Upcoming Webinar with Accepted.com

For all my premed friends out there, the MCAT is the one big obstacle that stands in your way of going to med school. It’s one of the big things that will make or break your interview season. Do it the right way the first time and blow past that hurdle. Accepted.com is hosting a MCAT seminar on April 5th:


Stay Away from these 5 MCAT Offenses!

Prepare for the MCAT exam armed with the information and advice you need to ace it. Earn a score that will make you and your target med school proud!

Join our friends over at Accepted on Tuesday, April 5th at 5pm PT/8pm ET as they welcome their guest speaker, Alec Lee, co-founder of MPrep, to the podium for a phenomenal webinar, 5 MCAT Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make.

Your future is calling. Make sure your MCAT score allows you to pursue your dream of becoming a doctor.

Register for 5 MCAT Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make now!

Register here.

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Match Week 2016

Yesterday, 4th year med students around the country learned whether or not they matched into their desired field. On Friday, they find out where they’re spending the next 3-7 years of their lives as they continue their training. I am so excited for each and every one of them…. But also terrified that I’m up next.

I’ve registered for my 4th year classes and rotations. I’ve got all of my recommendation letters save one. My research is slowly wrapping up. I’ve registered for Step 2. My Personal Statement is in the works. 

This is really happening.

Last night I dreamt that I only got one interview and I woke up in a panic. Not cool.

This next year is going to be one wild ride.

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So, So Fast

Guys… this is it. The doors are closing. And opening.

The first two years of medical school, I thoroughly enjoyed how open everything was. Back then, I could have been ANY type of doctor that I wanted.

Doors start to open and close for the first time around the time we get our Step 1 scores back. A higher score means we can daydream about the super-competitive stuff, or the not-so-competitive specialties but in highly-sought-after locations or top-tier programs. Lower scores may mean kissing some daydreams goodbye,  or opening up plans for parallel applications.

Then third year hits, and we try to figure out what we really want to do. Maybe surgery wasn’t want we thought it would be. Maybe Internal isn’t as procedural as we had hoped. Maybe we don’t like the small talk of seeing patients in a clinic. Specialties get bumped up or down the list.

In December, we had our first classwide meeting with our Dean’s Letter (MSPE) writer and the opportunity to meet with Program Directors/ Assistant Program Directors/Chief Residents to learn about how to prepare for residency applications in their area of expertise–known at our school as Mastering Career Planning. There should be more of those types of meetings in the not-so-distant future. This was the first time we got to sort ourselves by specialty, which was interesting since we were less than halfway through with third year.

Now, things are getting serious. We have scheduled our individual meetings with Dr. Mike who will write our MSPE letter. (I’ve already had my meeting… lots of good info and lots of things to think about and start doing!) We also have our individual meetings to start planning and scheduling our 4th year (eeeeeeeek!!!!). I’ve now completed my Pediatrics rotation and I absolutely know that is what I want to do with my life, so I am okay with all other doors closing. I’m terrified and excited all at the same time. I’ve been gathering tips and advice from 4th years and residents about applying to Pediatrics. I’ve started my Personal Statement. I have my first letter writers for the recommendation letters that I’ll need. I am starting to look more deeply into what programs I want on my list and getting to know the individual programs a little better to see if I really want to apply to so many. (David is getting antsy, staying in one place so long. I am too. The Ladybug isn’t is school yet. I am excited that the Match process could literally put us anywhere in the country for the next three years of my training. I’m telling ya, excited and terrified all at the same time!)

Guys…. it’s going by so, so fast. I feel like there is no way that I am ready for all of this yet. There is so much stuff that I still don’t know (or can’t recall, that I SHOULD know, or feel like I should know.)… and I’m going to be applying for my first job this September.

I just want to Match. If you pray, or send good thoughts to people…. be thinking of my class as we approach all of the stressors of 4th year and this convoluted process that decides our first jobs. I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you.

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Wearing All the Hats

Hats. I wear several. It’s hard to keep track of them all. Let me tell you how today went.

I’m on my Family Medicine rotation, and I’m spending the first two weeks (out of six) at a local clinic. Three of my classmates are also at this clinic for the two weeks. At this particular clinic, we get 4 half-days off to study. This morning was my first half day off.

First, I still got up before 6am to get ready for the day. I packed my daughter’s daycare bag with breakfast and snacks, got dressed for the day, and then got her up, got her dressed, and out the door we went to daycare. When I got back home, I cleaned the kitchen, put up one load of dishes and started another load, started laundry, took out the trash, and rearranged my kitchen cabinets (the place was seriously a mess and I couldn’t stand it anymore!).

Once that was done, I did some things I needed to get done: sifting through emails. Fourth year is rapidly approaching and we’ve been bombarded with emails about scheduling 4th year, writing our personal statements, meeting with our advisors and our MSPE letter writers, etc, so there have been a lot of emails with a lot of important dates attached. So I filed away all of the ones I was done with, updated my planner, RSVP’d to events, set up meetings with advisors, that sort of thing. I then did some of my fun things like edit an article for in-Training, submit Annual Meeting programming ideas to my AMA Committee, etc. Then I sat down to study for a bit.

For the past couple of weeks, my back and shoulder have been killing me so I booked a massage for this morning to see if that could work out my tight muscles since even yoga hasn’t been helping. After my appointment, I grabbed a quick lunch and made my way to the clinic. We saw 6 patients before the end of the day (not bad for a half day, as several of them required quite a bit of time to address all of the problems).

Tonight, my school’s GHHS group hosted “Compassion Rounds”, which was a great meeting on self-care and wellness that was a great reminder of why I came to medical school, and gave me a lot of things to think about, in terms of how I treat myself while I’m going through this process–I always feel like I am failing at at least one of the things that I do.

By the time I got out of the meeting, it was 7:30pm. We really needed groceries and I missed my hubby and the Ladybug, so we all went to the grocery together for a quick trip. Once we got home, the hubby put away the groceries while I gave the Ladybug a bath and dressed in her PJ’s. I then took a shower, paid bills, balanced my checkbook (all that “adulting” stuff, and worked a few of the Case Files cases for Family Medicine.

This day has felt like three individual days. I still didn’t get everything done that I wanted–I didn’t make it to the gym today. I usually go either super early on my days off, or after the Ladybug goes to bed during the week. I didn’t get to study as much as I hoped today since I did need to do some “life” things, but I am ok with that, since I got so much of the “life” stuff done.

Today I also read a short article titled “I’m a Mom, Not a Martyr.” It was a great article; it addressed so many of the feelings that I’ve had while trying to go to school and be a good wife/mom. I do all of these things because I love all of them. I love being a mom. I love taking care of my family. I love spending time alone with my husband. I love going to the gym and having my free time. I love writing and editing. I love being a medical student. I’m exhausted, but I’m also extremely happy. Some days, I get so frustrated. Some days, I just want a nap! And it’s all ok! I’m not a martyr, I’m not a saint, I’m not superwoman, I’m just me and I’m doing what works. Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s not. Being a medical student is not nearly as impossible as I had originally thought way back when I first got my acceptance. I thought I would spend every waking minute (and give up sleeping, too, I thought) to be totally consumed with medicine. That’s not how it has been at all, and we are all three thriving. There have been plenty of struggles, plenty of tears, but also plenty of laughs and smiles and joy. It’s all about adjusting and rolling with the punches. Today was long and convoluted and I wore all my hats at different times–and it was a great day!

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Get Accepted to Med School with Low Stats: Accepted.com Webinar This Week!

I applied to med school four times. FOUR times. Far too many. Lots of people thought I should just get over it and go on with life. I met with advisors who couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t accepted, time and time again. I tried strengthening my application by every means possible: volunteering, publishing research, earning a Master’s degree, taking extra science courses… anything that would show my commitment. I didn’t have ‘low stats’, but something was obviously not working to my advantage. I knew a lot of people in the same boat, and lots of premeds that worried that their stats would be so low that they’d never get to pursue their dream.

Do you think you fit into that category? Accepted.com is hosting a webinar TOMORROW to discuss how to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Don’t miss it! See below for details!



Think Low Stats & Med School Acceptance Don’t Mix?

Think again!

Low scores and med school acceptance don’t need to be mutually exclusive. There are things you can do to boost your chances of getting into medical school…even with a low GPA and/or MCAT score!

Don’t let your weaknesses get the best of you. Learn how to highlight your strengths and get accepted when you attend Accepted’s upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats, next week on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST.

Reserve your spot by registering now!

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Abaton 2015


Relationships with patients have always held a special interest with me. It is quite often that I go looking for essays and poems about doctors’ experiences, to learn from them how to be a better physician and how to cope with the things we deal with every day.

Years ago, I stumbled upon a little publication in medical humanities, and I told myself that someday I’d get a piece of my writing published in it. This year marks the third year I’ve had a piece accepted and I’m still as thrilled as the first time. Des Moines University publishes Abaton annually, and I always enjoy reading the pieces they select. The current issue, in addition to the previous issues, can all be found here. 

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Internal Medicine: mostly plain black

Surgery: What’s a stethoscope?

Neurology: an even mix of different colors

Pediatrics: “I just got my new stethoscope! It’s rainbow!!” 😀

I’ve loved my first week of outpatient peds. I am, most definitely, a pediatrician at heart.

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Top 12 Posts on in-Training!

I started writing a column for in-Training.org this year called Cherrios and Stethoscopes. My first article made the #4 article on their Top 12 list for 2015! I’m so excited! I only agreed to write because I hoped that maybe my story would help someone else. I’m hoping I can continue that in 2016! 

In-Training link to article! 

Happy New Year, y’all! 

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Looking Forward

It’s that time of year again!

2015 was one heck of a year. I finished my second year of medical school, passed Step 1 of my medical boards, celebrated our daughter’s first birthday, took her on her first long family vacation, moved into a new home, started my third year of med school on the wards, and went on a birthday trip (My first time on a plane since 2005!). As phenomenal as all of that was, it wasn’t without it’s low points. We lost my father-in-law in September, and early this morning, David’s family lost another remember. As excited as I am to ring in the new year tonight, it feels a bit dampened now. However, I’m trying to remember the good times and press forward with hope.

Over the past month, I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to accomplish with this new year, knowing that by this time next year, I’ll likely be done interviewing for residency (more or less), and we’ll be making hard decisions about the first step of my career. I’ve never been good at keeping my New Year’s resolutions. The best thing I’ve ever done to stick to my resolutions is… To start before the new year. 

After my surgery rotation, I started going back to my gym (I mean, I’m paying for it anyway, right?) and I am so proud of myself for losing nearly 20lbs so far. I feel better, my pace time is already improving, and I’m already down a size in my jeans. I usually go for a run super early on my off day or late at night after the Ladybug goes to bed. I really enjoy my time for “just me” at the gym… I don’t think about school, or things I need to finish, or anything…. it’s just me and the distance racking up on the treadmill (and my iPod, to be honest). Since I’ve been able to keep at it for a few months now, I bit the bullet and finally bought a FitBit (it came in the mail today!) to help keep me on track. I’d really like to run two half-marathons this year… if I can keep this up.

Last week, I found this idea: a “7 x 2016”, a prompt for making wishes become goals instead of ‘traditional’ resolutions. I really liked that idea, so here goes mine, with a couple additions:

Learn how to.….. speak in medical Spanish. Back in high school and even college, I was pretty good in speaking Spanish with native speakers. However, it’s true that what you don’t use, you lose. I’ve bought a guide and have already conquered the first chapter. Here’s hoping for better communication with some of my future patients.

Start……. My Year of Kindness. One thing I’ve been noticing lately is a genuine lack of kindness in our community. I’ve got a few ideas on what to target for each month, and I’m really hoping this new venture is a success. More on that soon.

Stop…… Doubting myself. I do it all the time. It’s a hard habit to break, but I realize what a detriment it is to my psyche and my performance as a student, wife, and mom. There is no room for it anymore in this new year.

Travel to.….. This one is my favorite, I think. While I feel like I am overdue for a visit to somewhere outside the USA. It’s been almost 5 years since we went to the Caribbean. However, I think that adventure might still be awhile off. This year, we’re planning on a post-third year pre-Step 2 studying family vacation to Washington, DC and Virginia Beach–three new states for me and the Ladybug’s first trip to a beach. Much slower-paced than we’re used to, but that’s ok! Making memories with my family is a priority this year.

Find…. Two half-marathons to run this year. With rotations, it’s not like I can just pick which ones to do this far ahead of time, so I’m wondering if I should skip the local half-marathon in April (during my OB/GYN rotation… just watch my week of nights in L&D be the same time as the race) and plan for one in summer and another in the fall. Any suggestions for fun ones to run?

Try…… New restaurants in our area. Since there is a great probability that we just may not be living here after The Match, I’ve insisted that instead of always going to the same places (which I love, honestly), that we try some new places that are unique to the Louisville area. We’ve asked friends of ours to go with us to a new restaurant once a month. I’m really excited for this new Double-Date Night!

Be more……. Girly. Since being in med school, I quit dressing nice for class/school in general unless it was absolutely necessary. Then once I became a mom, I put myself last on the list of people to care for. I love dresses but don’t think they look right on me. Since losing so much weight, the brand-new clothes I bought for rotations in July already don’t fit me, which is a blessing and a curse. I hope to actually acquire some style this year, and maybe even keep my nails painted and try new lipstick or something.

And then two I added to make my own “9 x 2016”:

Less….. Screen time/wasted time on my phone. I wonder how much efficient I would be if I transferred all of my phone time to work time. Not that it’s bad to focus on something outside of medicine for awhile, but I find that I scroll through all the social media apps when I’m bored and spend much more time on them then I intend.

More…… Memories/Playtime with my kiddo and hubby. The Ladybug loves for momma to come home and do nothing but play until it’s her bedtime… which sometimes eats up a large amount of my study time, and sometimes makes me worry that I’m not a good medical student. However, I don’t think this is time wasted (such as when I’m on my phone). I always, always, always make sure that I tell her that I am happy to see her and that I love her as soon as I pick her up each day. I want to soak up all of this sweet toddler time as I can.

A friend of mine stuck to her resolution last year to try to bake one new pie/month. I really like that idea, and David has already volunteered for the difficult job of taste-tester!😉

2016…. another big year for us. I am so excited to see where it leads us, and start the process of finding my first job as a doctor… Sometimes it hardly seems real.

So, friends, I leave you with this: I hope the new year brings you enough obstacles to keep you courageous, enough disappointment to keep you hungry for personal growth, and enough adventures to keep you inspired. Let the following question be your guide:

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Six Years… and Counting

In the hustle and rush of a med student’s schedule, I often don’t get to spend as much time with my friends and family as I’d like. But there’s one person in particular that I feel like I’ve put through a particularly hard ringer in the past two and a half years, and that is David.

When I first met him, he had just moved home from a job in Iowa, was living with his mother, and didn’t have a job here yet. I was particularly miserable when I met him… I felt lost. I had been through a bad breakup earlier in the year, had been rejected after months on the waitlist of my dream medical school, had left behind many friendswas working a job I wasn’t sure I even liked, and enrolled in a graduate program I wasn’t sure I fit into, all while trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I’d considered dropping everything I was doing to join the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps… I had the applications filled out but had not had the courage to hit “Send”.  I imagined a life of loneliness, being married to my work, and maybe someday adopting children if I still wanted them. In reality, at that time, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to meet anyone until after I got my own life figured out.

But…. he sure was handsome. And he was kind. He had a sharp wit and understood my science jokes. He had his own science jokes. When I talked about all of the trips I dreamed about taking “someday”, he was the first guy that didn’t balk at me…. but instead, added in his own. And when I rattled on and on about my dream of becoming a doctor, with one unsuccessful application cycle under my belt… he didn’t try to talk me out of it, as others had. He is always encouraging, always supporting, always pushing me to find new horizons. In the past 18 months, he’s had to deal with my insanity of becoming a mom… and endured all the silly songs I have created to make our daughter smile (sometimes, I am sure he thinks I have lost my ever-loving mind).

This year, we celebrated six years of our fairy tale. Things haven’t always been easy. There have been many obstacles that we didn’t foresee: funerals, sick family members, two more unsuccessful medical school application cycles, a successful application cycle, last-minute switch in medical schools, getting pregnant during medical school…. This year alone we’ve dealt with the stress of Step 1, moving, juggling a toddler during a long and draining surgery rotation, an unexpected funeral… In the year to come, we’ll deal with the stresses of the Matching process, together.

In these years, he is unchanged. He continues to surprise me with his thoughtfulness. He has never once told me my dreams were too big… instead, he stretches their boundaries and makes them ours.He has never once told me things were too rough. He lets me vent my frustrations when I need to. He has his own frustrations that sometimes I feel he keeps to himself because he knows I am stressed. However, this life is still pretty sweet, and I love him more each day. I never thought that this life was possible. He is a treasure, and my perfect match. I am so thankful for our  we have built together.

Very often, I remember what life was like pre-David. I remember all of the things that ran through my mind, and I remember that I didn’t like where my life was going. This all makes me realize just how lucky I am that he chose me.

David, my handsome…. I can’t promise white Christmases or always-clear skies…. But I can fuel your adventurous side, and walk those trails hand in hand. Happy anniversary, David. Six years of adventures behind us, and hopefully many more still to come.

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