Saturday, December 28, 2013

Step 1 preparation...

How do you prepare for an exam that could very well determine your path as a practicing physician?  Where do you start?  What part of the 632 page First Aid for USMLE Step 1 book do you begin?

I know I have said this once before..but, practicing physicians are superhuman.  How did they remember all this stuff?  Not only remembering, but also applying the information proficiently.  No two patients are the same.  So, I rest in if it's been done once, it can be done again.  With time, proficiency will come, this I know.  For the past two years, I was taught every aspect of basic sciences and expected to remember every concept.  Incredible! I look forward to looking back to this day triumphantly....

After such a much need Christmas break, it's time to get back to BUSINESS...Thank GOD for the review course I started the day after Christmas that has jumped started my journey to exam day.  I'm kinda nervous and really want to score my best, in order that my opportunities are endless.  The higher my score the wider my options to practice...

As history would have it, most of my colleagues before me have done very well.  So, the advice I've received...Study everyday and do a lot of questions....all seem so simple right?  Well, I started the Pathology review and doing questions...somethings seem very familiar.  So, right now I'm feeling really optimistic.

So, over the next month, I will be putting in at least 10 hrs days of studying and I decided to attend a classroom review, as well...By Jan 31, 2014....I should have a strong footing on most concepts and ready to sit for the exam.....Lord help me!

In preparation for life's journey, we all have preparation to do.  We can only expect desired results with input of effort and vigorous determination.  There will be times of falling...but, the key is getting back up and moving forward, which I am very good at doing..LOL....

Get back up!  Re-think it and move forward!

Now, go live your dreams..

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Life on the Island at a Caribbean Medical School..It's no vacation!

It's funny now that I am back in the USA to reflect on my life on the island is bitter sweet.  Ross University Basic Sciences lectures are located on the island of Dominica.  Dominica is not a tourist type of island.  Meaning, you will not find all the luxuries of tourism as in most Caribbean islands.  When I first arrived on the island, the plush green surroundings observed as we drove to the city of Picard, was absolutely beautiful.  The driver took pride and letting us know that Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed there.  The drive from the airport to the campus was about 45 minutes.  One of the drives, I dreaded.  The winding road was not to be desired.

However, my son and I quickly made adjustment.  We had to walk every where, although there are taxis available on the main strip or you can hire a taxi driver to take you to your front door if you lived far from the main strip.  Also, Ross University provides a shuttle to class if you need it.

Our first apartment was not the best on the island, I was trying to save money...But, in the end it was not worth it to me.  So, We moved to a more accommodating place.  You can rent apartments with or without generators.  I never lived in a place with a generator.  Although power may go out, it usually isn't out for that long.  Hot water in some places are limited to only in the shower, unless your apartment is more updated.  During heavy rains on the island, all water is shut off.  I never could really understand this..But, when the water came back on it was muddy brown...So, you must have clean back up water.  All drinking water can be bought or you could get filtered water from on campus.  Electricity was bought on a pay as you go basis.  Which really wasn't that bad.  All apartments come with cable and water paid by landlord.  If you wanted wireless internet, make sure you bring your own wireless router.  One of my favorite things about the island was my weekly maid service (which was included in rent) and my laundry service.

In my opinion, I brought entirely too much stuff to the island.  I arrived there with 5 suitcases and shipped 2 barrels.  Yes, there are a lot of things that were not available on the island.  But, the truth of the matter, I really could have done without it anyway...I had entirely too many clothes and shoes...

Now, over the course of my time there Ross has done a lot to improve.  So, first semester from when I first arrived is totally different than what is going on there now.  However, one thing that rings across the board with all semesters (except 4th which is 8 hrs) is: you have class four hours a day, then in afternoon you have small group sessions, anatomy lab, etc..then in the evening you are studying until your eyes bleed..LOL...Medical school is nothing like undergrad.  You must see the material taught at least 5 to 7 times before the exam.  You must see it in different ways: charts, graphs, drawings, rote memorization, answering clinical based questions, etc. Most importantly you must know that rote memorization is not going to work in medical school.  You have to know descriptors and application knowledge.

Although we were on a Caribbean island, the only time we really had leisure time was after an exam.  And the very next day, lectures began. So be ready....I always tried to make time for going to the gym at least 4 times per week or having lunch or dinner occasionally with friends.  Some of my peers where able to get certified diving certificates, go hiking to the boiling lake and waterfalls, and zip lining, etc.  So, if you plan your time properly you will be able to see parts of the island.  Some even stayed over on breaks in between semesters to tour the island.

Medical school is a test of endurance, stamina and determination. There would be times when I thought I could not learn one more thing. I thought my mind was going to burst open.  But, I kept going.  I finished that day and started it all over again the next day.  I always logged my activity for the day, just as a gauge to help me keep track of what I did that day, because by the end of the week,  the amount of information seen is mind boggling and you need to know what you have covered or not covered.  Getting a rhythm and staying on track is so important.  Make sure you do not isolate yourself.  Make sure you get 2 to 3 people to have study groups with and bounce concepts back and forth.  Ask for help when you need it, the sooner the better.  Do not let your past successes or pride keep you from getting the help you need. THIS IS A DIFFERENT PLAYING FIELD AND MOST ARE BARELY MAKING IT.  So, learning to network and learning the process the earlier the better is most beneficial...

One thing I've learned is most of your back home support system, do not and will not understand what you are going through, because they are use to you getting great grades. So, you will bond with your peers.  You may be coming into medical school with a 4.0 gpa, but you may leave medical school with a 2.0 gpa.  It's no cake walk. So, as I said before, do not let your pride keep you from getting help when you need it.

Even though this road to becoming an MD is the most challenging you may ever experience in your life, enjoy your successes along the way.  Enjoy knowing you have what it takes to make it through.  Enjoy knowing that others have done it before you and that means it is doable.  Enjoy knowing that making it to the other side is an accomplish that deserves celebration.  You can make it to the other side.  Be ready to fight for your victory.  Be ready to endure like a good soldier.  Be ready to ask for help.  Be ready to put in the long hours.  Go in knowing, medical school is like no other learning process on the planet.  However, know it can be done and you have what it takes to make it through.

Now, GO live your dream!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Success feels good...

Is success a way of life or a feeling you get only when you accomplish something?  I believe success is a way of life meaning, although life may have a lot of turns, ups and downs, your outlook is the defining factor. I don't think that no two people have the same definition for success. However, my definition of success is living my best life NOW....going after my hearts desire...enjoying each day in gratitude..and great expectation for a better tomorrow... Success is a way of life for me..I have always been successful even when I was down to my last.  I wear success not only as a garment but it is transcribe into the inner most part of my being.

I just successfully completed another step towards my goal.  I successfully passed the Comprehensive Basic Science Exam, aka The COMP...As I was preparing for the exam, I felt like I was lost, without direction on what to study.  I was just asking the Spirit to lead me to the information that I needed to know.  I was suppose to review, study and know the past two years worth of information.  Where exactly do you start?  Well, as always GOD was and is faithful..

So, learn to dwell in success.  Wear it as a garment and let it be transcribed into your inner most being.  It's been proven that our thoughts can have an affect on how our genes can be transcribe even at a molecular level.  So, watch your thoughts.  Watch how you view your experiences.  Watch how you view your life.  Be consistent in your thoughts, your words and your deeds..and your ultimate result will be SUCCESS...

Now, go live your dreams....
Next level, PLEASE...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

At What Cost?

At what cost are you willing to pursue your dreams?  Everything decision you make has a cost attached to it..whether you decided to move forward, stay still and do nothing or go in another direction.  There is a cost.

The Holy scriptures encourages us to weigh the cost before we venture out pursuing a task...This is not to discourage you but encourage you to make sure you are prepared for the journey.  I feel the most important assessment is to know that you have what it takes to make it through any or all obstacles that may present.  Please don't confuse what I'm saying with you must have everything in place in order to step out..but, you must have the innate things in place.  Things such as:

  • Determination
  • Perseverance 
  • Faith, Hope, 
  • Trust in GOD
  • Belief in yourself
  • Fluidity and Adaptability
  • Wisdom, 
  • last but not least, A PLAN, etc...
These qualities you can not buy with money.  Moreover, having them are essential to moving forward and accomplishing your dreams.

More than likely, not all pieces of the puzzles will be on hand at the time you step out..But, as you step out in Faith..things will come together...If there is a WILL there is a way.  Find it!

So, how much sacrifice is it going to take to get you where you want to be? To have the life you desire? To share your life with the one you desire? To travel as you desire? At what price are you willing to pay?  I believe for every sacrifice there is an equal and/or greater reward.  The tears cried, the fear experienced, the long nights, the early mornings will all be worth it when you obtain the promise...

Now, go live your dream!

Luke 14: 28-30 NKJV
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?