Saturday, November 18, 2017

How to Secure over 20K in Scholarship Money Each Year!!!!

As the title says How to Secure over 20K in Scholarship Money Each Year!!!! And my answer to that question is actually quite simple.
(or whatever high spiritual being you believe in)

LOL yeah its just a catchy title, this actually an update post on how my second year of Medical School. Finding free money for school is a task, but it is definitely a worth while pursuit and different methods work for different people but it is possible if you put in the work (academically, socially, or otherwise) and can done without the help of your financial aid department!!

Well, well, well it is November. I can't believe how much time as passed and that my first semester of 2nd year is almost over. As stated in my last post Fall Off Then Bounce Back, I have had a rough time adjusting to school and life. I can't speak for any other student, but Medical School is hard (for me). I mean I didn't expect it to be easy but I underestimated the oil and water effect of my personal life and medical school. Sometimes I wish I had more hours in my day but I am given the same 24hrs as anyone else. My evenings after class ends include homework help, working on Social Studies projects, cooking dishes for international week, reading logs and so on. I am unable to devote as much time to studying as my classmates and that frustrates me, as a single parent studying in groups is hard and that limits me, and this list of qualms can go on and on. Second year has been yet another chapter in my spiritual journey, to say the least. But I am still learning and growing.

We just ended our 3rd exam block, 5 days 6 exams. I was so unimpressed with my previous 2 exam blocks that I decided this exam block I would not look at any of my scores until after my last exam Friday evening, I didn't want to be discouraged going through the week. This past week I probably slept 4-5hrs a night. Which is totally not like myself and my body felt the fatigue, and even when I tried to sleep longer my body still woke up early. On Wednesday following my 3rd exam and during the break before my 4th exam, I attended a workshop hosted by my schools Wellness Committee. We made affirmation Jars, it was simple but a mid-exam-week mental release that I needed. Friday Morning before my last exam of the week, I decided to put my affirmation jar to use, I pulled out a quote from Aristotle. 

Academically my year has started off on a different foot than I projected but my days are getting brighter and brighter each day. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall Off then Bounce Back

This is my first Blog Post in a while and this is actually my first post as a Second Year Medical Student (Drum Roll and Round of Applause!!!!!!!!!!)

As I am writing this post I am thinking of all of the items on my Monday Sept 25th, 2017 "To Do List" that I still have to do ;-) but I definitely want to share my thoughts on 2nd year so far.

Class started Mid August and I am currently taking Pathology, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology, and Fundamentals of Medicine. In about 3 weeks we will begin Pathophysiology. I will share with you all in a later post more details about all of the classes. 

The last 5 weeks have been crazy, when I say crazy I mean crazy and to top it off we just completed our first set of exams for our year long courses. I can only speak for my school and my curriculum but 2nd year is completely different from 1st year, there is 5x more material to cover, longer class hours and did I say 10x more the material. 

But Five exams in 3 days does not sound that bad at first but it was definitely more challenging than I thought. And guess what I did absolutely... .....HORRIBLE (well not super horrible but bad enough on 1 exam to really make me rethink everything for a quick second). 
Learning to balance the new load of material was a challenge but the most demanding or worrisome part of the past 5 weeks had to be "other" issues I had to deal with equaling to an undue amount of stress, from financial stress, to home stress, to work stress, to financial stress, to just extra stress leading to an unfocused mind. And to be very honest I did not study everyday like I should had. Nope I didn't, on days when I was just completely over it, I might have studies for 30mins- 1 hr.  I was not getting adequate sleep, all adding up to not so ideal circumstances. 

A few good/not so good things that I did prior to this exam block was:
1- Met with a tutor to get an idea I how I should tackle studying for my courses. I received a few good tips but ultimately the tutor and I were not the same type of learner of many of the tools mentioned were not ideal for me.  Try out multiple tutors, until you find your match!
2- Attempted group study. This was not effective for me either (at the time) because I was the weak member of the group, I was ill prepared and honestly couldn't keep up. I could have more effectively used that time to catch up on material. Going forward I will use group study to review questions (share common or differing point of views) and topics that I don't fully understand. 
3- I did quite a bit of practice questions. Initially, I did practice questions to early before we covered all the material (so I could not answer many of the questions) and I didn't thoroughly review my answers afterwards. I plan to go back to my trusty MCAT question review method: Review all the questions and take brief  notes on topics I get incorrect, if the topic is in my "REPEATEDLY MISSED" list, take more in depth notes and discuss the topic with a tutor, professor or another student.  

Immediately after my exams, I emailed my advisor with revisions to the my study plan for the next test block, I met with one of my professors to discuss best practices for doing well in their course,  I reached out to another tutor, received tips/guidance and then I reviewed my missed exam questions. AND I GOT SOME REST, or simply put did something none school related.

My transparency is to let you know that life will continue to happen whether we are students or employed adults. I mean this isn't my first time failing an exam but as with any time that you fall short of your goal, you have reevaluate your actions and work harder the next time. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New School Year!

Its that time of year again, the little kiddies are heading back to school, college students will be back in school also and so many scholars will experience the illustrious first day of their new school, new program, etc!

I start school in less than two weeks and I am spending the remainder of this limited free time getting my son prepared for his first day at a new school (starting next week) and my first day as a 2nd Year Med student.

How I am prepping (Him):

  • Organizing all of his school clothes
  • Buying school supplies
  • Registration/Tour of the New school
  • Starting our morning routine a week early
  • Finding/registering for after school care
  • Random reading, vocab and math quizzes 

How I am prepping (Me):

  • Reviewing my school schedule and planning all his medical/dental visits
  • Handling all/most of my Non-profit work now
  • Resting 
  • Buying school supplies, books etc
  • Calculating my yearly budget
  • Resting
  • Finalizing my scholarship applications
  • Looking for other streams of income
  • Running endless errands for my grandparents while I still have free time
  • Resting
  • Reviewing pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology material
  • And did I say resting

In actuality resting comes far and few in between but I am definitely getting more rest than I would if I was in class Mon-Fri and when my son starts school next week I will have more time to rest and work on my projects.

ADVICE TO 1ST YEAR Professional School students:
Whether you have started already or will start in the coming weeks or days:

  • Review your financial aid information, make sure everything is accurate and never be afraid to ask for more free money (grants, scholarships etc). Also Do you know how much debt you have entering school? If youre like me an have a few degrees and have dabbled in federal pool money quite a bit, this is need to know information because there is a lifetime cap on federal education funding.
  • If you haven't already apply apply apply for as many outside scholarships as possible, money matters. Yes we are all(majority) going to leave school with some type of debt but thinking about debt in school can be burdensome, especially if you have family or extra unexpected bills. 
  • Make a budget, the frequency/timeline of your budget should depend on when you anticipate a refund check from your school. Its better to over estimate expenses than underestimate, by over estimating and moving my scholarship money to separate accounts, I never find myself in a position needing to request more funding.
Academics (keeping it simple because everyone is different)
  • Pre-read before class, this doesn't mean you have to read the whole chapter but as least scan through majority of it, pick up on new topics and graphs/pics, after lecture if you notice one topic was more stressed than another and its unfamiliar information for you, read that chapter, watch videos on it or whatever works best for you.
  • Its better to keep up than to play catch up. Our school Psychologist said this during orientation last year, and it didn't really hit me until I was knee deep in old material that I was seeing for the first time. Try your best to keep up with the class material each day, review and read, take notes or whatever works for you, each day after class. I know sometimes we get tired after a long day of being in class but try to at least review something before dozing off, that way it leaves less for you to catch up on. If you plan according Mon-Fri and stay on track, you have less work to review on the weekends and you are able to review some/all of the material for a second time (repetition is key) and when your exam nears there will no (or less) material that you are seeing for the first time!
  • You are human and you body needs care just like you brain! Schedule time to enjoy life, whether it be an hour or 1 day a week!
These were some of the hard lessons I acquired after struggling a bit to find what study methods worked best for me. I found myself always fighting to catch up, give it a try and let me know how it works! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Birthday Cake Please!

Hello World, I am happy to celebrate another year of life, another day to learn and grow and to work on being great (however and whatever I define greatness to be)!!

Something AMAZING, AWESOME and SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS was that I launched my non-profit organization website!

So please check out Conceive A Dream Foundation's new home! Learn about the organization, the work we plan to do in the community and with youth and women, and of course make a donation towards these efforts!

Overall life is life, I am taking the good with the bad and making sweet dessert out of it! My goal for this next year is to devote time and energy into self care, self love and participating in healthy activities that will me bring joy and fulfillment and by doing so I will be a better mother, family member, student and friend!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Beyond Thankful

God is Absolutely Amazing so Remember not matter what storm comes your way (or even a beautiful sunny day) praise him for the good and the bad, and spread the joy and love from his sacrifice with the world!

I am thankful that I was able to wake up today 
I am thankful for my family, friends, associates
I am thankful for the good health of so many
I am thankful that those with ailing health, have the strength to keep going

P.S I have tons of great things to look forward to: 2nd year, Leadership positions, Non-Profit work (Finally YAYYY) and immense personal and spiritual growth 
I am beyond thankful and All praise, honor and glory goes to GOD because I could not have made it on my own!