To say this past semester has been difficult is a MAJOR understatement. I officially took my Step1 exam on May 17 and I STILL haven’t gotten my score back….(It has been a month and a half). But it’s fine. I’m fine. It’s all fine….JK I am absolutely terrified to get that score in my email. But let’s not talk about that right now!!!!
Waking up every morning and constantly grinding, working and hustling to get as many things done on that list as you can!? This is the reality of life for most people. And it was 100% my reality until 2 weeks ago when i finally said. F*CK THE TO-DO LIST.
If you watch my stories, then you know that this semester of med school has been the most stressful one yet. I take my pediatrics shelf exam on March 5th, we are currently in the endo/repro unit of class where we have at least 16 hours of lecture a week and I take STEP1 in the middle of May. So to say that i have a long to-do list is a mega understatement. But what I found myself doing is waking up in the morning….putting SOOOO many things on my todo list for the day and then getting stressed, anxious and upset when i inevitably didn’t finish all of those things everyday. It was a constant cycle of stress and overwhelm. UNTIL 2 weeks ago.
I decided to just STOP making to do lists. I decided to wake up and work on what felt right and aligned for my goals and not constantly be rushing through things just to check them off my list.
I still get everything done. I’m still passing all of our tests. I’m still getting all my coach work and school work done….but with a lot less stress.
So why does something as simple as not making to-do lists make such a HUGE difference in day-to-day life?
It comes down to the law of attraction.
Over the past couple of months I have been diving into all things manifestation, law of attraction and energy because honestly it is super fascinating to me and i didn’t realize how many limiting beliefs i had about my life, my money and my future that were ultimately impacting my PRESENT.
So anyway….the law of attraction basically means that whatever you are thinking about or dwelling on will come into your life. So when i was making long to-do lists everyday and stressing about them….. I was calling EVEN MORE stress and EVEN MORE things to-do into my life. WHEREAS NOW i am simply following what feels aligned…I am not stressing about getting everything done because I know and trust that I always figure out a way to get everything done in the time it needs to be. And because of this new relaxed mindset I have, I am calling even more calmness and peace into my life. Law of attraction really is a wacky thing but it is true and present and I am forever grateful for it.
You are using the law of attraction whether you realize it or not
……constantly stressing about how poor you are? Voila, you continue to stay broke.
…..constantly focusing on all the negatives happening in the world? Voila, you will find more and more negative things going on
……constantly thinking about how you aren’t good enough for that new job? Voila, you aren’t going to get it!!
BUT it also works in a positive way!!
If you are constantly feeling gratitude and thankfulness for all of the things in your life, you will get more things to be grateful for.
If you focus on the positive things in your life, VOILA more positive things appear.
It is such a simple law but it truly makes a HUGE difference once you learn to harness the power of Law of Attraction for your own benefit!!!!
MORAL OF THE STORY—If you feel like a slave to your to-do list…RIP IT UP. Stop stressing everyday and trust that yourself.
To say that M2 year is overwhelming is the biggest understatement of this year. Holy moly.
M2 year is a freaking beast—specifically M2 SPRING semester!!!!!!
Studying for class….studying for boards….studying for our 2nd NBME shelf exam….planning a wedding (okay, not everyone gets married at the end of M2 year—but Josh & I are–so i’ve got that on my plate too)…staying healthy… & keeping your sanity. Holy moly is right.
I would be totally lying if i said that i had all my sh*t together and was handling everything perfectly…because that is SO NOT THE CASE.
I have been learning to take each day as exactly that—a new day.
Having so many stressful exams and things ahead can lead to absolute overwhelm and dread….but i’m here to tell you that it is GOING TO BE OKAY AND YOU WILL 100% GET THROUGH THIS.
I know that a few years down the road i will look back at this blog post and be so proud that i didn’t throw the towel in!!!!
Med school really is a marathon…not a sprint. It takes determination, endurance and so so so so much patience.
Sometimes i truly wonder why i wanted to even go to med school in the first place—especially as I watch people my age get jobs, settle down & have babies! Meanwhile, i’m 10 hours into my study day, in the same sweats that I wore yesterday (and the day before), studying the most minute details about physiology and immunology—wondering how different my life would be had I picked a “normal” career.
But at the end of the day, being a physician is my dream…and i’m in the midst of the marathon it takes to put those two letters behind my name. (MD)
So here are some of the things that I have been doing in order to keep myself sane.
EXERCISE-alright this may seem like a boring one because everyone always tells us to exercise and take care of our own health..but it’s constantly preached because it is FRIGGIN SO IMPORTANT. Exercise is important–not only for the calorie burn, muscle strength, endorphin release and MOVEMENT but also because it helps with your mental health!!!!! That’s why i make it a non-negotiable in my day ot exercise for at least 30 minutes—regardless of how much i have going on. Regardless of how much studying i have to do. I get my damn workout in. And i encourage you to practice the same discipline that i do. You don’t have to be motivated everyday—but you do have to be disciplined enough to say “even though i don’t wanna do this right now. I am going to get my exercise in.”
EAT HEALTHY. This is another gimme because it is so key. Don’t get me wrong–there are plenty of nights when i order pizza and drink (probably too much) chardonnay. BUT that is few and far-between. You need to make sure that you are eating healthy, whole foods, MOST OF THE TIME. Fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins.
DO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. Trust me, i don’t wake up every morning with sunshine and rainbows dancing across my head. Most days i wake up already overwhelmed or anxious about the day ahead. So that’s why i do personal development/mindset development FIRST THING when i get up (okay first i grab my coffee—and then I do my mindset work)!!!!!! Personal development is something that gets a bad rep because most people think of it as a woo-woo, kooky thing that you only need to do if you’re going through a midlife crisis or something crazy like that. But that is just not true. Personal development is PERSONAL—which means you take an aspect of your life that you are struggling with and pick a book or podcast to target that insecurity. Learning more knowledge and building up confidence in your life one aspect at a time. My personal development trends change almost every time i finish a book….sometimes i want to learn about how to be more confident, or stop worrying about things…sometimes i dive into all things business mindset (because i also run an online health coaching biz THAT I AM FREAKING OBSESSED WITH AND I’M CURRENTLY GROWING IT INTO A 6-FIGURE BIZ!!!!)…sometimes i want to learn about how to be a better fiance….sometimes i want to learn how to just chill the f*ck out. So I encourage you to do personal development EVERYDAY. Pick an aspect of your life that you want to improve and buy a book about it, or listen to a podcast about it!
5. Take time 100% AWAY FROM WORK. Having school 100% online and running an online business makes this so difficult because I always have access to technology…so i always feel like i could be studying, or doing qbanks, or responding to messages. It is a slippery slope with all this technology stuff….but that’s why it is so important to have CLEAR boundaries about when you are going to be on your computer/phone/tablet and when you are going to be OFF of them. And I don’t mean off but with the sound on so when someone emails you or texts you you instantly pick up the damn phone again…I MEAN 100% OFF/silent/muted!
Have CLEAR and SET boundaries—i promise it will help prevent burn out!!!
6. Do something that makes you happy everyday, yes EVERYDAY. It may be something as simple as going out for a latte…..or doing a lap around your nearest Ulta or TjMaxx..or getting a good workout in…or watching your favorite move…just pick something fun to do everyday so that you have something to look forward to!!!!
It really helps break up the work week when you have fun everyday!!
Alright yall–that’s all i’ve got!
These are my best ways to combat overwhelm (especially while working from home!!!!)
If you are in medical school (or planning to be) then you probably have heard of something called “Step1” before.
Step1 is the first of three board exams that students need to take in order to become a licensed physician in the US.
Typically medical students take Step1 at the end of their 2nd year of medical school before starting clinical rotations. Step 2 during the last year of med school and Step3 during the first year of residency.
Even though there are 3 Step exams—Step 1 is definitely the MOST important. This test is SUPER DUPER important because your performance on this exam basically determines what type of physician you can become!!!!
If you have aspirations to become an orthopedic surgeon (or any other competitive specialty) and don’t do extremely well on Step1—that dream is NOT going to happen. It’s harsh—but it’s true. Since Step1 determines how many different options you have for residency positions and fields—it is something that most med students spend A LOT OF TIME preparing for.
I have officially scheduled my exam for May 17th, 2021 which means I have already started studying everyday for it!!!!!
I wanted to share some of the things that I am doing to study for this exam—-when i’m still 4 months out!!!!!!
1 or 2 40-question Qbanks ( i am using Kaplan and Amboss)
Reading First Aid for ~45-60 min per day
Watch sketchy/pathoma/boards and beyond videos
I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of stuff—but this is my daily plan ON TOP of doing school for 4-8 hours per day too!!
I am anticipating that my schedule will change a lot each month leading up to my exam!!! 🙂
Let me know if you guys have any questions about how i’m preparing for this exam!!!
AND HOLY COW. I cannot believe how long it has been since I made a post on here. The fall semester was INSANE for me, especially with adapting to 100% online schooling.
For those of you who are interested in the structure of medical classes—at my medical school our M2 year consists of “blocks” where we only take one course at a time and each course focuses on a body system. This fall we learned about skin/musculoskeletal, cardiology, renal, respiratory and heme/lymph.
I absolutely love only having one class to study for (in contrast to our M1 year where we had 4 classes)! HOWEVER, having one class every day for 4 hours means that the pace is SUPER FAST. On average we have an exam every 14 days!!!
On top of the courses we are taking—the ever-looming STEP 1 EXAM is right around the corner. I have officially scheduled my exam date for May 17,2021…. which is equally terrifying and exciting!!!
Most of my classmates are taking this exam a little bit later in the month—but Josh graduates on May 21st and our wedding is May 29th—so I didn’t have many other options!
Since most of our classes were online for the fall, I was extremely blessed to be able to go visit my parents for 6 weeks over the holidays!!!
6 weeks in Hawaii was INCREDIBLE. I am thinking of doing another post about some of the adventures that we went on out there—but I’ll save that for another day!!
I hope that you are doing well, staying SAFE and HEALTHY and making the most of your days!!
My name is Josh McCullough and I am currently starting my 4th year of medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee WI. For the last couple years I have contemplated sharing my journey and experiences and have always been on the fence. I have been an average medical student, and worried that I didn’t have enough advice to share to truly help other aspiring doctors, but with some encouragement from my amazing fiance I finally took the leap.
I am currently stepping into a completely new stage of medical school. I recently completed my step 2 ck examination, meaning I am through the examination heavy aspect of medical school, and I am fully engulfed in all that the residency application experience has to offer. I am applying to diagnostic radiology residency programs, which also means I am applying to preliminary internal medicine programs for my intern year. The current stress is very different than it has been the 3 previous years, but the stress that goes along with medical school is never-the-less there.
I am from a small town in Wisconsin and completed my bachelors of science in athletic training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following graduation I spent a year working as an athletic training intern with the Green Bay Packers. It was during this year that I realized I wanted to go back to school to become a doctor to allow me to work in a capacity that would help a larger segment of the population than I was able to perform during my time as an athletic trainer. I returned to UW-Madison to finish some pre-requisites for medical school (o-chem and biochem, not my favorite) and while I was there worked as a graduate assistant athletic trainer while obtaining my masters of science in exercise science. During my second UW-Madison experience I was blessed to meet my amazing fiance who was working as an office assistant in the athletic department. She is now a 2nd year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin regional campus (accelerated 3 year program) in Green Bay Wisconsin. Navigating medical school as a couple in different cities has been an adventure, but this adventure has made our relationship stronger and stronger.
I hope to use this space to share my story and experiences in medical school, and how I have maintained a healthy life outside of medical school. I will share what worked well, what I wish I would have done differently, and hopefully answer any other questions my readers have for me. Thank you for visiting my page and joining me on my journey.
Wherever you are in your journey, keep working for those dreams, and please share your experiences and questions with us all! – Josh
Hi guys, it has been a hot second since I made a blog post. To be honest, this summer has been an absolute whirlwind. With COVID, clinicals everyday and trying to have a semi-normal life in the midst of this chaos….the summer truly FLEW by.
I thought it would be fun to do a little breakdown of each rotation that I did this summer and give you some tips for how to prepare/what to expect! Let’s dive into FAMILY MEDICINE!
Before coming to medical school, I really had no idea what a family med doc did on a daily basis besides sports physicals—so in general, i learned A LOT about the field throughout my first year of med school!!
Family medicine doctors treat people of all ages (from babies to elderly), which i think is a super cool aspect of the field. Within the family medicine specialty, you can receive further training in OB, sports medicine, adolescent medicine, sleep or pain medicine…basically you can customize your practice however you’d like!!
What to expect:
For my family medicine rotation I was at a very busy outpatient clinic. The hours typically were 7:30-4:30 with an hour long break for lunch. Honestly, the hours weren’t bad at all and the time flew by. Most of our appointments were in 15, 30 or 45 minute blocks and we saw people of all ages, everyday. The mix of population really kept the days interesting!! However with appointments being so quick, if you get behind during one appointment, it really derails the rest of the day! So it is VERY important to stay on top of your tasks and ensure the appointments only take as long as they are scheduled for.
As a medical student, my role was to go in and see the patients before the attending. I reviewed patient histories, addressed acute complaints, did basic physical exams and wrote a LOT of notes. After I would see the patient, both me and the attending would go in and see the patient together and she would reiterate some things and double check my physical exam! Throughout this rotation I got VERY comfortable with patient interactions and being able to perform a basic physical exam.
These were the most common patient visits that we saw: physicals, yearly check-ups, well child visits, medication checks, ER follow-up appointments, acute musculoskeletal problems and a few newborn checks.
One of the most important tasks of a family medicine doctor is to DETECT DISEASES EARLY.
How to prepare for the shelf exam:
The Family Medicine shelf exam at my school is not through NBME–so this information may not pertain to you. However, something that REALLY helped me do well on my shelf was becoming a member of AAFP (american academy of family practice), it is free for students. Once you are a member of AAFP, you are able to access their free board review questions!!! I went through SOO many of those board questions and it really helped me prepare for my exam. Some of the things you will want to know like the back of your hand are chronic disease management, pediatric immunization schedule, basics of musculoskeletal exam, basics of screening exams.
A lot of people don’t like family medicine because they think that it is just managing medications for older adults. And granted, there is some aspect of this. But as a family medicine doctor you truly can take care of FAMILIES. You get to know your patients. You get to build a long-lasting relationship with them. You are able to provide a significant amount of patient education and really can advocate for preventative medicine. I truly loved my family medicine rotation!
As an enthusiastic pre-med, I had one thing on my mind…GETTING INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL. I never really looked past that. Tbh, that is all I thought about and all I fantasized out…opening up that big white envelope that starts with. “Dear Rebecca, We are pleased to accept you into ______ MD program…”
But then it actually happened, I got my acceptance letter. And thus began the medical school craziness.
Now that our M1 year has come to a close, I’m looking back on all the things that went well and not so well. So I’ve collected and compiled my most tactile tips to prepare and succeed in your first year of medical school.
Enjoy your freedom. In the weeks leading up to school starting I was SO NERVOUS/STRESSED about all the things I had to buy and fill out (holy paperwork) before classes began. AND I was stressed out about getting settled into a new city. Looking back, I wish I would have just enjoyed the freedom that I had. So—Just take a deep breath and RELAX. It is going to be the last time in a while that you will have nothing to do.
When classes do begin…Do NOT fall behind. It sounds so simple, but it is VERY easy to get behind when you have multiple hours of dense lecture everyday. Stay on track with your studying from the beginning. I looked at my study schedule as a full-time job. Class stuff (whether it was lecture or studying) from 8ish until 6ish. Then I took the rest of the night off. You don’t have to stay up until 2am or anything crazy like that if you really make it a priority to stay on top of your schedule.
*Plus, I have the sleeping habits of an elderly woman, so staying up until 2am is just insane to me. Bed by 10, up by 5:30…erryday.
4. Work smarter, not harder. Take advantage of your most productive hours of the day. I am most productive in the morning, so that is when I did the bulk of my intense studying. I saved the less-intense stuff (busy work) for the evening.
5. Get control of your time management skills. Sit down on Sunday evening and plan out your entire week. Write out what classes/exams/clinicals you have, write out what personal stuff/volunteering you have to do…Just write it all out!!!!!!!! It will make your week feel a lot less chaotic.
6. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, INCLUDING SLEEP. Y’all know that I am VERY passionate about health and fitness in the midst of a busy life. Take time everyday to EXERCISE. Take time to the grocery shop and prepare healthy meals. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. ALL OF THE ABOVE. It is so important and will help lower those stress levels.
7. Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t try to multitask, it’s not going to work. When you sit down to study one thing, BE ALL IN. Give that task 100% of your effort. It is harder than it sounds, but it will really help you to be a more efficient studier and you’ll end up getting more done in the long run.
8. Remember why you started this long journey in the first place. Something that our Dean told us to do, that I TOTALLY recommend is to write down exactly why you want to be a doctor in the first place. Do this before you start school. And when life gets hard and school is kicking your booty, come back to this letter and read it. It will help to give your perspective.
9. Make friends. I totally thought that everyone in med school was going to be a Type A, psycho-studier that i would never get along with. I was SO wrong. My classmates are amazing. Seriously, i never thought i would meet such amazing people in med school. Get out there, and spend time with your classmates.
10. Make sure you have interests outside of school. My coaching business definitely helped me succeed in medical school because it gave me something to do that was completely unrelated to becoming a doctor. Taking an hour every morning to focus on my coaching business allowed me to not get so darn burnt out with studying constantly.
11. FINAL TIP: Rub essential oil/ Burt’s Bees under your nose before anatomy lab. Trust me.
I hope these tips help you begin to navigate your first year of medical school. It really is such an incredible experience.
YOU’RE LITERALLY GETTING TRAINED TO BE A DOCTOR, It doesn’t get any cooler than that.
This one is for you nurses, pre-meds, PA’s, techs, CNA’s or ANYone in the medical field–
If you watch my instagram stories at all, then you know that i’m OBSESSED with my friend Olivia’s clothing shop MedByLiv. She creates the most incredible, soft, and stylish t-shirts/sweatshirts and stickers to represent your inspiring career choice.
I personally LOVE her crop-top sweatshirts because they are so soft and pair great with high-waisted leggings.
Not only is the clothing super cute…but the quality is incredible too. I have washed my MedByLiv clothing multiple times and the softness-factor is still there!!
I strongly believe in supporting small businesses, ESPECIALLY during this crazy time. So check out her site and get yourself a cute tee or sweatshirt #TreatYoSelf.
Plus, because I love you all, I snagged a little discount for you— head over to https://medbyliv.com/ & Use the code “BeccaMae” @checkout to get an even better deal on these adorable shirts! I am so excited for you to try these!!!
Let’s talk FOOD and how to have a HEALTHY, BALANCED diet…especially when life gets cray- cray.
Eating healthy seems so simple….until you are STARVING and raiding the cabinets for junk food. Trust me, I get it. And my diet is FAR from perfect. But one thing I do know is that eating a healthy balanced diet makes me FEEL GOOD. It makes me feel strong and energized and healthy….the way no bag of doritos has ever made me feel.
Y’all know that I love giving you tangible tips to tackle problems….so here are my tips to tackle your unhealthy diet. They are so simple, but incredibly effective.
Tip #1: PLAN PLAN PLAN. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. It’s as simple as that. Now i’m not saying that you have to have all your fancy meals prepared ALL DAY ERRYDAY… I mean if that’s your style, then go for it….but it’s totally not mine. My form of “planning ahead” involves making big batches of roasted veggies, rice and chicken (or any other protein) so it’s ready to go! I always have fresh, clean & cut fruit & veggies ready to grab in my fridge. So when I get hungry, I can grab that! It is all about making healthy food just as convenient as the junk food.
Tip #2: ALWAYS have healthy snacks on you. I literally never leave the house without a BeachBar…or bag of almonds..or an apple. Because when I get hungry, I get crabby and I crave McDonald’s fries. Anyone else?
Tip #3: “Dinner & DONE”. Once you eat dinner. That’s it. Be done for the night. Your body doesn’t need any more food. However, if you like late night snacking…try swapping that bag of chips for a mug of chamomile tea or a piece of fruit. I used to be someone who ate ice cream EVERY NIGHT after dinner. So when I began to clean up my diet, I realized this habit had to go. I traded my ice cream for a mug of Sleepytime Tea and at first it was HARD… REALLY HARD. But slowly my body ( and mind) got used to it. My night time “ice cream routine” wasn’t because my body needed the extra calories, it was just a habit. & HABITS CAN BE BROKEN. Think about your eating patterns throughout the day…are you eating because you’re hungry, or because it’s a habit?
Tip #4: Eat veggies whenever you can. Not only are vegetables low in calories…but they are FULL of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other phytonutrients. They will help you stay FULL and keep you regular.
Tip #5: Drink water. STOP DRINKING SODA. Soda is FULL of chemicals and sugar. If plain water is too boring for you…add some fruit, a lemon slice or drink La Croix (the coconut flavor is my favorite).
Tip #6: Portions matter. You definitely can overeat on healthy food too. The most common foods that I see people overeat are—> cereals, granolas, nut butters, oils and nuts! Make sure that you aren’t over-indulging in your healthy food. Eat slow..truly taste and enjoy your food. & Allow your body time to feel full!
Tip #7: You don’t have to do it all at once. Going from a crappy diet to 100% clean is a recipe for disaster…it isn’t sustainable and you will fall off track. Instead, slowly adapt your health habits. Trade a bag of chips for a bowl of fruit…swap your hamburger for a chicken salad…swap your soda for a bottle of water. Slowly, a healthy diet will become second nature to you because you will FEEL so much better!!!
Well that’s all I’ve got. I hope these little tips give you the inspo you need to adapt your diet to a more healthful one!!!