blog

Oh hello, Blog.

Yup. This by far has been the longest break from the blog since starting it back in December 2014. 

Life has been crazy. Medical school has been hard. Blogging has honestly been the last thing on my mind, but then other days it is on the forefront. 

I have realized that I do not need these elaborate posts, that go into minute detail of my adventures, but more of a way in saying: " Hey, I am surviving, thank you for reading, I am doing okay." When I went home in August this past year due to my grandpa's passing, there were so many people that hugged me at the funeral and said they read my blogs and love following my adventures. I truly feel like I let a lot of people down by not writing, and with 2018 coming into full effect recently, I knew I needed to write. 

I don't blog like other bloggers you see making thousands of dollars on social media, bloggers who get sponsored to say which products work for them, I blog for my family, my friends, for prospective students and present students. Thinking not many people read my blog posts, I have gotten so many emails asking me when I am going to blog again? I checked my stats online today and I have had over 600 views on my blog just in the past week. WHAT. 

So here I am, saying that I will blog post more. I promise. 

To quickly update you all, I am 10 weeks away from my fourth year of medical school. Third year has flown by, with my Internal Medicine, Surgery, OB/GYN, and Psychiatry core rotations complete, I am currently in my family medicine rotation. The amount of information that I have gathered in the past months is something that I never saw coming. I never thought I could absorb so much material and put it in practice with each rotation that comes my way. Life is truly beautiful that way. If I had listened to everyone before my medical school journey, I would be three years into a job I didn't like and instead I graduate this December 2018 with an M.D. ! Life is way too short to live it for someone else, for doing something you don't like, or being too scared to do something you are most passionate about, due to the time it takes to complete it. NEVER settle, do the work now, for success later. :) 

I am surviving people! I promise! My head gets sometimes too caught up in my notes and going through the motions of third year, going to the hospital day in and day out, but just know that I am keeping my eyes on the end goal. I CAN'T wait to become a physician. Thank you all for being on this journey with me. 

Bye for now,

-E xo


I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. —Maya Angelou

Third year: 1 Confidence: Getting There

Hello my lovely people!

It is Saturday morning and I just finished my first 30 hour trauma surgery shift. I am slowly becoming less zombie-ish and becoming more human. That was an adventure. Before I jump into details, I wanted to update you on what stage of schooling I am at as I have gotten a couple emails about that and how I am handling third year of medical school.

It is Oct 1st tomorrow, which means only 12 more days of trauma surgery, and which makes it half way of third year. I have almost done six months of core rotations already, and with 6 more months to go, third year has completely hit me by surprise with how fast it has gone. I am slowly becoming more familiar with standard protocols, understanding the different orders of fluids and which patients get what, how each attending likes to be presented to, and making my way around the different hospitals. Third year is honestly just trial and error, and you can't be afraid of making mistakes and asking questions. 

Surgery is a whole other world that I never thought I would have liked. In my previous post, I talk about how I was nervous for this rotation and that I was not looking forward to it. I have definitely learned my lesson to never have preconceived notions about a rotation and to keep an open mind when starting something new. I have absolutely loved it so far and with my first week in trauma surgery down, it is safe to say I would never do trauma as a career, the experience has been unreal. Here is an example of a day shift and night shift in my current rotation:

DAY SHIFT:
4:30am-get up
5:30am-at hospital rounding on my patient and writing a note (by myself)
6:30am- trauma surgery lecture with whole team
7:00am-sign out-where the night team hands over the night admissions to day team
8:00am- ICU rounds, where we go to each patient's room and chat about them, this is where I would present my patient in front of everyone [can be more than 15 ppl] and chat about if they had any acute events overnight, their labs, if they are scheduled for any surgeries that day, etc. 
9:30am/10am-6:30pm-the rest of the day is filled with trauma calls [mind you trauma calls can happen at any time, and there have been days where we would not finish rounding or lecture as a trauma would come in] and helping the residents with procedures at the bedside, ex: central lines, A-lines, suturing wounds, etc. And if your attending is in the OR, you must scrub in to each case with him/her, so we have to check the OR board frequently. 
IF ON NIGHT CALL:
6:30pm-night team arrives and you STAY all night. This is exhausting as traumas seem to happen more at night, and you have been up since 4:30am that day and you stay throughout the night. The med student's job is to help the intern on call (the first year resident) with little procedures, helping with notes and trauma admissions. This can be so tiring. If there is absolutely nothing to do, no trauma calls, nothing the intern wants you to do, you can try and get some sleep on the fifth floor, but as soon as you put your head down, the trauma bell will go off! It always seems to happen to me lol
6:30am that next morning-lecture again with whole team
7:00am-sign out (we hand over our new admissions to the day team)
8:00am-9:30am/10am- ICU rounds- I would present one of the new admissions overnight
THEN LEAVE AFTER ROUNDS. 
Total hours: 30. 

Whew! It is quite the experience, folks! There is no other feeling that being up for a total of 30 hours and running to the trauma bay when the bell goes off. I didn't drink any coffee as the adrenaline just keeps you awake. The injuries included multiple motor vehicle collisions, gun shot wounds, drunk driver on a moped who crashed himself into a tree, transfers from another hospital as we are a level 1 trauma center with more resources, and more. It was an experience like none other and even though I know I don't want to do this for a living, it has given me the perspective I needed to confirm that trauma surgeons are pretty badass. Holy moly. The level of knowledge that these surgeons have and the residents blows me away. 

All in all, third year has been a whirlwind of an experience. It has taught me to be confident in the times a question comes along and everyone is waiting for an answer. It has taught me that I CAN do this, and it has taught me that I would not want to do anything else with my life. Have I missed birthdays, holidays, weddings, the birth of one of my best friends babies? Yes. But the people I have in my life understand my commitment, they understand that I am putting my life on hold to help the lives of others. I am in school at age 29 when a majority of my friends have houses, full time jobs they have had since graduating college, kids, even multiple children, and I am here getting over a 30 hour shift knowing that I am going in tomorrow for a 14 hour shift [4:30am-6:30pm remember!?]. Life in med school is such an indescribable experience that you have to be here to follow me around to really get a grasp of how taxing it is, but with every passing day, my confidence builds, my answers get stronger, my critical thinking improves, and my vision as a doctor gets closer and closer. 

Thank you all for being on this journey with me, and thank you all for believing in me since day 1. I am so happy to take the time to update you all on my adventures, and when I walk across that stage in a little over a year and a half, May 2019, you know I will be thinking of you. 

Get after it today, even if that means doing the long days, the dirty stuff, the hard stuff. 

It will be worth it. 

Bye for now,

-E xo


 


Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.
- Henry Ford

Settled

As I sit here looking out the window of my apartment in Atlanta, Georgia, with a wine glass in hand and my dog by my feet, I look back at the last couple years and I all I can say is: "wow". 

Life literally passes by in the spur of the moment, when we are so busy investing our time into something else, time escapes us each day. There are so many times where I would wish the day away, that it would go faster, or the days be shorter, then I look back and see how many weeks have flown by, and it amazes me. I always tell students who write me who have trepidation about entering medical school, and how long it takes to complete the program, I always make sure to ask them: "What else would you be doing in the next four years?" I get answers like a Master's to bump up their GPA, studying and retaking the MCAT, or working in a job that they are not happy in. Why wait? What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting on? YOU have to make the decision to be happy and that may mean applying to a medical school in the Caribbean. It may mean leaving your family, friends, missing weddings and birthdays, but the thing is...people will always understand. The sacrifices that we have to go through to obtain our M.D. are limitless, but that one day when we finally have the ability to book time off and never miss another function, will come faster than you think. 

Whew! Okay, got that off my chest! Hello everyone! I know it has been a hot minute since I have written, but what I have realized is that I may have to do shorter blog posts to keep you updated with my crazy life adventures. I have always set aside a couple hours to work on my blog posts, and in third year of medical school, those hours are slowly dwindling away. I have started uploading more videos to my YouTube Channel [Search: "From D1 to Dr" on YouTube] and have gotten a lot of feedback to upload more and continue with my "How-To" videos. I will try my best! 

I wanted to let you all know that I am surviving. Third year is intense, as the hospital hours are long, but being able to learn on the spot is great. I have had the most amazing experience with my last preceptor and I recently asked her to write a letter of recommendation for me. She said yes! I am extremely excited as a lot of attending physicians do not have time to sit down and write a letter, and very few will agree to do it, but she gave me a hug and said of course! Letters of recommendation are extremely important in our application process, and we only submit a total of three, so they play a crucial role in residency program directors' ability to get to know us on a personal level. 

Steve and I have settled nicely in Atlanta. The city is definitely growing on me. I love it ALMOST as much as Denver ;) I am halfway through my Internal Medicine core rotation, with my surgery core rotation looming in the background. I have learned so much in the past six weeks and I am extremely grateful to be here. Not a day goes by where I don't look around the hospital and walk the halls with a smile on my face, because according to my MCAT, I should not have made it thus far. I should not have been granted acceptance to any medical school, so when I walk the halls with my white coat on, and seeing patients everyday, it just makes me that much more determined to keep proving people wrong. 

I am off to read a bit more before bed, yes, it is after 10pm, but the learning never stops! I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog. I have been on a roller coaster, with moving countries, cities, one exam after another, but I want you all to know that your love and support does not go unnoticed. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

Bye for now,

- E xo

 

Atlanta Braves 

Game time! 

Hotlanta

Hello everyone! 

Thank you for your patience with my blog posts, I am starting to finally get in a groove in Atlanta and I am making a schedule that I can actually stick to each week. There will be more YouTube videos for the people emailing and asking and more blog posts on a regular basis! What I have realized is that when I get ready to write a post, I am emotionally invested with everything I write down. There have been so many times where I had my blog up and ready to type, but I just wasn't feeling it, but I have to learn to write when my emotions are authentic, whether I am frustrated, sad, stressed, and of course when I am happy. I'm working on it ;) 

So here I am, on a Saturday night, just getting back from the Sports Medicine conference in San Diego, California. Excited, exhausted, motivated, and extremely happy that I attended. But let's rewind for a second, let me update you on my Step 1, IMF, the move to ATL, and where I am now in my studies. Grab a glass of wine [I may have had two already...woops], or a tea, a coffee if you are board studying, and just sit back and relax, as I have some stories for y'all. <--I gotta start sometime people, I am in the South ya know ;)

So that USMLE Step 1 exam, let me tell you....it was beastly. It was probably the hardest exam that I had to write in the history of my test taking. The good news is: I PASSED. I passed and now I am able to move on to my third year of medical school, which are core clinical clerkships at a corresponding hospital. For the people that have been following me for awhile, you all know how terrible I am at standardized exams, and this exam was no different. It was the mother of all standardized exams; a really, really grumpy mother. It was hard. But it was doable if your study schedule was followed exactly as you had planned. I was confident in my studying that I felt comfortable going into that exam with the knowledge base that I had created while studying at home in Canada. It was so critical thinking heavy, minute details, tertiary questions, and some that felt like quaternary, that you just left the exam center feeling defeated. Overall, the biggest tip of advice that I can give people studying for the boards right now, take it sooner than later. I was feeling a bit burnt out at the end, and my score definitely reflects that. I am glad I pushed it back to enjoy Christmas and get to get married, but I was about three weeks overdue. I still did fine, but for me being my own worst critic, I should have done better. My effort and my studying habits, I should have scored higher, but that is the beauty of two more board exams, there is always room for improvement. The fact that I passed on the first attempt is huge, and now I need to study my buns off for the next Step exam, which is next July for me. 

Next is IMF, what exactly is it? Good question, as I still haven't figured out an exact definition for it. It was a six week course in Miramar, Florida where we got introduced to the clinical aspect of medicine. We had daily readings from the textbook IM essentials and had one written midterm and final exam. We also had an OSCE exam, which is set up in the same format as the Step 2 CS exam, where we would do a 15 minute encounter with a standardized patient, do a full interview, physical, and type up a note in the exam room. We also had a clinic site that we had to go to 2-3 times/week, in which 20% of our grade comes from the attending physician. Thankfully, we had an amazing clinical site. We were with a neurologist that owned his private practice in Florida, and I fell in love the physical therapy/pain management side of neurology. Another student and I also got the opportunity to do some research, which we are in the process of finalizing our second draft by the end of the month. Super exciting! IMF was great in the fact that it allowed us to experience being with patients on a more complex level, and allowed us to be prepared for core rotations. 

Now being in Atlanta and two weeks into my Internal medicine clerkship, I can say that I do not like internal medicine haha I like the patients, I love the people I work with, from my amazing attending, a soon-to-be fourth year student (she is just finishing up her last core), and all the nurses and respiratory techs. Everyone is super friendly in Atlanta, the southern hospitality is actually a real thing, guys. But overall, I do not like being in the hospital for 12-13 hours straight. My end goal is to own a primary care sports medicine outpatient center, with a gym/rehab facility attached. I am learning a TON and trying to soak it all up,  and at the same time I am trying to keep my options open as much as I can. Being in the hospital and dealing with real patients is so rewarding, and every day, even the days are long, I know this is what I am meant to do.

The blog post is getting quite long, but I will end it with a sentiment from the Sports Medicine conference that I attended these past couple days. NO ONE CARED WHERE I ATTENDED MEDICAL SCHOOL. The first thing they said to me at the fellowship fair was: "Wow! Good for you for coming so early in your medical education and asking all the right questions now, to help your process later". The first thing I asked them was, does your program accept IMGs? Since being Canadian AND from Ross, I wanted to make sure they honored the international visa for me to work as a resident being from another country, but I also wanted to make sure that they had no bias towards Caribbean grads. They honestly did not care. A fellowship is the highest form of medical education that you can receive in your training after residency, and they range from one year up to how many sub-specialites you want to complete. After residency, you have the option of doing a fellowship and that is where my primary care sports medicine fellowship comes into place. It was so refreshing to see big name schools accept Caribbean grads and not even bat an eye. There were numerous AUC, SGU, AUA, Saba, and Ross fellows in attendance, and the community is absolutely amazing. One Medical Director had the best response to my question:

Me: "Hello, my name is Emma, I am a third year medical student interested in the sports medicine fellowship program at your facility, I was just wondering if you accept IMGs?"

Director: "Well, are you a good candidate?"

Me: "Well, I think I am. I have gotten Dean's List for all four semesters on the island, won the Devry Scholarship award for two consecutive years, I started a brand new Sports Medicine Club on campus while simultaneously studying the basic sciences, I have passed Step 1 on my first attempt, and I am here proving to you that this is what I want to do." 

Director: "Oh wow, wait...you are only in third year you said?" 

Me: "Yes, sir" <--- working on that southern accent ;)

Director: "I do not care where your medical education comes from, you standing here today proves to me that this is important to you. We actually just matched a Ross grad into our fellowship program and he starts with us in July, and you coming here today just shows how hard working Ross students are, and we do not discriminate based solely on the location of your school, we look at YOU, the candidate as a whole."

Me: *Trying to hold back the tears* "Thank you. I needed to hear this today" 

Director: "I'll be looking for your name in the next couple years, don't forget about us, okay?"

Me: *Dumbfounded and wanting to give him a hug but didn't*  "Thank you so much."

Connections work. Point blank. Me showing up to this conference proved to them that I was serious about pursuing this route. No matter what school I attended. This is FELLOWSHIP, people. This is a big deal. The fellowship program directors care more about you as a person with a passion, your commitment, and your tenacity to get there. I have gotten so many high-fives the last two days from residents, program directors, fellows, and some AMSSM staff, as I was the youngest student there. I know this is what I want to do, so why not start making the connections now? Next annual meeting, I will be there showing my face to the same people, giving a strong hand shake, and telling them my name once again. When interviews come up next year for residency, a lot of the same fellowship directors actually oversee the residency program as well, and they will hopefully see my name and picture, and know my perseverance to climb to the top of their list. 

All in all, Ross University will get you where you need to be. It is the road less traveled, it is a scary jump, but it will give you that M.D, it will allow you obtain residency, and it will give you the opportunity to pursue medicine as your career. Third year has just started for me, the hours are long, the studying never stops, board exams linger over my head every day, but I would not change a thing. I am extremely happy I listened to my gut and applied, I am happy I shut that inner voice in my head down that was telling me that maybe I made the wrong decision, I am happy that I didn't listen to any of the online forums bashing the Caribbean route, and I am sure as hell happy that I made it this far. I made it. I made it halfway to becoming a physician, and no one can take that feeling away from me. It is so worth it. Every tear, every frustration, every sticking point, as time moves forward- so do you. 

Happy Saturday night friends! Get after your dream, no matter what anyone says! You CAN do it. You WILL do it. You will be AMAZING at it. 

Bye for now,

-E xo

 

What's Up Third Year?

Ok I know what you all are thinking..."WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!" I honestly think this has been the longest that I have waited in between posts, and I would be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind every day. It has been such an adventure this past month [and a bit] and I think it has been the hardest in regards to volume of material, being away from home, and almost seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. 

I do not even know where to begin, as fourth semester took me by surprise. I do not know if it was because I was quite tired to begin with, the shear amount of material, or the fact that I just wanted to be done as fast as it began. So many mixed emotions and until you physically and mentally experience it yourself, it is so hard to appreciate how medical students feel, and I have the best family and friends for understanding my academic commitment. So here I sit, on a Tuesday night in my apartment, looking at this bright pink sky as the sun sets in Dominica, with no one else on campus, as all of my classmates are back in their home city. You are probably wondering: "Why is she so crazy to stay in Dominica?! Why isn't she at home already?! That, my friend, is a very good question.

Making the decision to stay on island to study for Step 1 [my big bad US board exam in November] was one of the toughest decisions I had to make. I want more than anything to be home with my family and hang out with all of my friends, but after taking that NBME COMP exam this past Friday, I knew that I had made the right decision with staying on the island. That exam was the toughest exam, in my history of exam taking, that I have ever had to endure. Whoa...I still shutter just thinking about it. I would LOVE to be home, but my parents also understand that being here at Ross is vastly different that living in a farm house in good ol' Canada with dogs, cats, people, and not to mention a wonderful herd of cows that just love to "moo" at the most convenient of times. It was tough to stay here when a majority of my friends are gone home, celebrating, seeing everyone important in their lives, and most importantly-the comfort feeling of home. I knew after leaving that exam, that staying here was the best decision, as I get access to unlimited resources and I can bust out a fifteen hour day studying and not even realize it [I know, I'm weird]. 

Thankfully, I will be going home for a week in September as my sister gets married [!!!] and I have the wonderful honour of being her bridesmaid. I honestly can not wait and what makes it even better is that my Dad actually built a chapel on our land, bells and all. Don't worry I will make sure to post pictures of the big day. If you have not already seen my instagram posts of the chapel, head on over to @d1todr and check them out! 

So all in all, I really enjoyed my time at Ross. I have made Dean's List all four semesters [yay!] and I created a brand new club: RUSM Sports Medicine Club that I recently got to hand over the torch to a wonderful friend of mine, Ozzy, who will lead the next group of Eboard members next semester. I believe that everything comes full circle, that if you put effort in, you will receive that satisfaction and do well. The Caribbean route is tough, but I know I will become such a better physician because of it. I can not wait to start clinicals in January, and I will try my hardest to upload some videos of study tips and "how-tos" of surviving med school thus far. 

I want to thank you all for following me on my journey, it is crazy how fast my sixteen months on the island went, and only two more years to go until I get that M.D. Thank you for your comments, smiles on campus, and for you all cheering me on. For the whole month of November, I will need your good vibes, that USMLE board exam is not going to write itself and I will give it my all! You know I will!

Off to enjoy a wonderful dinner made by my Stephen, with Domi laying by my feet, I can't help but realize how lucky I really am.  

Bye for now,

-E xo

Pics!

 

Stephen and I at the 4th Bon Voyage Farewell Banquet.&nbsp;

Stephen and I at the 4th Bon Voyage Farewell Banquet. 

:)&nbsp;

:) 

Enjoying being DONE!&nbsp;

Enjoying being DONE! 

Dominica really is beautiful.&nbsp;

Dominica really is beautiful. 

Where we live!&nbsp;

Where we live! 

Hike from last semester!

Hike from last semester!

Our usual beach walk with Domi&nbsp;

Our usual beach walk with Domi 

Love these girls.&nbsp;

Love these girls.