Category Archives: med school

Life Decisions

Match day was a few weeks ago for the fourth year med students across the country, where they found out where and in what program they will be spending the next 3-6 years! It’s a day full of excitement for all med students as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, and for some of my classmates, however it was a source of stress. In less than 5 months we will officially submit our ERAS application for residency spots in our chosen specialty field. There are several of us who are still undecided on what we are going to apply to! It makes it easier to know that there are people in the same position as you, when it seems like everyone is applying for away rotations and looking at what programs they want to apply to. I’m just walking around the hospital trying to figure out what I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.

This is when the incredible community of medical students shines through. When you look terribly confused or upset, there is always someone around the corner willing to help. It’s what I love most about my med school class. On a day where you feel like you’re in the wrong field, you’ll never be able to choose a specialty, or are on a downward spiral thinking you’ll never match, there is a friend right there to reset your thinking with positive thoughts. I am so grateful for the wonderful people that are in my class who help me through my semi-daily panic attacks on these large life decisions, because they are in the same place I am.


There’s one thing I’m told over and over again… listen to your heart it already knows what you’re meant to do. Which is easier said than done. Mostly because there are so many factors to take into account when choosing a specialty – Do I have a competitive board score? Does it have the lifestyle I want? Can I raise a family? Would I be happy? Do I want to work with my hands or my brain? Do I like the OR? Do I like the clinic? Do I like the hospital? It’s a long, complicated soul-searching process. While it’s a journey each of us has to travel alone, we are never truly alone. On a daily basis I have med friends texting me with words of encouragement and advice.

Other truly wonderful are the attendings and residents at UTMC. Because one of my considerations is general surgery and my general surgery rotation was rather slow, a surgeon is letting me take my spring break week this week to work with him. A neurology chief resident sent me a long email all about the pros and cons of choosing neurology. The orthopedic surgeons were willing to offer any advice on choosing away rotations. A family medicine doctor told me to call her any time if I need any help with the application or choosing a specialty process. These doctors go above and beyond to help, and it’s something so special about UTMC.

So to everyone out there who is still unsure of where they belong, don’t fear. There are some of us who are with you! And to those of you who know what you want, congratulations!



USMLE Step 1 Tomorrow

TOMORROW’S THE BIG DAY!! … lots of positive vibes and thoughts sent my way would be greatly appreciated 🙂

I know that I don’t know everything and that makes me feel a little not ready, but I haven’t actually felt ready for a single med school exam in 2 years, so that’s not new. I do feel prepared though, and am ready to go in and prove to myself (and hopefully the National Board of Medical Examiners) that I’ve learned a lot over the past 2 years (and definitely in the past 5.5 weeks). I survived 5.5 weeks of 12 hour study days – I made it through 115 practice question sets (over 5000 questions), a 695 page review book at least 6 times,  and 230 phamacology flashcards so many times I can’t even remember. I have two spiral notebooks filled with notes and have officially killed 8 highlighters and 12 colored pens. For all intents and purposes, I’m ready. It’s all about remaining calm and being able to think clearly through the questions at this point. And today was a wonderful day of relaxation, which of course included mat time with some great friends.

Luckily, I have the best family and most amazing friends a girl could ever ask for. They’ve kept me sane, gotten me through every panic attack, and could always make me laugh when I felt like crying. They have been my saving grace. So, THANK YOU to everyone who’s had to put up with me and who’s made this process so much easier.

My family has put up with every freak out, every bad day, and still has been so incredibly loving and supportive. (AND gave me motivational cards and flowers today!) My best friend was there in the library with me every single day pushing me to study and focus. My amazing college best friends who were going through the same thing sent me daily motivation and were people who I could vent to because they understood. My med class has been incredible – there was the greatest outpouring of support that I could never begin to put into words, UT Class of 2015, you’re amazing. And even though I couldn’t be on the mats, my BJJ family has continued to give me such great support me through it all.

So, somehow I’ve managed to remain *fairly* sane through this whole thing. I’m ready for tomorrow and excited to move onto the next part of my life.

Extremely grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life and to have the privilege of being in medical school, even if the last 6 weeks have felt more like a curse.

These will finally be dust collectors on my bookshelf


Farewell to the Classroom

I have officially had my last classroom lecture of my life – not to say that the hard work and learning is over by any stretch. I have been sitting in a classroom [well… I don’t know how much I

First and last days of school!!

sat still when I was in preschool] for 20 years, and finally at 23 I leave the comfortable and safe world of desks and lecture halls behind. I am both incredibly excited and truly terrified that all my future learning will come from real patients and not just cases studied from in books. It is one thing to read about how to treat an MI and an entirely different one to use that treatment on someone having a heart attack!

I’m feeling slightly nostalgic. Some of the greatest times in my life have revolved around school. I met my best friend on the school bus when we were 11 and we used to pass notes in class (we were terrible at covering it too).  I learned the preamble to the constitution with School House Rock. I dissected my first frog in 7th grade and was so grossed out I could barely look at it. I learned the value of a great novel in high school literature. I found my love for writing in AP US History. I learned Spanish, Math, and Chemistry with great friends. In college I began to debate about philosophy, religion, sociology, and morality. I have grown into the person I am today because of everything I’ve been able to learn and apply inside and outside the classroom.
First, ahead of me I still have my final exam in Organ Systems next Tuesday. Then we have our comprehensive year 2 exam next Friday. And starting next Saturday I will begin my 38 days of board studying. I have alluded to it several times – on June 11 I take USMLE Step 1 (U.S. Medical Licensing Exam). There are 3 steps required before you are a fully licensed physician. Step 1 is honestly the most important test of my entire life. It is 322 questions over 8 hours. A passing score is a 189 and the national average is usually around 220. You don’t get a good score? You will not get a good residency. It’s that simple. So what does it cover? Everything we’ve learned in 2 years of medical school. (Check out my bookshelf that’s actually missing four 2″ binders)

What I’ve learned in 2 years

To prepare, you study for 14 hours a day (I will be doing 7am-9pm) including 138 practice questions a day and studying high-yield books. I will get a 3 hour break on Saturdays to visit the academy and try to stay sane with my favorite jiu jitsu brothers and sisters (literally just visiting since I’m officially off the mats for 6 weeks due to a broken foot). 

 This quote feels incredibly relevant to my immediate future:
William Osler once said “Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom. Let not your conceptions of disease come from words heard in the lecture room or read from the book. See, and then reason and compare and control. But see first.”

Ready to take the next steps on my journey. Thank you to every friend, teacher, and classmate I’ve ever had. You challenged me every day inside the classroom to learn and outside the classroom to apply my knowledge to make me a better person.

So long, cozy lecture hall!


Hello, doctor’s offices!

Embarrassing Moments of the Week

It is 50 degrees outside and sunny here in Toledo which meant I drove home with my sunroof open this afternoon after finishing my skills exam! Loving life on this Friday (: So I thought I’d switch it up a little bit and share some of my embarrassing/funny moments of the week just so that everyone can get to know me a little better. Yes, I’m a serious student, I love to think about philosophy and life, and yes I love BJJ. But I can also be silly, fun, a klutz, and awkward or embarrassing. I love both sides of myself, so I will start to share both!

         I had to take a make up quiz on Wednesday with a professor. First, I thought her office was in the wrong building. Finally made my way to the correct building on campus, but got ridiculously lost. Had to call her secretary who made me stay put while she came and found me and walked me to where I needed to be. Felt like a lost kid at an amusement park!

          During a clinical skills exam where we do a full physical on a patient, I was going to listen to her abdomen and when I went to pull my stethoscope off my neck pulled a little harder than I expected and it flung off my neck and straight at the patient. That was not good! Apologized profusely and promised I didn’t mean to do it, not sure she believed me.

          Tried to take ibuprofen out of my bag during class, opened the bottle and it spilled (quite loudly) all over the table and on the floor. Everyone turned around and looked at me.

          I learned that yoga pants are apparently God’s gift to men and that I can eat all the oreos I want as long as they go toward making me look good in yoga pants! Hahaha

          Got slapped in the face during drilling by my favorite drilling buddy totally on accident during a loop choke escape but we just about lost it laughing

          Got questioned (actually more like interrogated) in the locker room at the academy by a 7 year old about why I was there because she didn’t recognize me with my new gi/new blue belt/new blonde, straight, and shorter hair. It took 5 good minutes to convince her I really was still Meghan and not a weird new girl using Meghan’s locker.

          One from last week… we were drilling de la riva guard and I was on top and somehow managed all by myself to roll my ankle underneath me and to make sure I didn’t snap it went to fall, mid-fall realized I had no hand to stop me and fell straight onto my head. Seriously, it was a good old-fashioned thud. I think I laughed more than the guys because I know I’m a huge klutz and I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

I truly believe in being able to laugh at yourself, with others, and thoroughly enjoy every moment in life no matter how embarrassing or awkward. Happy weekend everyone!!

My week in pictures

This is how my week has been spent… Less than 2 days until my 4.25 hour exam with 170 questions.  Less than 3 days until Chicago. Just trying to keep my head above water! (also…. I will never try to cut for a tournament the week of a big exam ever again. Sheesh I can make poor life choices).

Feeling pretty good about both. Everyone at the Academy has really made me step up my game, and I’m as prepared as I can be! But that’s not first priority… This exam is. So back to the grind!


Edit… White belts aren’t fighting until Sunday so add a day to that one.