending is pretty aware of my interest in surgery, so he made it a point to have the anesthesiologist teach me a few things. What’s even more exciting is that I got to ventilate and administer the anesthetics to the patients! I seriously thought the anesthesiologist just wanted me to hold the syringes when he handed them to me, so I couldn’t contain my excitement when he told me to administer them. I got a little grilled afterwards when they asked me what I had just given to the first patient and I didn’t know, but lesson learned! Never administer an anesthetic without first looking at it and verifying. That same morning, I also had the chance to feel pitting edema on a patient, which I thought was pretty cool to experience in person.

Couches and psychiatry are a perfect match!

Today was spent visiting patients in assisted living facilities, and I really enjoy the personal aspect of visiting patients in their homes. Seeing pictures of their families on the walls and hearing their back stories somewhat helps me gain more empathy for they are experiencing. The memory care section of the facility also brings about some interesting moments. Yesterday, I saw a patient with Broca’s aphasia, had another patient poke me from behind and whisper asking me if I was scared, and I also had a chance to witness the inappropriate behaviors that come with frontotemporal dementia. I also enjoy the days when we’re in the office, and I’ve always envisioned psychiatry as a profession where people lie on a couch and discuss their problems, so I am just tickled that there is a couch in the office. I was tired of no one actually lying down on it though, so I took the initiative and lied down on it for a few seconds, LOL.

But other than that, I am excited about what is to come for the rest of this rotation. Tomorrow, I will be back at the hospital bright and early for more ECT sessions, and then afterwards we will make our rounds at the assisted living facilities. I am looking forward to hopefully sharing some more interesting experiences this month, and hopefully you all will find them just as fascinating as I do :-)  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Featured on The Kitchn!!!!

Honored to be featured on The Kitchn!

Happy Wednesday!!!! Today I was beyond honored and excited to find out that I have been featured on The Kitchn!!!! The article is part of a series detailing how five successful women handle Mondays, and I am absolutely amazed that they reached out to me to be a part of it. So far they have featured the New York Times bestselling author Jill Stokler, and actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. I am nowhere near the level of success of these women, so I am extremely humbled and appreciative of the fact that I am included in a series with them. The feature can be found HERE so feel free to check it out or click on the above picture to read in full! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SNMA September 2016 NLI Recap – Columbus, Ohio

Standing in front of the OSU medical center

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Student National Medical Association’s National Leadership Institute and Board of Directors meetings in Columbus, Ohio. It was sponsored by Nationwide Children’s Hospital along with The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and they did an excellent job of hosting the organization.

The event was sold out, and I was extremely happy with the amount of pre-medical and medical students alike who attended. There was also a great variety of excellent speakers. I had the opportunity to help our Region V Director present an “SNMA 101” workshop, and it was a pleasure being able to engage the medical students in attendance. It was also a great networking event, and I was excited to meet and chat with some of the surgeons and other physicians in attendance during our dinners.

I flew into Ohio directly after taking my shelf exam on Friday, and my schedule was super packed, so I did not get a chance to go out and explore Columbus.  I was very impressed with the little I was able to  see though, and I will definitely be adding OSU to the list of places that I would like to do an away rotation with next year.  

All-in-all, I had a wonderful time in Ohio and it’s always a great time when I am with my SNMA family. We were able to get a lot accomplished, and I am looking forward to what the rest of the year brings :-)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Halfway Through Pediatrics!

Stethoscopes and Dressy Clothes :-)

Happy Monday! It’s been a while since my last post, but that’s just because I’ve been super busy (as usual, LOL). I’m also pretty behind on reading my emails, but I plan on being caught up by tomorrow night at the latest if you sent me a message and are waiting on a response.

I finished up my surgery rotation last month and now I am making my way through pediatrics. It’s definitely been a huge adjustment from surgery, but I am learning a lot and everything beats sitting in a classroom all day. I was absolutely in love with my general surgery rotation though, and I found every minute of it exciting and full of great learning experiences. My preceptor even gave me an Honors Pass at the end of the rotation, and hopefully I performed well enough on my shelf exam at the end of the month to keep it. The way it works is a student has to honor the exam in order to keep an honors grade, but if you just pass the exam with an honors evaluation grade, you end up with a High Pass. Since I’m interested in surgery, I probably won’t be happy with just a High Pass, but we’ll see how things go. The shelf exam wasn’t too bad, but I had quite a few questions on cases I hadn’t encountered at all during my month of general surgery. 

When it comes to pediatrics, I’ve completed two full weeks of the rotation, but it feels like I have been on it for six months. I had really long days during my general surgery rotation and would come home extremely energized, but eight hours a day on pediatrics has me super drained! It’s not even the children that I have a problem with, as they tend to be really interesting. I think I just thrive in intense environments, and it’s been a huge change going from being a member of a surgical team and seeing patients on my own to essentially just shadowing all day long and not being able to do much. Either way, I will make the best out of it and try to learn as much as I can, because I will never have the opportunity to have some of these same experiences again.

So far, I have seen some interesting cases that before now I only had the chance to see in textbooks, so it is nice being able to tie what I’ve learned in the classroom with what I see on a daily basis in the clinical setting. The other plus side to pediatrics is the variety of cases. I’ve had the chance to see orthopedic patients, patients with neurological issues, hematology and oncology patients, and pretty much a little bit of every subject I was taught my first two years of medical school. I’ve also been doing pediatric UWorld questions nightly, and it’s kind of fun getting questions similar to something I saw earlier during the day.

Anyway, it’s late and I still have work to do, so I’ll end here, but until next time!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Featured in AACOM's July/August "Inside OME"

Feature in AACOM's latest edition of "Inside OME"

Hi everyone! I recently was given the honor of being featured and voicing my opinion about diversity in medicine in the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine's July/August edition of "Inside OME". I appreciate the AACOM allowing me to discuss an issue I care strongly about, while both promoting and sharing my love for the Student National Medical Association, and I would love it if you all would check it out. The article can be found HERE. Let me know what you think! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Loving my General Surgery Clerkship!

Future Surgeon Happiness :-)

I made it through the first week of my general surgery rotation, and I loved every minute of it! It’s no secret that I’m interested in going into surgery, so that’s probably affecting my judgement, but so far this has been the best experience ever! If it’s true that most medical students change their minds about what specialty they’re interested in once they start rotations, then it’s already looking like I’m going to be one of the inexorable few, but I am thoroughly enjoying every moment of my third year of medical school.

I started my rotation last Monday, and that day was spent attending different orientations, driving around to each hospital I’ve been cleared at and picking up my badges. My preceptor was also out on vacation last week, so we had to plan which surgeons I would be with and so forth for the week, but other than that, my first day wasn’t too bad.

I arrived bright and early the next day, and could definitely tell things would be a lot different from my previous rotation. It was a clinical day and I thought I would be following the surgeons around and just shadowing, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Patients were already there waiting in exam rooms, and it was my job to go in, take their history, examine any areas of concern, and then come out and present the patients. Luckily, I’m pretty comfortable dealing with patients, so I thought this was pretty fun. I also learned how to go into the computer system to see the cases and patient information since it is expected that I know all of this before the surgeons arrive.

The next three days was where the surgeries started and the real action began. I thought as a medical student I would be stuck outside of the sterile zone observing surgeries, so I was both shocked and excited when I was asked why I hadn’t scrubbed in yet during the very first case. They didn’t have to ask me twice though, as I went right away to put on my scrub gear and tried to remember the proper technique to scrubbing in. The surgeons each let me assist whether it was holding retractors, working the laparoscope camera, blotting away blood, or cutting the suture string, so I definitely felt like a part of the team. They even introduce me to patients as one of their colleagues or doctor, instead of calling me a medical student, so that just makes my soul smile. One of the surgeons even let me suture a patient, which was the highlight of my entire week. My goal is to make at least one incision by the end of the month, no matter how small, so hopefully it will happen. Even the anesthesiologist said that he will teach me how to intubate a patient, so I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to do that this month as well.

Other than that, my first week in general surgery was super fast-paced, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. In just a few days I had the chance to see and participate in things such as port placements, inguinal hernia repairs, colonoscopies, upper GI endoscopies with Bravo placements (EGDs), lipoma removals, appendectomies, and crazily enough the list doesn’t even end there. My days were long, but there was so much action that the time just flew by. Also, I was prepared for super hard questions, but so far the questions have not been too bad and I can tell the doctors are really interested in just making sure we learn as opposed to making the students feel dumb.

Today was a lot slower than last week, but I welcomed it. The best part of the day was not having to go in so early this morning which meant I was able to take pictures and see my daughter off to school on her first day of fourth grade. I also had a chance to meet my general surgery preceptor this morning and he is super nice. We spoke for over an hour about what we would be doing this month and just getting to know each other in general. He also assigned a couple of topics that I have to present tomorrow, so I will be spending the rest of the evening reading up on that and getting my talk ready, as well as making sure I am read up on the patients we will have tomorrow. So with that being said, I will get back to work, but I look forward to what the rest of the month has in store, and of course sharing it with you all!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Dermatology and Hello to General Surgery!

Last Day of Dermatology Selfie :-)

Happy Sunday! My dermatology rotation is officially over and I’m kinda sad to be finished with it. The past month has been nothing short of amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better first rotation. I got the opportunity to see a number of pathologies such as basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, seborrheic keratoses, melanomas, cherry hemangiomas, and the list goes on! 

The future surgeon in me loved observing Mohs surgeries on Wednesdays where cancers were cut out, observed under a scope, and skin grafts were performed. I also had the opportunity to go to the cosmetic side of the practice last week and see cool things like laser hair removal and the laser lipo sculpting procedures. Dermatology has a variety of things to offer and I can definitely see why it’s such a competitive specialty. Plus, you really can’t beat the hours, the free samples, and the free food from the drug reps, LOL. 

My favorite part of the rotation was last week when a patient who I had previously seen on my very first day came back for a follow up appointment and immediately greeted me by name and remembered all the little details about me that we had previously talked about during the patient’s previous appointment. The patient was super sweet and told me I would be a great physician. It’s the little things like this that really make me happy to be on this path through medicine. I was also very fortunate to be under an amazing physician who took time out of his very busy schedule to answer my questions and thoroughly explain what was going on with every patient to me. The nurses and other staff were also the absolute best and were pretty much my lifeline throughout the entire month. I also had the chance to rotate with medical students from other schools, a PA student, and even a podiatry resident, so it was great getting different perspectives and meeting new people. 

Tomorrow I start my general surgery rotation and I am super excited for the month that is in store! I’m also a little bit anxious since surgery is a field I would like to go into, so I definitely want to make a good impression. I’ve already checked out a ton of surgery textbooks from the library and I’ll be making my question bank purchases this week to make sure I can rock the shelf exam at the end of the month. I’ll also be back in mommy-mode as my daughter is gearing up for school and our normal schedule again after being away from me the entire summer, so this month will definitely be an interesting one. I’m not sure how hectic my schedule will be this coming month, but I look forward to updating you all on this wonderful journey. Wishing everyone a fantastic week! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

How I Studied for the COMLEX Level 1 and USMLE Step 1 Exams

My approach to studying for boards was slightly different from that of my classmates and probably what most people do. If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, then you already know my bad history with standardized exams which includes taking the MCAT four times, and this scared me into starting extra early with my board preparation and maybe even going slightly overboard with it. For the record (and in my opinion), the MCAT has absolutely no bearing on how a student will perform in medical school or on their board exams, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. So with that being said, while most students start studying for boards 6 weeks to 3 months out, I started my studying 6 months from my exam date, and I have absolutely no regrets.

I had two major goals before I started studying for boards: I wanted to keep my resources to a minimum to avoid getting overwhelmed and I wanted to have done at least 8000 questions before my exam date. I met both of my goals and even exceeded the minimum number of questions I had planned.


For both exams, I used First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, Pathoma (both the book and videos), UWORLD, USMLERX QMAX, and Combank. I also took all six NBME exams along with the free NMBE exam, and I completed both UWORLD assessment exams. For my COMLEX exam studies, I added in the Saverese OMT book, but did not take any COMSAE or NBOME exams outside of the one that was administered by my school. I did every single question in each question bank listed, and for UWORLD, after my first pass was complete at the end of February I re-did all my incorrect and marked questions. When I was 6 weeks away from my exam, I reset UWORLD and completed the entire bank again on timed, random mode (I used tutor mode during my first pass). I also completed both the USMLE and COMLEX side of Combank, along with all of USMLERX and when all was said and done I believe this added up to having completed a little over 10,000 questions (not including the assessment exam questions). I also dabbled with the Doctors in Training videos, but I wasn’t a huge fan, and I did read the First Aid book completely through about twice. Additionally, I used Picmonic for any topics that I just couldn’t get drilled into my head, since it was a lifesaver for me during my first two years of medical school. If there was anything I would have done differently, it probably would have been getting in another pass of UWORLD because on my USMLE exam, there were multiple questions that were extremely similar and the exam also had the exact same format as UWORLD. I also would have probably read my First Aid book a few more times.

Maximizing the Question Banks

I know a lot of people tend to get caught up about their scores on the question banks, but I focused on using the question banks as strict learning tools. By this I mean I did not get upset with my super low UWORLD scores when I first started, but instead I used it as an opportunity to explore my weaknesses. Also, outside of my first pass of UWORLD I did all of the questions in each bank without assistance so that I could really see what I needed to work on. This meant lower percentages, but I tend to learn from things I get wrong, so more information stuck with me. What I found extremely helpful was reading over EVERY answer choice explanation on questions I got both wrong and right, and I annotated the information I did not know into my First Aid book.   


Studying for boards was hard while classes were in session, so I think when I first started I would just do maybe 20-40 questions per night. I treated the upcoming exams as if I were preparing for a marathon, and eventually (towards the end of my exam preparation) I was doing over 200 questions a day. I waited until I was six weeks from my exams to create a dedicated board study schedule, and I previously gave a snippet of what my daily schedule was like HERE, so I won’t go into too much detail about it right now. Our school does not offer a set dedicated board study time without classes, but I was lucky enough to have tested out of the OMM written exams during my last term, so I only had to be on campus for about 3 hours each week during my final six weeks leading up to my exams. This allowed me to really be able to put in full days where I only studied for my board exams, and that was typically between 10 – 14 hours of study time each day. My days were starting at 430am and not ending until 8 or 9pm, so it was an extremely stressful time. I made sure to schedule in breaks so I didn’t go crazy and I also took one day every week where I did absolutely nothing exam related and just relaxed or spent time with my daughter.   


So basically, my approach to my board exams was questions, questions, and more questions! It is true that everyone studies differently, but doing questions will not only help you figure out what to expect on the exams, but it will help build your test-taking stamina as well. Most people swear by UWORLD, First Aid, and Pathoma and while I did slightly more than that, I’m pretty sure this would have been sufficient. I don’t think there would have been any way to pass either exam without UWORLD, so if you’re on the fence about buying it, just suck it up and get it! Also, if you’re an osteopathic student who only plans on taking the COMLEX, I would still suggest using UWORLD because it is that good.

In my next post I will compare and contrast the USMLE and COMLEX exams, so stay tuned for that, but hopefully this gave you all an idea of how to go about these exams. Feel free to email me if there is any confusion, but hopefully my next posts will clear any of that up. Just keep it simple, do questions, stay positive and everything else will fall into place :-) 

So Many Updates!

Busy, but Happy :-)

Happy Monday! If you follow me on Instagram or any other social media, then you probably already know that this has been a great, but super busy month for me. I started my dermatology rotation on the 5th, moved to a new house just three days ago, and I’ve also been busy interviewing nannies (I’ll explain that in another post). But most importantly, after what felt like forever, I finally received both of my board scores, and I am happy to say that a celebration ensued :-) It is such a relief to finally be over such a huge milestone, but I still have more board exams to go before I graduate, and I’m already focused on the game plan for those, so I can’t get too cocky. I have no plans to post either of my scores on the blog because I realized that different people have different goals, and in the grand scheme of things passing is the only thing that really matters. Plus, residency programs like even higher scores on the step 2 exams, so I still have that looming over my head. What I will say though is that my dreams of surgery still remain a possibility for me, so I am extremely happy about that.

A lot of you reached out to me for advice on studying for boards, wondering why I took the USMLE, exam day feelings, etc., and I am keeping with my promise to write up posts on the topics. Immediately after this post, I will post a write-up of everything I did to study for both exams, and over the next week or two, I will write a few more posts that cover everything I’ve been asked, so hang with me. I’ll wait until the end of the month to write about all of the exciting things I’ve been learning on my rotation, and I’ll also end the month with a summary of whatever I haven’t covered so that everyone won’t feel like I just dropped off the face of the earth. As always I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts, and I can’t wait to share all my adventures with you all!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

When Will Enough Be Enough?

Black Lives Matter: In an Easier to Understand Format 
I had quite a few updates to give everyone, but in all honesty, the only things on my mind right now are the lives that were lost this week to senseless violence. I thought I would take a few days to process my feelings after viewing the video of Alton Sterling’s death, but then came Philando Castile’s death, the Dallas shootings, and it seems like more and more pops up on my timeline as the days go by.  

There truly aren’t any words to describe my feelings after watching those videos. If I had to put them in words, I guess I would say it’s a mix of anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, fear, and outrage. The Alton Sterling video hit really close to home for me because I consider Baton Rouge to be my second home, and I am familiar with the area where he was killed. Outside of the obvious reasons for being upset, I couldn’t help but think that could have been one of my brothers who actually lived with me for a bit when I was in the city. And then to watch the news and see people trying to criminalize this man and not take into account that his life was taken from him unjustly, just blew my mind. This was someone’s son, brother, father, etc., and it seems like people are looking for any and every excuse to justify something that simply cannot be justified. The same can be said for Philando Castile, whose daughter sat in the backseat and witnessed her father be killed. There really just aren’t any words.

This week has been super heavy on my heart and I still cannot properly articulate what I am feeling. I usually try to keep my posts lighthearted and related to medical school, but I feel to not say something is to be a part of the problem. As a parent, it breaks my heart to have to raise a child during times like this, and I can only imagine how hard it is for those parents who are raising sons. What I find even sadder, is that stuff like this is nothing new, but with cellphones, everyone can see it now. The closest thing I could find that somehow describes my thoughts is the pic below of someone’s public post on Facebook (written at the beginning of the week), but even this doesn’t cover everything. Right now, I just pray for the families and friends of all those lost to violence like this, and I hope that we can somehow find a way to instill awareness and initiate change without having to sacrifice the lives of more people in the process.  

I couldn't have said it any better

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Maevn Uniforms EON Collection Review and Giveaway!!!!!

Pictured: Maevn EON V-Neck Pocket Top and Full Elastic Cargo Pant (Small, Regular, Lavender)

Maevn Uniforms recently provided me with scrubs from their new EON Collection in return for my honest review, and I think I finally found a brand of scrubs that I am in love with! Better yet, Maevn Uniforms has graciously offered to give away a FREE set of scrubs from their new EON Collection to one of my lucky readers in YOUR choice of color, size, and style! It seriously doesn’t get any better than that, so keep reading for my full review and make sure to enter at the end of this post for your chance to win a pair of these awesome scrubs!

Pictured: Maevn EON V-Neck Pocket Top and Full Elastic Cargo Pant (Small, Regular, Lavender)

The first thing I noticed about both sets of scrubs was the fabric. The Maevn Uniforms EON Collection is the first scrub line to be made with CoolMax Everyday Fabric, and this is basically the same fabric used in athletic wear to keep you cool and dry as you’re working out. As a super active medical student, this is great for me because I am constantly running around and on my feet. I also live in the South and am always breaking a sweat, so it’s really nice to have scrubs that immediately wick away the moisture and don’t make me look like I just jumped into a pool. Also, the fabric feels extremely nice on these scrubs! They definitely weren’t stiff and the scrubs felt really good against my skin. They were also really breathable. I usually can’t wait to take my scrubs off when I get home, but these were so comfortable that I kept them on the entire day.

Pictured: Maevn Active Sporty Mesh Panel Top and Sporty Mesh Panel Pants (Small. Regular, Wine)


The multiple pockets were my absolute favorite thing about the scrubs. There is no such thing as too many pockets and these scrubs had the perfect amount! On the Maevn EON V-Neck Pocket Top, there were a total of 4 pockets. There were two regular pockets, one hidden in the right pocket, and an upper left pocket big enough to fit a cell phone (I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 to give you an idea of sizing). It also had a small hook on the top left pocket that is perfect for placing your ID. The Maevn EON Full Elastic Cargo Pant had a total of 7 pockets! One of the pockets had a zipper and there was also one further down the right leg. I was seriously in pocket heaven!!!! It was so great being able to put my keys, cards, phone, etc. in my pockets and keep it moving. I usually use my white coat to hold my extra items, but I prefer not to wear it out in public, so it’s usually a hassle trying to hold everything in my hand when I want to make a quick stop at the grocery store or something of that nature, so I am absolutely all for pockets, pockets, and more pockets!

The EON Active Sporty Mesh Panel Top had four pockets, but they were slightly different than the other style. There were two regular pockets and then on the far right side there was a zipper pocket the size of my cell phone, and another of the same size on the left that did not zip. I actually really liked the zipper pocket on these because I was able to put my phone in it, zip it, and not worry about it. The Sporty Mesh Panel Jacket had pockets exactly similar to the top, and for all, it didn’t feel awkward when I filled the pockets (I hardly noticed I had extra stuff in them). The Sporty Mesh Panel Pants didn’t have a lower side pocket, but the two back pockets had a zipper and I really liked that. 

Pictured: Maevn Active Sporty Mesh Panel Top and Pants (Small. Regular, Wine)


I received so many compliments on the colors of the scrubs. I wore the Sporty Mesh style in the Wine color, and the Maevn EON style in Lavender. The lavender was my favorite, but the colors were very vivid for both. These scrubs look extremely nice for the cost and the color seems like it will last a very long time. Additionally, one of my friends commented that the Sporty Mesh style worn with the jacket looked like a nice set of gym clothes. This is a plus because even though I am wearing scrubs, I can still go out in public and not have everyone notice that I have them on. When I see scrubs worn in public, I generally start thinking about the germ factor, so these are super nice to have if you have other obligations that require you to wear them outside of a clinical setting. Plus, the pants are nice enough that they could be worn and passed off as just a regular set of pants.

Pictured: Maevn Active Sporty Mesh Jacket, Top, and Pants (Small, Regular, Wine)


The fit was something I was really concerned about when I was deciding what size to choose. I am extremely large busted, but pretty small everywhere else, so scrubs generally tend to be a hit or miss, and I often have to mix and match sizes. Just the other day, I was looking at a pair of store brand scrub pants that I have in a size small and one leg was literally the size of my body! What I really liked about these scrubs was the elastic waistband (I tend to have trouble keeping scrubs up otherwise), and they were extremely true to size. I went by the sizing chart on the website and ordered a size small in the tops, bottoms, and jacket, and they all fit perfectly. The jacket even zipped with no problems and it didn’t look like it was smothering me. Maevn Uniforms also offers the choice of petite, regular, and tall sizing, so this is another plus. I ordered the regular sizing (I am 5’5.5”) and had no issues. I like my scrubs to cover my shoes and have just the right amount of bagginess in case I have to get in weird positions, and these did not disappoint.

Last Thoughts

So overall, I really loved these scrubs! Between the pockets, the fabric, the look, and the fit, they were pretty much perfect in every way. Whether you’re a premedical student, medical student, or other healthcare professional, these scrubs are definitely a must-have! I am absolutely positive that you will fall in love with them just as much as I did :-)

Enter below for your chance to win a free pair of scrubs from the Maevn EON Collection. Also, if you don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end, and just want to buy a pair now, Maevn’s collection is available nationwide at 500 specialty stores that carry medical scrubs and accessories. For more information, and to find a retailer near you, please visit:

(Giveaway Open To US Residents Only) 
Scrubs provided by Maevn Uniforms for my review, but all opinions are my own!
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