003: The Medical Tag (Part 1)

Hey, everyone! It’s been a few weeks since my last post (it’s now officially SPRING), and I’ve been tagged by @dramasforscrubs to complete the Medical Tag. Not only do I think it would be a great way for you to get to know me better, but as I haven’t actually started medical school yet, I thought it’d be interesting for me to be able look back and compare what my answers are now to what they will be a year from now (hence, the part 1).

So without further ado, here goes:

Who are you and where do you study?

I’ve decided to remain anonymous on this blog for the time being, so for now call me Ro. I am a 21-year-old college senior who was recently accepted into medical school. I won’t say where exactly, but it is a smaller school in the Midwest whose focus is really on forming doctors to serve in suburban to rural areas. Although admittedly this school was not my top choice, I fell in love with the program when I interviewed there, and I am incredibly excited to start this fall! #Classof2021

When did you start studying medicine or premed courses?

I began premed courses as soon as I entered college. In fact, my major is Pre-Medical Chemistry, which means a lot of the required premed courses were already requirements for my major. I also double minored in Biology and Psychology, which was really useful when I began studying for the MCAT!

What made you choose the medical field?

I decided on a medical career as a junior in high school after taking an Anatomy and Physiology class. The class included a field trip to our local university’s cadaver lab, and I think it was this experience which really fueled my desire to become a doctor. As a mere 16-year-old, of course, I really had no idea what choosing to pursue a medical career would entail. But I’m glad I stuck with it, and after all these years of preparation, studying, and extracurriculars, it is incredibly gratifying to be able to say that I made it. 🙂

How did you come up with your blog name/username?

To be honest, I was really trying to pick something that would be memorable but not too cheesy. I ended up settling on Flowers & Stethoscopes simply because I really love all things floral (big surprise there), and added stethoscopes as a more clinical component. I like to think the name sort of describes multiple facets of my personality (i.e. the fun-loving, slightly awkward, obsessed-with-Instagram girl, versus the girl who takes academics seriously, gets good grades, and is now on her way to medical school).

How would you describe your blog?

The original intent behind this blog was for it to be a documentation of the next four years of my life. This is an idea I had toyed with for a while, especially because the stark transition from undergrad to med school is known for being pretty drastic. On top of that, a lot of personal change is going on in my life as well as I am finally graduating and will be moving away from home for the first time (a whole 5 hours!). I knew I wanted to be able to put my thoughts and experiences as I navigate the next 4 years into words–I was actually planning on simply keeping a journal for myself. I eventually decided on creating this blog because (A) I generally prefer typing to writing things out longhand, and (B) I had recently discovered the small, online community of medical students and I decided…why not join in on the fun? I obviously don’t expect for this blog to turn into a huge deal or the next viral sensation anytime soon, but I though it might be nice to be able to share my experiences in a space where others are going through similar things. But back to the original question: How would you describe your blog? It is simply my take on medical school and all the ups and downs that come along with it.

What’s your favorite quote?

There are SO MANY quotes from so many good writers/lyricists, but time after time I always come back to a line from The Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever”:

Living is easy with eyes closed/misunderstanding all you see.

Best memory in medical school?

Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a favorite memory, so I guess I would have to say receiving my acceptance email about a month ago and feeling ecstatic!

What’s one course you struggled with?

Again, I haven’t really had any experience with medical courses yet, but if I had to pick one class from undergrad that really gave me a hard time, I’d have to go with Physical Chemistry. If only because I wasn’t really interested in the topic which made it even harder to study, and also because it seemed no matter how hard I tried I could never break an 80 on the exams.

What’s your favorite book?

This is another one of those questions that is so hard to find an answer for (not to mention it’s been so long since I sat and read for pleasure), but if I had to pick, I would say Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Having never seen the movie before, the ending came as a complete shock, and overall it was a great read.

What do you do in your free time?

Netflix. That is all. Also, not a lot of free time. But when I do have a lot of free time, I enjoy walking nature trails and hiking. I would also really love to travel some day, when I can afford it (haha).

PS: If you’re looking for a new show to binge, I highly highly recommend Thirteen Reasons Why.

What do you want to major or specialize in?

I’m a children’s church teacher at my church, so I have had lots of experience working with kids ever since I was 13 or 14 years old. I always said early on that I’d love to be a pediatrician, but recent events in my family have led me to lean towards another specialty: cardiology. I’m specifically talking about my father suffering a heart attack around 3 years ago. He is young, so it was fairly unexpected, but heart disease runs through his side of the family so I know it’s something we will be dealing with in the future as well. I actually mentioned this to a physician faculty mentor at my school and he suggested I combine the two and become a pediatric cardiologist. So for now, that’s the goal. I’m a realist, though, so I know there’s lots of room (and experiences) left to change my mind between now and 4th year.

Who do you look up to?

I look up to God, first and foremost. I feel He is really the only one who knows me truly and completely, better than I even know myself. I try every day to remain in this walk with Him, and though I know at times I’ve failed, I also know His grace and mercy are never ending. I trust that He is the one who will help me and guide me through medical school, if there are times when I may feel like I am alone or like giving up. I know with complete certainty that it is thanks to Him that I have been giving this opportunity to study medicine, and my only hope is that I can honor Him with my career. If I succeed, it is only for His glory.

How do you study (productively)?

Haha…oh man. I wish I could tell you that I am the most studious and responsible student. Unfortunately, I am actually the world’s biggest procrastinator. I know I have bad study habits, and it’s easy to fall into this rhythm in undergrad, but I also know I’m going to have to work hard to change my habits once I enter medical school. I’ve actually been reading a lot about study tips and things that may help me stay more focused. Hopefully when I come back to this tag in a year I’ll have a better answer to this question.

How do you stay motivated in medical school?

Again, I can’t really answer this question yet, but for me personally, motivation has always come from this image I see in my head of Future Me in some sort of clinical setting, talking to patients and their loved ones, helping them get through rough times, and doing my job to the best of my ability. Maybe my answer is very cliche, but it’s gotten me through times where I truly thought I’d never achieve my goal of studying medicine.

What are your best tips for future medical students?

I can’t give tips to future medical students just yet, but I can give tips to future medical school applicants, and they boil down to two things, really:

  1. Apply early! Applications open June 1st for a reason. Even though the process is rolling admissions, your chances of scoring interviews are much better if you apply as early as possible. On that note, also try to turn in your secondaries as soon as humanly possible. You can even pre-write some of them (a lot of the prompts for various schools can be found on Student Doctor Network). Waiting more than 2 weeks to turn in a secondary is probably going to be detrimental to your application. (Note: I don’t want to make generalizations because I can only speak to my own experience, so make sure you do a lot of research about the process. There’s tons of resources online.)
  2. I know as well as the next person how intimidating the whole application process can be, especially interviews. But what you have to remember is that the people viewing your applications are not faceless automatons who want to see you fail. They are human beings. Whoever is reading your application is someone’s father or mother or sister or brother…they have probably at some point in their life experienced everything you are experiencing as an applicant. So don’t fear them…instead, try to relate to them. Humanize yourself and humanize them, because in the end it’s our shared experiences which serve to unite us. It will also help you feel a lot less nervous in the long run. Trust me!

So there you have it! Thanks for sticking around to the end of this post. I hope reading through my answers wasn’t a complete bore. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to message me directly!

I can’t wait for this blog to really take off as I begin this new adventure!