Tips on Shadowing

Okay, so we have heard this before, “Shadowing is one of the most important activities that we Pre-med students need to do..” I mean we stress over doing x amount of volunteering at the hospital with a physician or healthcare provider. But why is it so essential? As straightforward as the answer may seem, there’s a lot of components into shadowing a physician as it  gives a chance to understand different symptoms and treatments of a disease and to also confirm your interest in becoming a physician.

So, before I dive in, I promise I’ll try not to reiterate information that most of you have heard. To do that, I’ll segregate this blog post into two parts ,which are ways to find different physicians that you can shadow, and what we can partake on once we have found different physicians that we have shadowed. So let’s go through it.

PART ONE:  HOW DO I FIND DIFFERENT PHYSICIANS THAT I CAN SHADOW?

There are various ways that you can find different shadows to volunteer with. But I think that most of it all stems from surpassing your comfort zone.

1.) Check out www.healthgrades.com

This was actually how I first began finding local physicians that I can volunteer with. The beauty of this website is that it separates into the types of physicians that you want to shadow based on their specialty and how far they are from you, etc. So the other aspect about this is that, once you have established the type of physician that you want to shadow, give their office a call and see who is available to take on new students.

2.) Network, Network, Network

Again, surpassing your comfort zone begins with networking with different people. Whether it being asking your professors,pre-health advisors/ friends or family if they know a physician who is available to take on students.  Another thing too, is that you can ask your own physician to see if you’re able to shadow him or her.

PART 2: OKAY, NOW THAT I FOUND A PHYSICIAN THAT I CAN SHADOW, WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?

 

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Short answer to this question is to stay proactive, and below are some ways in how you can do so.

1.) Keeping a journal

Staff members and physicians highly recommend this when volunteering to not only document your observations and questions, but also to possibly reflect on you felt when you saw that patient, and what you have learned. So for example, say that Patient X came in, and you didn’t know that this specific disease existed, you can possibly go back to it and ask the physician that you shadow about this disease, or to read further about it. Which brings me to my next tip.

2.) Read up on Scientific Journals

Most of the different diseases that you have learned may have been pretty brief and if you want to know more about it, such as their prevalence, other treatments, etc. maybe going onto pubmed.com, or other medical journals to read more up on that disease would help.

All in all, whenever shadowing a physician or looking into shadowing a physician, I think the main key is to always stay proactive. 🙂 Let me know how everything goes!

Best,

Lyka C.

Insights From My Medical Mission:

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Okay, so before I jump into this post, I just want to give you all a brief background into  my medical mission. So I pursued a two-week intensive program with Child Family Health International (CFHI) Remote Island Medicine in the Philippines, and to sum it all up, I basically got a chance to shadow an appointed doctor in his hometown, or his province, along with the local midwives and nurses.

My goal for this program was to learn more about the health system in the Philippines, and to learn more about common illnesses there. My goal was achieved, but there were attachments to it, and by that I mean many of my perceptions on life has altered.

Timeline on my thoughts:

Prior to my medical mission:

A dream of mine was to go back to the Philippines, and serve my country. To know their quality of life, to find ways to better improve their quality of life. Most people will help to prepare you prior to doing a mission trip by creating a checklist for you through questions:

  • “Have you gotten the recommended vaccinations?”
  • “Do you know how their lifestyle is?”
  • “Did you read about social and economic issues that is occurring right now?”

Yes, yes, yes to all of this. 

During my medical mission:

 don’t know if you all have ever done a mission trip, whether it being a church trip, a medical mission, or another type of trip that requires going to an industrialized country. The reason why I mention that is because, when we’re in America, and we mention the word “rural,” it is definitely perceived differently in another country.

In fact, our version of rural in the United States is somewhat an urban setting in some industrialized country, which is really sad. There I acknowledged that medicine has to deal with a lot of social and economic aspects, in addition to the biomedical reasons. With that being said, here are a couple of my insights that I have learned when I was back in the Philippines:

 

1. Have some compassion to those who don’t have enough resources

The quality of life, access to healthcare, education, and basic human needs are being taken advantage of. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Find some time throughout the day to truly introspect on what it is that you are grateful for and show some love and compassion towards those who don’t live in the abundance of access in resources that you do.

2.  Always have gratitude even if you have a really bad day

Discontentment is a factor that is supposed to make us seek for greater good, instead poisons us. We rise thinking that tangible gives us satification. Our hearts then become empty and we are layered with poison. Our materials will one day pass, thinking what is left within the flesh. If we one day want to be satisfied with divine change, listen to the spirit, instead the wants of the flesh.

3. Think Globally and Act locally

This is one of the quotes that I truly enjoy, and is in fact CFHI’s mission statement. Throughout my mission, I have ruminating upon what this quote actually means.Thus, this is my interpretation of it. So, basically it bounces back to my first two insights. Furthermore, when we hear the phrase “global,” we think international– how each countries share a relationship with another. While this is true, I think that this sentence means to have an overall comprehension of why diseases happen and how we can ultimately treat it. But here’s the thing, in order to treat a disease, a person has to be reviewed holistically. Therefore, their environment, their work life, so on and so forth.

After my medical mission:

In conclusion, my medical mission has moved to become more understanding, to become more aware, and to become a better student. So my friends, if any of you are itching to do a mission trip, do it because you never know what you will truly experience.

How Should I Fill In My Gap Year?

Everyone has their own path to their career, whether it being in medical school, graduate school, law school, or some other sort of professional school. Though, I kept telling myself that, I have been feeling kind of anxious within the past couple of months because I felt behind in my career. It’s actually been about a month into my gap year, and in all honesty, I don’t regret taking a gap year because my love for pursing medicine have soared. So here are a few things that I have learned thus far:

 

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1.)Explore, Explore, Explore-

We know so much about so little. Our knowledge on certain aspects are superficial. In fact, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still finding out my interests, my quirks, so on and so forth. Thus, when I mean explore, I don’t mean to just explore the world, but explore your interests– your likes/dislikes. Taking a gap year is a time for introspection. Moreover, growth. So step out of your comfort zone, and do things that you would never expect to do. For instance, I enjoy being active– hiking, running, heading to the gym, yoga, you name it. But never have I ever expected to train for a half marathon, and honestly I enjoy it: the intensity, discipline, and challenge gets me going.

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2.) Further your interest in medicine

I strongly believe that anything can be tied into medicine. However, there is still a stigmatism that “Pre-health students just have to focus on science.” In fact there are so many layers that contributes so much to medicine. What I’m saying is that you don’t have to give up your interest in medicine, solely combine them. For instance, if you’re interested in art, maybe you can volunteer at a hospital to teach patients art, or if you’re interested in a sport, possibly volunteer as a coach if you have time. The bottom line is that you don’t have to trade your interest or hobbies, solely combine them.

As for me, I have always been interested in International Medicine and Global Health. Specifically, I want to understand why certain diseases are more prevalent towards a specific population, why certain people acquire it, and why others don’t. With that said, I have chosen to partake on a medical mission to further learn more about how culture plays a significant amount towards health outcomes. Below is a list of organization/medical mission that I stumbled upon, and sound like a good use for those of you interested:

Mission Trips:

3.) Improvement

If we didn’t get into medical school straight through, there’s always something that we can improve upon when applying. That being academics, volunteer work, shadowing experience, etc.  As for me, one of my biggest improvement that I need to do for my application is to strengthen my academic portion. Though I graduated with a double degree (B.S Biology and B.A English), I’m kind of embarrassed to say this, but my GPA is definitely not where I want it to be. With that said, I’m applying for a post-bacc program.

 

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In all honesty, there are so many things to do in a gap year. I think the main thing is to not lose hope for a career in medicine. Just because you didn’t go straight through to medicine after undergraduate does not mean that you won’t get in. Everyone’s path to medicine is different, just don’t lose sight of the prize. 🙂 

How to Travel the World While On A Student Budget

img_8615“You’re only a student, why are you traveling so much?                                                      “How are you able to do this? What do you do?”

The answer to these questions are found below. Many people think that just because you’re a student, it’s impossible to travel so much, and that’s absolutely false.  Although money is an important factor, don’t limit yourself just because you may not have enough in the bank at the moment. I mean make sure that you have enough funds to sustain you, but don’t lose out on opportunities. There are plenty of resources and opportunities that you can do to help you gear for a trip, here are some things that have helped me:

1. )Set a goal for yourself

There are so many ways that you can break this down:

* 50/50 Rule- State a certain goal for yourself, and stick to it. For instance, putting 50% of what your paycheck in the bank, then using the remaining amount of money for necessities (gas, grocery, extra necessities like eating out.)

*Using the 50/20/30 Rule-  This basic rule was stated by Senator Elizabeth Warren, which ultimately states to divide our income. Therefore, spending 50% on necessities, 30% on desires, and allocating 20% into our bank.

2.) Tracking It 

After setting your goal, it’s definitely important to be able to track the amount of money that you spend.  Simple things like using an excel sheet or even keeping a notebook for budgets, or even some apps like: Daily Budget, Mint, or Homebudget

3.) Seeking Help

*scholarships Most organization that you plan to do a research abroad, a mission trip, or even a project abroad with are in favor of you. Therefore, most program are gladly willing to help students who want to partake on these activities. If it’s not advertised, don’t hesitate to contact them. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your home institutions if they can help fund for your trip.

*allocations from family members/local businesses This too is also helpful if you come from a really close community with other people or even come from a huge family. Simply tasks by asking Aunts and Uncles or even small local businesses may be willing to help. As a token of appreciation, bring them a small gift, like food or a key chain. The bottom line with seeking outside help is to ask organizations or people in your family for help.

Nonetheless, it’s definitely not impossible to  galavant the world while you are a student. With careful planning and budgeting, anything is extremely possible

 

Take the risk, and make the fall if it’s what you want, then it’s worth it all

I was immediately captivated by this quote the first time that I heard it. I distinctly remember talking to my aunt a couple of years ago expressing to her that I was afraid to take a chance on applying to this program in high school. She then uttered this phrase to me, and I have continued to live on it since. Nonetheless, sometimes, when we want something really bad, we begin to rationalize with ourselves on why you shouldn’t execute on that task. However, we have to remember that if it’s something that we really want, then we have to push the negative thoughts aside, and just go for it.

What’s In Your Carry On?

Neck pillow- Check                                                                                                                      Traveling  blanket- Check                                                                                                                          Sleeping mask- Check                                                                                                              Passport and wallet-Check

Is there anything more to include in our carry on? Since traveling is more popular during this time of the year, I thought that it will be helpful to scrounge up on a blog post on items that will make long flights and layovers less agonizing.

A. Toiletries–  

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Sometimes our flights may be too long to the point where we may feel uncomfortable. Here are a few list that may ease that feeling.

  1. Tooth brush/tooth paste
  2. Dry shampoo/ hair brush I usually use the “Perk Up” dry shampoo from Sephora. The best thing about this product is that it can be used with any type of hairstyle (curly, straight, etc.). But any dry shampoos will definitely do.
  3. A pair of clothes/underwear

B. Entertainment-

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Whether it being a book or, an iPad, having some sort of entertainment will help to kill up on time. Plus, it will definitely give you sometime to catch up on readings or shows.

C. Skin Care-

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  1. Moisturizer/Sleeping Masks– A change in cabin pressure and reduction in humidity levels takes a toll on your skin causing it to become more dry and dull, which is one of the reasons why it’s essential to carry a moisturizer or a  sleeping mask. The moisturizer that I use is the Neutrogena Hydro boost and the sleeping mask that I use is the water sleeping mask by Laneige.
  2. Chapstick/ Lip scrub– Not only does the skin get dry, but the lips too can peel and dehydrated.
  3. Makeup Wipes– I know that prior to our flights, us gals usually come in to the airport with a full face or at least with some makeup on.   

 

D.Health-

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  1. Teas- Traveling to different areas, especially abroad may allow us to have motion sickness. Thus, teas do help to alleviate this feeling
  2.  Food Some airlines may not offer complimentary foods, so having maybe a box of granola in your carry on or some sort of snack will especially help with budgeting.
  3. Medication– I won’t elaborate on why this is important, but some medications  that has helped me, especially with long travels are the following: Tylenol, Nausea, Vicks, and a first aid travel kit
  4. Surgical Masks I definitely have to thank one of my good friends for this idea. Surgical masks are definitely helpful in the prevention of illnesses and for the prevention for embarrassment. Although an airplane uses a HEPA filter that helps with ventilation, it’s still not enough as microbes are still being transmitted by airborne droplets. Thus, as we don’t have enough spacing in an airplane at times, close contact is more conducive for a person to transfer these microbes. Secondly, by using a surgical mask, no one will be able to tell if you were drooling

Now knowing the benefits with these items, you can now put a “check” and place them on your carry on. Happy Adventuring!

 

Feeling Lost Can Mean Being Found

The title does seem to be a bit paradoxical, but it does seem to be true. Feeling lost can absolutely be your guide to what you want in your life.  I’ve been contemplating about writing this post, maybe because I thought that I had everything all planned out, but nothing ever goes accordingly to what was planned in life.

During this past semester, I haven’t been happy with myself– I have been isolating myself from loved ones, neglecting some commitments, and just straying away. My reason for being is because I felt like when I look at these activities, I feel like I have been disappointing myself. I’ve always been the type of person who plans out everything from head to toe… haha yes, especially during my days. This past semester, however, I just felt a bit lackluster in life… I don’t know if it was senioritis, or anxiety, or just uncertainty. I didn’t intend on taking a year off to get into medical school, but I my plans changed.

Now that the seamster is coming to an end, and graduation is right around the corner, there are so much introspection that I am doing. For those of you who have been feeling lost, just know that you are not alone. Everyone feels like this at one point in their life, but don’t let this emotion consume you or get the best of you. So, here are a couple of things that I found to kind of help me get out of this obstacle.

1.Shifting your mindset

You know that common phrase that everyone tells you, “Your mindset dictates your actions.” Honestly, this statement is pretty accurate. If you tell your self that you’re not good enough, then definitely you begin to think that you are not worthy enough to accomplish certain tasks. Obviously that is a lie because you were not placed on this earth to just be “average.” In order to rectify all of these negative thoughts, look at inspirational quotes, listen to podcasts, anything. In all honesty, whatever situation that you encounter, you are in charge of every situation, and how you handle these situations boils down to your mentality.

2. Reconnect with your past self

What hobbies do you enjoy? Did you stop, if so, why? When you’re in the situation of feeling lost, reconnect with your self by looking back at the hobbies that made you happy. Maybe this could be one of the ways that sparks up your happiness again… who knows?

3. Listen to your third eye or your “higher self”

Assess the reason why you feel lost in your life, and let your intuition guide you on your next move. This is definitely a time in your life where you have to block out all of the noise around you, and just listen to yourself. Thus, you know yourself better than anybody else.

All in all, feeling lost is normal in life. It could stem from plans changing in life, feeling unhappy with your current situation, or just wanting to discover more of yourself. With that said, the feeling of being lost is only temporary. I strongly believe that the beauty of life begins when you create it.

 

 

 

My Two Cents for Underclassmen

“I wish I had known this while I was in undergrad,” is a common phrase that we all tell ourselves as we reach our last year of school. As graduation rolls around the corner, I can’t help but reflect on some of the things that I could have done during my first three years of undergraduate. So here are some pieces of advice I have for you guys: 

 

 

1.  Playing A Sport-

Why not play a sport If you enjoy participating in a certain type of activity, such as running, or playing tennis? I was always fond of running, but it didn’t occur in my mind to join the cross country team. Had I known that I enjoy this activity so much, I would have definitely done it. I think one of the aspects that hindered me from joining a sport was not knowing enough information about it. If you guys are interested in joining a sport, definitely talk to someone who plays that sport to get an idea of how their lifestyle is like.

2.) Seeking Out Resources-

A phrase that I have been hearing a lot for the past couple of semester is, “ “If there is a will, there is ALWAYS a way.” We are filled with so much opportunities, and the matter of fact is utilizing advisors, mentors, and professors to help guide you. Honestly, my biggest regret in this portion was not allowing people to help me (kind of a bad move.) I was always the type of person who was like, “I can handle everything myself.” While this can be a good mindset, it is definitely important to seek other people’s help. 

3.) Establishing a Good Group of Friends In School- 

As extroverted as I am, I always isolated myself (haha yes, I do have friends), but I wish I connected more with my peers, especially within the science division. What I mean to say is to always find at least two friends from the same division that you are in because you can not only help each other out with the materials that you guys are struggling with,  but they too know the struggle of being in that major. 

Nonetheless, absorb anything and everything that you can. Don’t be afraid to try anything new. College is hard because it pushes you to surpass your comfort zone, so do everything that you can to make it memorable. 

 

Food: Review

Hong Kong was definitely a trip that is worth remembering– the people, the places, and most of all, the FOOD.  I must say that because I am a pescatarian (my diet mostly consist of seafood– I don’t eat poultry), it was pretty challenging obtaining fresh produce. Nonetheless, the food was pretty ah-may-zing!! Although we can get some Chinese food down the street from where we are, it just feels different eating an authentic meal from Hong Kong. Here are a couple of foods that I tried out

  • Custard Buns-

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To be honest, out of all of the foods that I’ve ate in China, this one was my favorite (and look how cute they are!)

  • Moon Cakes

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There are different types of mooncakes, but I’ve only tried the egg white with the paste. It  was pretty good, I can’t attest to the taste the different mooncakes, but overall I heard that most of them were pretty rich

  • Pineapple Buns 

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  • Snake Soup

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The soup was pretty good– it actually tasted like curry broth.

  • Fish Ball Noodles

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  • Marshmello Banana Toast

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  • Bean Soup

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  • Tofu Pudding

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  • Egg Tart

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  • Egg Waffle

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  • Hong Kong French Toast

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The only difference between Hong Kong French toast and American French Toast is that Hong Kong French toast taste more savory than sweet.