What a difference a day makes

January 11, 2017 § 2 Comments

This morning I woke up to find a message from one of my friends asking me if a certain picture she’d seen on Instagram was mine. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal so far, but it ended up being a picture of my notes posted by an amazing board review source I use and love (and have mentioned many times before): SketchyMedical. The kicker? They’d re-posted the picture from someone else who was taking credit for it. To be honest, it’s not a huge deal – especially because the picture and notes are mainly from SketchyMedical (and therefore not entirely my material). But, the fact that someone found the image on google and then took credit for it (in comments that have since been deleted) made me a mix of angry and sad. This person even thanked SketchyMedical for admiring/acknowledging his/her work!

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Fast forward 10 or so hours. The sun has risen on the west coast, awaking SketchyMedical employees. Suddenly, my picture is shared on their Facebook page and I’m credited in their instagram post. At this point, I’m just honored. It’s really cool that my notes have found their way from the dark corner of the internet where this blog lives to the social media pages of the source I used! Then, while finishing up an application for a residency position, I get a notification that I’ve received an email from “Dorothy from SketchyMedical”. To be honest, I thought it was spam. At least that is what I prepared myself for. Keep your expectations low and you’ll always be happy, right?

In the email she complemented my notes and asked if I would be interested in being a SketchyMedical brand ambassador. As one, I will write for their blog as a guest blogger, share on social media, get a free subscription and get a discount code for my followers! I was so, so happy when I read this! Especially because USMLE cramming has begun and I was just considering renewing my SketchyMedical subscription. So, a sort of bad start to the day but an amazing, surprising end! You really never know what the day will bring.

That said, I’m back – I promise! I can’t tell you how disappointed I’ve been with myself for not posting more. I have so many drafts containing a few or so paragraphs that I’ve started and left to be forgotten. I was even planning on getting back into the groove with a “blogmas” – where I post one blog every day in December until Christmas. Leave aside the fact that I had two abstracts to turn in for February’s research conference and 3 exams BEFORE exam period even started. Then there was exam period. And now? USMLE. Oh and applying for rotations for 6th year and residency positions for after graduation. And I can’t forget about that thesis! Oh and actually preparing my presentations for the research conference. And helping at the anatomy exams every Tuesday and Thursday. And preparing my curriculum for anatomy next semester. And sleeping. And working out. And reminding my family and friends that I still exist and love them, even if I don’t talk to them for 3 months.

I wish I could remember all the big things that have happened since I last wrote and make a sort of summary…but I know I am going to forget something. I will probably bring random things up in future posts as they come along. I do know how I will close out this post though – cause I’m saving the best for last!

Our exams this semester were the following:

  • Pediatrics – we were lucky enough to be in the department that lets you take this exam at the end of your block (all the other exams have to be taken in exam period). As such, we were done with this one in October!
  • Neurology – we got to do this one in the week before exam period. That Friday was INSANE! I had my gyno semi-final at 8:00, neuro semi-final at 10:00, then I had to run to my last anatomy class and teach for 1.5 hours, then at 12:00 I had my forensics semi-final.
  • ObGyn
  • Forensics – our year was split into two large groups for this exam. I took it in the first round, which, for some reason, was extremely difficult! I ended up getting a 2, which I was really bummed about. When I retook it a week later (to improve my grade), the examiner apologised for the exam and said that somehow, all of the difficult questions had ended up on our version and the easier ones on the second, rather than an equal mix between the two. I’m so, so happy with my decision to retake it!
  • Surgery – For this one, I also ended up retaking it to improve my grade. Crazy girl! Unfortunately, I missed a 5 by 1 point… #stillbitter
  • Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy – this one almost drove me crazy! It’s written and they do whatever they can to trick you. Like changing a small detail in a possible answer. Somehow, I got away with this one.
  • Psychiatry – such a fun subject to study for!
  • Urology – my last exam before Christmas. I was so exhausted by this exam that I was beginning to lose it. Luckily, it went well. Do I remember anything? Hematuria?
  • Internal Medicine: Gastroenterology – this was my last exam and it was amazing! It was my only exam after Christmas and I had 10 days – so I got to take some time off to celebrate Christmas and sleep! Studying for it was really, really nice. I genuinely enjoyed myself. At the exam, I was nervous – as always. It ended up being perfect. My friend Dushyant and I were the last two examined and the vibe in the room was amazing. We were told we got 5+ when we were handed our grades ;).

Other than exams, I submitted two abstracts for the International Student Research Conference in February. The first one I did alone with help from my advisor and the second is one I am doing together with Amir.

  • Department of Public Health: Personal Health Practices of International Medical Students in Germany and Hungary: A Cross-Sectional Study
  • Department of Surgical Research and Techniques: Can Serious Games like The Kheiron Training System Enhance Skill Acquisition from Traditional Box Trainers?

To be able to do these, I had to learn how to use a statistical database program called SPSS. I spent so many hours feeling so incomprehensibly stupid during this. I once spent 3 days doing nothing but reading articles and trying to figure out how to analyse our data – and I felt like I got nowhere. But, somehow, I was able to submit the abstracts before the deadline!

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It’s time for bed, so I’ll touch on other things (like my students!) in future posts. To close out this one, I’ll introduce you to: Baloo and Joseph!

I’ll start with Baloo: we’ve wanted a dog for years but it never felt like the right time. Then, when we were visiting my mom in October we suddenly realised how possible it was (she has a teacup yorkie). So, we made the extremely impulsive and exciting decision to get one. We’ve had him for 3 months now and honestly could not be happier. There hasn’t been one negative consequence of our rash decision – thankfully! He comes with us almost everywhere and sits with us when we study – even when I get up for 3 a.m. cramming – and he’s so calm and quiet! Plus, he makes us laugh everyday. Because dogs are amazing.


And last, but definitely not least! Meet my nephew, Joseph!! It’s times like these that I hate living so far away from family. Still, I’m thankful that we are able to stay in touch with all these media forms today. I’m really hoping I can make a trip to the west coast soon.

Block system, research and teaching – oh my!

October 11, 2016 § 2 Comments

It’s been a while since I last wrote and I have to say I’ve missed it a lot! The rest of August was packed with work – we even worked on the day that we left for the flight back to Budapest. It will all be worth it when we get our pay checks, but it was quite tiring then!

We started school the day after we got back. This should be a calm semester – we have the block system now, so we only have one subject for 1 or 2 weeks at a time – but I don’t think I’ll ever experience “calm”. The reason my semester isn’t calm has to do with something I never could have imagined happening: I’m teaching anatomy!

Along with my friends Dushyant and Amir, we are the three 5th years students who each have our own group in anatomy. It’s a huge honor and I feel so lucky to have been offered this opportunity. It’s also A LOT of work! I teach 3 classes a week (one histology and two in the dissection room) and outside of that I spend maybe 10-20 hours a week preparing/reviewing for the class. This semester we are focusing on the locomotor system (all the muscles, movements, nerves, vessels etc. of the upper limb, lower limb and thorax).

I absolutely love apps/technology/organizing and teaching this class is giving me the chance to let my technology freak flag fly high! In order to share useful sources, links, notes etc. with my students, I’ve created a page on a website called Trello. It’s more of a project managing site for companies, but I feel that it also works really well for teaching.

I re-organized it last night (one of the keys to success is constantly evolving your tactics, right?), so now it shows each board by topic. Previously, I had organised by week, so that they could follow along during the weeks of the semester. With midterms approaching, I think it is more efficient to have everything in one place.

This is how the main page of the Trello account looks:

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When you go into specific boards, you can see that different topics or weeks are divided into separate lists. Each list is composed of various cards.

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When you click on a card, it will open up to a smaller window and show you the details included in that card. For each histology slide, I include links to videos or websites covering the theory, details from the new histology guide written by the department, details from the old histology guide (which I feel has more detail and information) and then at the end, a picture of my own notes for that slide.

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In addition to Trello, I use the website Memorang for creating flashcards. I’ve used this app before for previous courses and absolutely love it. I do prefer traditional, hard copy flashcards, but the benefit of this site is the algorithms (if you get a card wrong, it intermittently repeats it until you hate it) and the statistics (it gives you percentage progress with each card and with the deck). My students have access to the cards and I can see the top students on the leaderboard for the different sets.

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On the online version of the site, there are different testing methods – which can be really great when you are tired/bored with studying and need a little kick.

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I use the multiple choice option the most, but the traditional flashcard version is great when you need to first learn the material.

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Another program/app that I’m using – or will start using today – is called Socrative. I really like how online quizzing systems can be integrated into the classroom/lectures. I’ve heard that one of the pathophysiology teacher has started doing it in his lectures and one of our internal medicine teachers did it during one of her presentations. It’s such a great way of keeping students engaged and interested. I’m not sure how I will integrate it into my practical classes, so for now I am using the site to arrange online quizzes that the students  can do at home. My friend Amir and I have created almost 100 questions that we will launch in two rounds. My group will have their first quiz today and their second on Tuesday evening.

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I will open the quiz for 1.5 hours and can track their progress throughout that time. At the end, I can download reports that are either (a) question specific or (b) student specific, which the students can then print out and use to study from late.

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In addition to teaching, I’m doing research with two departments: Department of Surgical Research and Techniques and Department of Public Health. If all goes well – which I’m sure it will, after a lot of hard work – I will present my work in both departments at the TDK conference (Student Research Conference) in February. I had a really great experience with my 2nd semester public health professor and he has offered to be my thesis advisor. There are a couple of potential projects I can consider for my thesis (which must be completed by the end of 6th year, but which should be started – at least – by 5th year). I won’t tell about any of them yet – don’t want to jinx myself! With so many different departments, possible topics and potential thesis themes and advisors, I feel lucky to have a place to start.

I’d hoped to make this post longer and a bit more informative, but at this point I just need to press “publish”! I’ve sat down to write a new post countless times in the past two months and always get interrupted by something :P.

Tomorrow I will be examining 1st year medical students for their first midterm (covering the entire upper limb) all day. There are exams at 8:00, 10:00 and 14:00 and I’ve agreed to be there for all of them. It still amazes me how different things are now and how crazy it would be to go back and tell my 1st year self where I am today!

To get an idea of what the students need to know for their exam, check out the checklist I made for my group. That’s a lot of new vocab to learn!

Ok, off to Memorang flashcard land I go! Meanwhile, my students are finishing up their second quiz. I love being able to follow along live. The quiz Amir and I made is really, really tough (designed to make them think and use their knowledge), so I’m not too worried about the incorrect questions.

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