Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for the ‘Medical School’ Category

Happy 2013!

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I’ve been looking forward to and wondering about this year ever since I realized it would be the year I graduate from medical school. So hello 2013! Welcome to existence! I’m going to try to savor each day, but don’t mind me as I continue to count down to my match day (73 days) and my graduation (136 days).

I don’t have any specific resolutions this year. I think I did a good job with 2012, especially given its rampant stressors, so my goal is to just keep doing life better. Keep trying to be more mindful by continuing to do things like culling my possessions, and re-adjusting that tricky work life balance problem. Eating better. Exercising. Reading more. Spending more time connecting with loved ones. The usual. :)

I hope this is a good year for all of you, dear readers, especially my fellow fourth years! I hope we all match in places that we’ll be pleased with.

Written by Aba

January 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Medical School

Children’s Hospitals

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The category of things you find on the bottom of your shoe in a Children’s Hospital apparently includes random plastic gems.

Things you find in the stairwell? Strangely obnoxious encouragements to keep doing what you’re already doing.

2012-12-07 16.31.12

(I’m not entirely sure why the campy nature of these doesn’t quite sit right with me. I’m not usually the sort to be easily annoyed by things.)

I really like Children’s Hospitals though. All the ones I’ve been in are well decorated, and I wish adult hospitals were generally even just a fraction as nice.

Written by Aba

December 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Countdown! 100 days left!

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Match day is getting closer and closer! I finally installed a countdown app on my phone, and as of today, Match Day is 100 days away!

By the end of next week, I’ll be 70% through interviewing for Psychiatry Residency, and I have to admit I’ll be relieved to be done with this process. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every interview day so far, but the traveling gets exhausting.

Written by Aba

December 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

Posted in Medical School

Shopping Inspiration

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After three months out of town (studying for & taking Step 2 CK + away rotations + traveling for interviews), my fridge is stocked with none of the food items I would need to make this delicious meal of over-easy eggs, fresh tomatoes and avocado (except for the hot sauce; that I’ve still got). As much as I’ve enjoyed spending my first day back in my apartment taking it easy, unpacking, and catching up on Parks & Recreation, I really need to venture out and go grocery shopping tomorrow!

I’m really looking forward to my next rotation though. It’s my last taste of psychiatry until residency, and it’s going to be child and adolescent psychiatry! I really like the idea of working with teens and young adults, and everyone I’ve talked to has recommending doing the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship if that’s the case.

Written by Aba

December 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

Done with Step 2CK!

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Yesterday, I took an eight hour multiple choice exam, and you have no idea how relieved I am to be done with it! I still have to take Step 2CS, the standardized patient part, but I’ll worry about scheduling and taking it later.

I have a few days off, during which I need to work on my Residency application (really, really need to write my personal statement asap so that there’s time for a few people to read and edit it for me), and this weekend I’m also going to the PAX Prime gaming convention, because yes, I’m kind of a geek and like to play video games when I can actually find the time do so. =D

And then on Tuesday, I start my first of two Away rotations! I’m excited, and I’m nervous, because it’s essentially a two month long interview. Wish me luck!

Written by Aba

August 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Medical School

Fourth year check in

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What I’m doing with my life right now:

  • Pediatric Neurology rotation. Two weeks of consults (today’s the last day) followed by two weeks of outpatient. I’ve been surprising a lot of people, because summer fourth year rotations are usually in the field you’re applying into, but many people told me I don’t need to do much psychiatry this year (and actually, I’m doing a lot with four. I wanted to do one at the beginning of fourth year, I wanted more than just three afternoons of exposure to Child Psychiatry, and I’m doing two away rotations for personal reasons) so hey, why not do Pediatric Neurology? I had zero exposure to it as a third year medical student, we only learn a little bit about it by default, and, Neurology, Psychiatry, it’s all about the brain, right?
  • Studying for Step 2CK (CK=Clinical Knowledge). Remember the Step 1 exam? It is so named because there are, indeed, more steps! Before I graduate medical school, I get to take both halves of the second part. I’m taking Step 2 on August 28th, and it’s another 8hr, 9hr multiple choice exam. Step 2CS (Clinical Skills) is a 12 Standardized Patient exam, which I have yet to schedule.
  • Residency Application! I’ve finished a first draft of my CV, which I now need to format, and after I take Step 2CK, I’m going to focus on writing my Personal Statement. Hoping I can get it done in two weeks! The application goes out to schools on September 15th. So far away and yet really, so close!
  • Not running or exercising. =( My hours right now are about 7am to 5pm, which is not bad except that doesn’t include the time it takes to get there and get home, and then there’s things like showering, eating, studying (44 qbank questions every day now, 88 if I have magic extra energy), trying to fit in a quick conversation with my boyfriend (ah, long distance relationships), working on my written assignments for this rotation, and oh yeah, sleep. Don’t get me wrong. I could make the time to exercise, but I’ve decided that right now I’m going to prioritize other things.
  • Speaking of sleep: Waking up between 5am and 5:30am without fail, even though my alarm is set for 6am. =( I don’t mind doing this 6 to 7hrs of sleep business when I have to, but when I don’t? Seriously circadian rhythm, what’s going on here?

Written by Aba

July 27, 2012 at 6:35 am

Difficult is not better

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Our value and our worth are not determined by how hard we struggle.

In the hospital, there is one particular nurse’s station that always has an inspirational quote written on a white board in happy, bright colors (it is perhaps relevant that this is a neurosurgery unit, and the patients are generally anything but happy and bright). This was the quote a few days ago, and it resonated with me.

I spend a lot of my life welcoming in the difficult/complicated. Long distance relationship? I can do that! Medical school? Sure, why not? Harder classes, fully packed course loads, early mornings? Psh, of course!

I get satisfaction from knowing that I’ve pushed myself, that I’ve gone above and beyond the average person. (Average is something I was raised to see as undesirable, and it bothers me that, based on my standardized testing scores, I’m an “average” US medical student. And yet… someone has to be. And even more people are below average, and still excellent physicians). But my hard work and personal battles don’t actually make me better than other people; I know this, and it’s always good to remind myself. It bothers me when doctors think they’re special because medical school is so hard to get into, and yes residency is tough (watch me complain next year) and the hours are god awful, but it’s not like we have a monopoly on bad working conditions, and at least we’ll eventually be paid pretty well, and we’ll have good job stability (or ability to find new jobs). So in a similar way, I’m nothing special, just because I’m in a long distance relationship and “suffering” through medical school,  or because I enjoy spending part of my vacation cleaning and cooking for my boyfriend instead of kicking back all day while he’s at work.

I’m not going to stop struggling though, because in some ways, I’m lost without it. I’m on a fairly light rotation right now (yay fourth year!); I have all my weekends off and amazing hours, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I need to fill my days with actions, as much as I think I love free time. And I’d much rather fill it with actions done for other people, not myself. (A perhaps related aspect of my personality is that I hate asking for help, but love being asked for help. I love to do things for people but am often uncomfortable having things done for me, unless we’re very close. I’m either really desperate or I really like you if I ask you for a favor. Or both).

My value and worth are not determined by how hard I struggle, but struggling is a part of who I am, and I’m mostly at peace with it, and I’ve learned how not to be dysfunctional about it. Sometimes battles are not worth fighting, and sometimes shortcuts are amazing, so I’m fine buying pre-chopped or crushed ingredients for my cooking, and sometimes I’m fine buying that thing I could totally make myself for much cheaper (especially after I’ve made it once, just to prove I’m capable).

We are all worthy, valuable people, no matter how hard we do or don’t struggle in this lifetime. Some of us might still be terrible people anyway, but that’s for other reasons. =)

Written by Aba

June 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Small Indulgences

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One slice soft wheat bread, 1.5 slices of bacon, some sliced turkey, and one whole avocado (not all of it made it into the sandwich, but all ot if made it into my stomach). Mayo and a wedge of laughing cow cheese on the bread, a bit of truffle salt on the avocado. Absolutely fantastically marvelously delicious. Avocado is by far one of my favorite… fruit type things. I wish I’d taken a better picture, but honestly I’m impressed I got myself to stop eating and take a picture in the first place.


This is what happens when I:

1) Buy avocados on a whim (they cost so much in the US but they’re so good!)

2) Am feeling particularly hungry and indulgent

3) Am not entirely exhausted from being in the hospital

4) Have cooked bacon in the freezer (leftover from my bacon-kale frittata) and turkey in the fridge (bought, but not eaten, by my boyfriend when he visited, so now it’s mine).

5) Actually have bread

And now I need to not curl up in bed for a post-food coma nap, but find an interesting article on pancreatitis to present to my team tomorrow morning.

Written by Aba

May 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm


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My boyfriend visited this past weekend, and on Saturday we went for our first run together. Much to our delight, we came across this family of two geese and five goslings! So far most of my runs have been indoors on the treadmill, but my outdoor runs are far more uplifting (Forest Park is just so pretty; I love living close to it), and I find I push myself harder outside too.

It was a wonderful weekend, and it’s left me feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my last four weeks of third year, and my last shelf exam! I was feeling rather burned out while I was on Inpatient Cardiology, though thankfully my Outpatient rotation was a relaxing change of pace (and still very educational).

Written by Aba

May 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Introversion and Medicine

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I’ve been meaning to do a long post about what it’s like to be an introvert in medical school. It comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you’re a really quiet introvert (like me), and even worse if you’re shy too (I’m not very shy in professional contexts). But I don’t think I’m going to get around to one big post, so I’m just going to try to remember to post about it every now and then.

I just finished my four weeks on Outpatient medicine, and the Doctor I worked with was very social. When I followed him around the hospital, he was always saying hi to people: janitors, nurses, administrative people, etc. I think he’s also the Director of his division, so some of it comes with the job, but he’s also just that sort of person. At the end of every heart catheterization, he would thank each of his support staff, and they always seemed genuinely happy when they realized he’d be working in their operating room that day.

His office partner, also a cardiologist, was quite different. He seemed like a nice, friendly guy, and he often poked his head in on occasion to chat (and often about life, not just about patients). He’s good to the office staff too, but he doesn’t socialize much outside of his office, apparently. On two or three occasions I heard people ask the doctor I was with about him, and mention that he doesn’t really smile much. I think he’s just new though, and probably takes a bit of time to warm up to people.

I’m not a chatty person, and I enjoy disappearing into my thoughts. I used to hate getting my hair done as a pre-teen because my mother would always complain that I would just read and not smile at the hairdressers or talk to them. I understand her point, especially now, but at the time I didn’t want to be there in the first place, and it was tolerable because I just read throughout the experience and stayed in my own little world.

But I make an effort to be pleasant.  Especially in the hospital, but I also extend this to life in general. I’m not going to suddenly turn into the kind of person who talks to everyone about anything, but I’m quick to smile and nod a hello. To at least acknowledge them and trade generic greetings. People notice these things, and they appreciate it.

Written by Aba

May 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

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