Friday, April 22, 2016

Getting Ready for the USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Grind!

Study Selfie!

Happy Friday! I finished my last set of basic science exams today, which means the bulk of my second year of medical school is officially complete. That means no more all day mandatory lectures ever again and more time to study for my upcoming board exams! The only courses I will have to worry about from here on out are Primary Care Skills on Tuesdays and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine labs on Thursdays. That means I’ll spend no more than four hours on campus each week, and I am so happy for the chance to finally be able to focus!

In case you’re new to the blog and confused about all the board exam talk, six weeks from now, on June 4, 2016, I will be taking the marathon 8-hour exam known as USMLE Step 1, which is the first in a series of medical board licensing exams. Six days after that, on June 10th, I will be taking yet another 8-hour licensing exam known as COMLEX Level 1. Not only do I need to pass the COMLEX to graduate, but both of these exams will pretty much play a huge role in me being able to match into the future residency program of my choice. So, yes, the struggle is definitely real right now!

The past few weeks have been a bit rough dealing with balancing lectures, studying for boards, and handling the million other things on my to-do list, so I am looking forward to having a better schedule. I’ve been waking up at 4:30 most mornings to do my readings and questions, and then a lot of time spent in class was dedicated towards finishing up questions, with evenings being dedicated to reviewing the material. It’s pretty much been the only way I could get everything on my list accomplished in one day. I’ve also started going to sleep around 9:30/10pm, which was super rough at first because I’m used to staying up until 1 or 2am, but I think I’m starting to get used to it. Going forward I’ll most likely keep my current sleep/wake schedule and that’ll give me a chance to still have a few free hours every night to relax and handle my mommy responsibilities and other outside stuff. Plus, I’m noticing that my brain has decided to stop working after 7pm, so it all works out, LOL.

As for the actual board prep, I’m still keeping it pretty simple. My major resources are UWORLD, First AID for the USMLE, COMBANK and Pathoma. I sprinkle in a little Goljan every now and then, and I may incorporate a little DIT for some of my weak points. I learn best from questions, so my goal is to do as many as possible between now and my exam dates. I finished my first pass of UWORLD at the end of February, so I’ve been going through my incorrect and marked questions. Tomorrow makes six weeks from my exam date, so I plan on resetting UWORLD and starting fresh. I haven’t finished all of COMBANK yet, but apparently we will have to do questions from it as part of a class grade, so I am trying to save what I haven’t completed on the COMLEX side for that. Depending on how much I get accomplished, I might also buy a 30-day subscription for the Kaplan Qbank, and I will also be taking all of the available NBME and UWORLD assessments before my exam date. I took my first NBME assessment before AMEC and was not happy with my score, but I did have a 20 point improvement when I took my first UWORLD assessment last weekend, so hopefully I can get up to the score I want. This week was lost studying for class exams, so I won’t be waking up to take an assessment tomorrow morning, but I will be back on track with the weekly weekend assessments starting next weekend. I also plan on taking two NBME assessments the week before my exam because I really need to build up my stamina.  

That’s pretty much it for board prep. I am definitely requesting prayers, positive vibes, support, and most of all patience and understanding as I shut myself away and become unavailable over the next several weeks. I won’t be posting on here as much until after I finish my exams, but since blogging relaxes me, I’m sure you’ll hear from me a few times before then. I also appreciate all the emails I receive from you all, but there will be some huge delays in my response time, so don’t get upset if it takes a while to hear back from me. I’ll also be trying to avoid other forms of social media (mostly Facebook) because it is a huge time suck! Five minutes always turns into an hour for me when I’m on there, so I might check every now and then to make sure I’m not missing any information from my class or rotation group, but that will be about it. Pictures are quick and easy though, so I’ll probably keep posting to my Instagram account :-)

But other than that, I hope everyone has been having a wonderful week and that your weekend is even better. The little one has been begging me to have a picnic, so I might attempt to do that tomorrow (along with my First Aid book in tow). Outside of that, these goals aren’t gonna happen by themselves, so the study grind is on!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy #NOMWeek2016! #DOsThatDo #ProudDO

National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) week is finally here!!!! This is a week where all osteopathic physicians and medical students help raise awareness for all the awesomeness that is osteopathic medicine. Know if you don't know, I am a proud future Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (or DO for short), and I am always up for educating those around me about the profession. When I first started this blog two years ago, I highlighted the questions I get asked most frequently about osteopathic medicine which you can find HERE, and I am always happy to answer questions I get asked about the profession.

Since I became a medical student almost two years ago, I can definitely say that my love for osteopathic medicine has grown and continues to grow on a daily basis. It is such a blessing to not only be on the path toward becoming a physician, but to be equipped with an extra skill set that enhances my ability to serve my future patients. Being an osteopathic medical student has also given me the opportunity to be more comfortable touching patients, and I still love being able to look at a patient from all angles.

I could go on and on about how amazing osteopathic medicine is, but if I want to continue on the path toward becoming a successful DO, then I need to get back to studying, LOL. So with that being said, use this week to find out more about osteopathic medicine, learn about your favorite physicians who just might happen to be DO's but you didn't even know, and hug your favorite DO :-) Wishing everyone a fantastic week!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Recap of SNMA AMEC 2016: Austin, Texas

Wow!!!! Where do I begin? This year’s Student National Medical Association’s (SNMA) Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC) in Austin, Texas was an absolute blast!!!! I think I’m still in a bit of shock from everything, but I will do my best to give a thorough recap of my time at the conference. I also know that some of you don’t like when I write extremely long posts, but if you hang in there, I promise I have some exciting news at the end ;-)

Thank you Dr. Vania Manipod from!

This was the first AMEC where I was responsible for some of the workshops and speakers, and it was also the first AMEC where I would be running for an elected position. Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to present my very first workshop at AMEC, and I also applied for an appointed position that did not require campaigning, so it was definitely a very different experience being on the opposite end of things. While the first order of business was attending a Board of Directors’ meeting a few hours after I arrived that Wednesday, the conference really started for me the next day. At 8am on Thursday morning, I had to give a two minute presentation to the board and answer any questions that they had. Then I left the room for discussions, and spent most of my time outside in suspense with the other individuals running for elected positions. Once that ended, I was off to the opening Plenary Session, followed by a delegate certification, and then a House of Delegates session. Once one of my classmates came to relieve me of my delegate duties, I was then off to find Dr. Vania Manipod (, who was presenting a workshop that focused on osteopathic medicine and psychiatry. It was an absolutely awesome session, and I was extremely happy with the turnout! 

Thank you Nick from!

After the workshop, I went back to my room to prepare for my presentations that evening. Regional meetings were to take place from 8-10pm, so I had two hours to hit up every single region (there are ten), give my presentation, and answer any questions that the members had for me. I was soooo thankful to have one of my classmates offer to come along with me and hand out my campaign materials while I presented (shout out to Nick from!). We were literally running between multiple floors of the hotel, and I was switching between heels when I entered the meetings to my flats when I was out in the hall because my feet were killing me! Luckily, we were able to reach each region, so it was definitely worth it. After that, I had to attend a 10pm mixer that my co-chair and I had arranged with my osteopathic committee, and then I was off with my classmates to find something to eat before I happily went to bed. 

We won SNMA Committee of the Year!

The next day was just as busy, and started off with me presenting to the House of Delegates at 8am. The President’s Luncheon was also held that afternoon, and my co-chair and I were pleasantly surprised when our Osteopathic Schools committee won the SNMA Committee of the Year Award. It took a ton of hard work and team work to make this year successful for our committee, and I am so thankful to have had a co-chair who was just as dedicated, flexible, and hardworking throughout the entire year. As for the rest of the day, there were more House of Delegates sessions, I was able to interact with members at the Meet the Candidates session, and I finally got a chance attend my region’s meeting. We also held our Osteopathic Schools reception that evening, and it was a major success. Dr. Will Stubbs and Dr. Matthew Montgomery gave valuable commentary on the issue of diversity in osteopathic medicine, and we had a very large turnout, which was a huge deal considering we were somewhat competing with other receptions at the time that were giving out things such as free drinks or unlimited lobster buffets. So with that being said, we definitely are sending a big thank you to the AOA for sponsoring our reception which allowed us to feed everyone in attendance, and we appreciate the many physicians, medical students, AACOM, and pre-medical students who attended and engaged in the discussion on diversity in osteopathic medicine :-) 

Thank you Dr. Will Stubbs and Dr. Mathhew Montgomery!

After the reception, I went back to my room for a bit to relax, and then I did something that I rarely do: I went out and partied! The first official after party was held that night at Club Rio, and I had a blast. I think the last time I went out and danced the night away was back in August for my friend’s birthday party, so it was very much needed. 

I met Dr. Damon Tweedy!

The next day, I had the chance to meet Dr. Damon Tweedy, and not only was he signing copies of his book Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine, but he was giving the books away for free!!!! It was definitely worth the long wait in line to meet him and get a personalized autograph from him. And speaking of authors, I forgot to mention that I ran into Dr. Antonio J. Webb, author of OVERCOMING THE ODDS: From War on the Streets in Louisiana to War on Terrorism in Iraq, How I Successfully Overcame the Odds, the day prior and had a chance to not only take a picture with him, but chat about the road to surgery. 

Excited to meet Dr. Antonio J. Webb!

After meeting with Dr. Tweedy, I headed over to the Osteopathic Medical Student workshop to get that prepared and meet up with my committee members who would be on the panel. The workshop went great, but I had to leave in the middle of it when I received an emergency text from the then-National President-Elect/Elections Chair saying that I was needed urgently and it could not wait. I rushed to her room and was informed that neither myself or my running mate received 51% of the vote (some delegates abstained from voting), so a run off would have to take place that evening at the banquet. Apparently, this hadn’t happened in ten years, so it took everyone by surprise. I was told that I would have 90 seconds to address everyone at dinner that night, and then a re-vote would promptly take place. I’m not gonna lie, I had a slight freak out over this, but I was able to meet with some of my friends and mentors for a few minutes to go over how I would approach the situation, and this calmed me down a lot. I then went back to my room, prayed on it, and then proceeded to write out my thoughts while having my classmates on speaker phone for their feedback. I did this right up until the reception, and I was still writing out what I wanted to say when I sat down for the dinner.

Shout-out to my GA-PCOM and PCOM family!

I can’t explain the stress of having to stand up in front of over 1300 people and explain in 90 seconds or less why I was the best candidate for the position of National President-Elect, so I’ll just say it was definitely quite the experience. I was beyond thankful to not only have my classmates sitting with me, but my peers from the PCOM main campus sitting around me and offering their support as well. They gave me great laughs that evening, and it helped to take away from the anxiety of waiting until the end of the banquet for the results to be announced.

At close to 11pm, the results were finally announced, and I won!!!!! I was sworn in right after and I am now the 2016-2017 National President-Elect for the Student National Medical Association! I am also excited that I will become the 2017-2018 National President at next year’s AMEC which will take place right here in Atlanta! Words can’t express how deeply humbled and grateful I am for the opportunity to not only continue to serve the SNMA, but to be able to put my passions into action. I am also the first ever osteopathic medical student to be elected into this position, so I look forward to proudly representing the D.O. students well.   

I just realized I wrote a lot on this post, so I will end here, but I included a picture slideshow at the bottom which will hopefully include everything I missed (for some reason I can only view it when I open internet explorer or click the logo at the bottom right of it). I can’t wait to continue to share my journey with you all, and I hope that you will continue to read. As you can see, things are about to get even busier, but I am looking forward to the ride and everything that it has in store. Until next time! 

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