second year

Updates in Life

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Across the street from my new place
Across the street from my house


I hope everyone reading is doing well. Right about now, premeds are applying to medical school. Good luck! In the end, whether this cycle yields an acceptance or not, remember to take a wellness break. New medical students are starting up, hopefully you had that wellness break. The more people you’re friends with the easier first year will be — don’t forget about that wellness and time for yourself.

Medical School Stuff

For me, my second year of medical school just started a couple of weeks ago. If you’re interested in the schedule, you can read it here. After about two weeks into the semester we had our first exam, it covered 43 lectures including group discussion material. During this time you practically breath Power Point slides as you have to go through a couple thousand in a few weeks. Though, it’s not as bad as it sounds as the material is more clinically relevant, it’s more interesting than the first year. It’s a lot of material, but if you make a daily effort to keep up it’s rather manageable because we no longer have to juggle disparate courses like in the first year. This is also the year that we have to take our first board exam, but I won’t have much to say on that subject for a couple of months. By the way, my first exam on pharmacology, pathology and some infectious disease went fine.


Found A Place to Live

So, several weeks ago, the house I live in was sold. As you may have imagined, this created quite a predicament for your author because housing in Boston is ridiculous. We are somewhere near 3rd in the country for cost of housing — if you’re living in SF and reading this, you have my condolences. Here, it’s not just the prices, the finding roommate process can be a little daunting and even sometimes ridiculous. One advertisement demanded a Linkedin profile be sent, another explicitly said “wealthy applicants only”, and yet many others asked for short essays of “why do I want to live with you”. Other potential places were a little too eclectic: some demanded you participate in a commune (no sarcasm), posts that had 2-3 paragraphs about their cat were ignored. In the end, I found a place just a block or so from my current one. Somehow, the price ended up being slightly cheaper than what I’m paying now, and my new roommates will be a post doc and a graphic designer. I had a big goal of staying in my area, because it’s right outside of greater Boston — it’s a little oasis away from the hectic blazing sirens near our hospital (and student housing).

Finally, I just have to say thanks for reading and keeping me in your best wishes!

Second Year Starts in Less Than 48 Hours!

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Well, the summer is almost over, and it’s just about been a year since I moved to Boston from Southern California. Boston is still going through a latent US speculative property inflation trend — fancy talk for “the rent is too damn high”.

1st year in a nutshell
1st year in a nutshell

Anyways, second year starts this Wednesday. My summer is coming to a close. I spent most of my summer at an ambulatory cardiovascular clinic, with occasional visits to various inpatient cardiology rounds, and topped off with a random visit to a level 4 bio-safety lab (the places where they make zombie viruses in movies). It was an awesome opportunity given to me by the American Heart Association and NIH for a proposal I was working on with my PI last winter, and I’m very appreciative of this formative paid experience to work with patients (extensively), nurses, EPIC (our EHR), and physicians every day. From patients I’ve received lots of enthusiastic handshakes, a few hugs, and even a drawing. Best of all, I gained a physician mentor and made really close friends.

In the first year, it’s easy to drown under the tsunami of one-off facts you’ll need to have in your back pocket at any given time. Though, I suppose, they’ll always be a new tsunami to worry about. Speaking of that tsunami, the first years students will be starting soon. I’m not an authority on how to best first year, in fact, I struggled like many others did just to get through it. I expected medical school to be hard, and honestly it’s a little gratifying to see that it’s just as hard as quoted. I’ve enjoyed my humble pie. There were classes I did great in, some not so well, and I learned a lot in the process. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use those lessons wisely in the second year and onward.

Our schedule is going to be very different than the first year. Incidentally, we’re the last to have that 1st year schedule at our school as they’re changing the curriculum. The first year was a traditional system, you have a lot of disparate courses at once: have biochemistry, anatomy, neuroscience/anatomy, public health, and the list goes on and on. A lot of schools are moving towards “integration”, i.e. the very opposite of the traditional system where students were tasked with forming their own euphonies on the connections between disparate courses. Hopefully you did, some surely didn’t. Here, second years have more of a systems based approach, i.e. we’ll have a pulmonary block, cardiovascular block, hematology block. The big difference, so I’ve been told, is that we’ll now focus more on the disease and treatment than the science (first year work). For all intents and purposes, one could argue we’re learning more practical things — probably with an immeasurable amount of things I’ll need to unlearn/relearn properly later in our careers.

In case you’re curious about the schedule for our second year medical school here’s a non all inclusive list of modules, our school year ends April 1st of next year giving us time to focus on our board exam (Step 1):

– Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases (affectionately called “Bugs and Drugs”)

– Pulmonary

– Cardiovascular

– Neurology

– Psychiatry

– Endocrinology

– Dermatology

– Hematology

– Rheumatology

– Renal (The Kidneys Strike Back!)

– Gastrointestinal

– Reproduction

– Oncology

Good luck incoming students, and current applicants! I’m going to get back to work, i.e. eat, go through some patients’ charts, and drink lots of coffee.

Best wishes!