Pursuits of Happiness


MSM First Look Program

When Sept 24, 2016 
This is an all day event  8am~ to 3:30~
The First Look Program provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to meet medical students, faculty and admissions staff for an informative and interactive session on the admissions process, preparing for the MCAT, interviewing skills, how to successfully navigate medical school and what it’s like to be a practicing physician.
Interactive sessions have included:
  • Interview Skills
  • Suture Clinic
  • iStan Patient Simulator
  • Anatomy Lab
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Medicine

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April 8, 2016 Open House and Pre-Med Timeline


GA-PCOM (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, GA Campus)


Open House April 15, 2016 5
:30pm- 8pm   Suwanee, Georgia


Timeline
Jan-June--- You are here right now ;-)
  • Save as much as you can for primary applications, secondary applications, interview cost, seat deposit fees and so on. 
  • If you are eligible Apply for FAP through AMCAS and Fee assistance through AACOMAS.
  • Reflect on your interest, core values and desires in a medical programs (locations, specialty interest, extracurricular activities, research opportunities, additional funding available at the school, school/city demographics etc).
  • Check out MSAR to learn more about schools and/or also go to the schools direct website. 
  • Narrow your list of schools you would like to apply to based on your preferences and based on if you have or will all of the required pre-med prereq before school starts (for instance one school may required 2 semester of math but your school only required you take 1 semester of math). 
  • ***Important***Once you have selected your schools pre-write your writing prompts so that you can submit your secondary as soon as you receive them. Check out this website for a list  or visit SDN, or contact people know that attend or have recently applied to the school. Set a goal to have the writing prompts completed no later than mid June, leaving a few weeks to make last minute changes before July 1 when secondary applications open.
  • Also it is never to early to look for scholarships, check out the financial aid website of you prospective schools, google, scholarship websites and create a spreadsheet with listing deadlines and other important information.
April-June 
  • Prepare for and take the MCAT if you have not already taken the test or need to retake. Take the MCAT in the spring if possible, but no later than early summer in order to have scores submitted to the schools early in the cycle.
  • Request copies of your transcripts and check to ensure that there are no errors on them.
  • Begin working on primary applications. AACOMAS opens in  early May. AMCAS application is available online in May for applicants to begin filling out, but cannot be submitted until early June.
  • TMDSAS opens in early May.
July-September 
  • Take/retake the MCAT if needed.
  • Continue submitting secondaries that you did not get a chance to complete in earlier.
  • Some will come within days of submitting the primary application, others will take a bit longer. Return these to the schools within one to two weeks of receiving.
  • Interview at medical schools.
  • Some schools notify applicants of acceptances October 15. Notifications continue until the class is full. 
  • By April 30, applicants to AMCAS schools should only be holding a spot at one school. They may remain on waitlists for other schools. (Not sure if these run also applies to D.O schools)
Spring-summer 
  • Update schools you are waitlisted at about new activities and accomplishments.
Summer- Fall 

  • Take a short lived breather once you're accepted before Medical School starts :-)
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October 28, 2015 Premed Conferences

For me one of the highlight of researching different medical schools and learning about the health profession, has been attending pre-med and medical student conferences. Here are a few conferences for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. If you know of any conferences in your region that are not listed below, please feel free to share them.

SNMA- Student National Medical Association 
Annual Medical Education Conference 2016, March 23-27, 2016, Austin, TX

Upcoming Regional Events

October 30, 2015 -Region III - University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
November 13-15, 2015 -Region V, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dublin, OH
November 14, 2015 -Region IX, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY
November 21, 2015 -Region VIII - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
December 11-12, 2015 - Region VI, East Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA

Fall Conferences
Nov. 14 2015 Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons New York 
Nov. 21   University of Illinois at Chicago COM Chicago

AMSA PremedFest

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Plant City, Florida
Hillsborough Community College
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Dec 3. 2014 Clinic, Etc
      I have been MIA for a while but my life has been on the go as it should. During the past month I continued my Obstetric shadowing experience, re-visited the my old Family Medicine "Mentor" and a few other interesting activities. There are two encounters that I would specifically like to share:

1- My November Hospice Experience- I don't know if I had been sitting under a rock or what but when I thought of Hospice, the first thing that came to mind was a nursing home like facility. But to my amazement (well I wasn't really amazed but you get the idea) Hospice is a figurative word for an "end of life state of being". People with terminally ill conditions that are incurable or have exhausted all treatment measure will receive hospice care to assist as they transition. One of the Family Medicine physicians that I shadowed is a Medical Director with a Hospice company, so I tagged along for what I thought would be a day of rounding with Hospice patients. To my surprise, as I drove up to this office park plaza of sorts, I soon came to the realization that I would not need my white lab coat or stethoscope. I signed a waiver so there is not really much that I can discuss about my time there however, I do think that it is a valuable experience for all health professional students, not only the office days but also the home visits. End of life care is a very sensitive topic and very costly (to the patients and government as well) I am glad I was able to learn more about hospice care and the large network of Health professionals that work as a team to provide help to hospice patients

2-No batteries required- I was somewhat embarrassed to admit this but for majority if not all of my shadowing and medical volunteer experience I have relied heavily on electronic medical devices such as the automated blood pressure apparatus. Many years ago back in undergrad during one of my Bio classes we had to use a manual blood pressure cuff and I can name 1 or 2 other occasions when I had to gather vitals the odd fashion way. This was very naive of me because learning how to accurately obtain BP manually is imperative for any healthcare professional. Well today during clinic I had to reach back and remember what I was taught in college and while taking Human Phys because I was randomly assigned to do intake and I had to obtain each patients BP. One thing I have learned is never be afraid to ask for help because I definitely did not want to look crazy in there with patients and they can sense when you are nervous or clearly don't know what you are doing. Luckily I had a lovely M3 Caribbean Students that did not mind me using her arm as my testing dummie! After dusting off some tucked away dendrites and a little practice, I can say I am comfortable with the manual BP cuff. And if you're thinking that every premedical student knows how to manually obtain BP values (whether they have shadowed or not) you are definitely wrong. It really depends on how active the physician, clinic or volunteer coordinator allows the student to be during their experience and even then some places would not dare let any untrained/un-certified person lay hands on a patient, even for a BP reading. Immediately after leaving clinic I placed an order from Amazon for a manual BP cuff and I will definitely be using my family as test subjects, to keep my skills fresh.
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Nov 8. 2014 OB/GYN On CALL/Hospital 
      Let me start off by saying today was an awesome day and I thank God and my lucky stars for placing me in the right place at the oh so perfect time. The OB/GYN that I shadow participates in 24hr on call shifts at the hospital once or twice a week. Earlier this week his assistant informed me of an opportunity to attend rounding/delivery hours. I have been up and on the move non-stop this week and probably have not had as much sleep as I would have liked but I was not going to pass up this opportunity.
     Luckily I was assigned the 1st shift, which was 8:30-3:30. The shift time varies depending on exactly when the 24hr call for the physician starts. The typical attire for the medical students participating would be the hospitals' designated color scrubs, your white coat and of course comfortable shoes. I was glee with excitement when I got to the hospital all decked out in my scrubs and lab coat and I even received an official badge (with my picture and all :-). Initially it was some what of a waiting game, I sat in the nurses break room, I chatted with some of the ladies, eaggerly listened to there conversations and read a book but once we got rolling, it was literally a task to keep up with the OB/GYN and he is in his 60s!
    The day started off with a few rounds from the night before, visiting general surgery patients and new moms that had previously delivered either via c-section or vaginal delivery and had reached their stay maximum (at this hospital: 3 days for c-section and 24hr for vaginal if there were no complications). It was different to be on the opposite end of the dialogue. I tried to think back to my delivery day, I remember tons of emotions spiraling around after I delivered excitement about my new bundle of joy, slight depression and heavy anxiety (I delivered on Friday, was discharged on Sunday and had Fall semester finals Mon-Thurs), and I am sure I had so many other thoughts/feelings as well. I observed each mother and noticed different emotional presentations. Then the real excitement began I witnessed a vacuum vaginal delivery and a circumcision (ouch!), my day ended with more rounding and just as my shift ended they were prepping for a c-section, boy would I have really enjoyed scrubbing in on that. Overall, I feel so blessed to have witnessed (this time as an observer and not a participant) life in its truest form!
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Halloween DIY- Caramel Apples and Cinnamon Roasted Peanuts

We watched several youtube videos before deciding to go the semi-homemade route versus making the caramel from scratch.
Here's what you'll need:
Apples -we chose to using granny smith and sweet apples (not sure what brand but they were yellow                and red
Caramel- we used individually packaged soft caramel candy (1 or 2 bags depending)
Milk
Lollipop sticks or Skewers
Unsalted Peanuts
Wax paper
Sugar
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Vanilla Extract

Apples
Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove it from the heat and place the apples in the warm water for about 5 minutes. This should remove the wax from the apples, if needed take the apples out and rub them with a warm towel or napkin, then place them back in the water for a few more minutes. When this is done sit the apples on wax paper, remove stem (you can also do this before placing them in water). Use a knife to poke a slight hole in the bottom side of the apple and insert the skewer/stick into the apple (90% through) 

Unsalted Peanuts should be crushed or chopped, the smaller the better. We also chose to do some apples covered in Roasted Cinnamon Peanuts. Place a portion of your crushed/chopped unsalted nuts in a bowl and a tea/tablespoon of vanilla extract. In a separate plate or bowl mix 60% sugar, 10% Nutmeg, and 30% Cinnamon, sprinkle majority of you mix over the nuts then place the mixture on a paper wax cover cookie sheet, coat the nuts with the remaining Cinnamon mix and cook in the oven for about 5mins or less on 375 degrees. Keep an eye on the nuts, to prevent over roasting.

Unwrap the caramel candies and place then in a microwavable bowl and 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk and microwave. I choose to cover the bowl with wax paper.  Microwave for 1-2 minutes, keeping a close eye to ensure that the caramel doesn't burn. Stir the caramel to ensure that all of the candy is evening melted.

Dip the apples in the caramel in a turning fashion, allow excess caramel to drain off and then dip in your choice of nuts. Place dipped apples on buttered wax paper.

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Oct 8. 2014 OB/GYN Grand Rounds
      When I was a teenager I began watching TLC's "A Baby Story" and Obstetrics stole my heart! And since then I have pretty much vowed that OB/GYN it is. Then I shadowed in family medicine for a little over 2 months and the experience made me feel like a "Back Stabbing Lover"! Was I cheating on OB/GYN with this new found "Beau."? I enjoyed every aspect of my time in family medicine because they were real moments, I talked with patients, read lab results, listened to the rhythm of their soul and so much more. Unlike my passion for Family medicine, I had never had the opportunity to physically shadow in Obstetrics. All of my interest lie rooted in television shows, articles and some of my own personal experience during pregnancy, all second handle experiences, and never as a medical provider (or more so a eager physician in training).
       Now that I finally have to chance to see if my interest in Ob/GYN is real. Last week I shadowed during clinic, and met with patients during gynecological and obstetrics visits. Today was pretty much the same however prior to reporting to clinic, I along with the 4th year Caribbean medical students (they are completing there OB/GYN rotation at the office where I volunteer) attended a Ground Rounds Session at a local teaching hospital in my area. It was a interesting experience, although the topic was related to Colon and Rectal procedures, the pre/post procedural methods discussed could be adopted my physicians from any specialty hence its applicability at an OB/GYN grand rounds. During the session I took notes, mainly on phrases that I could recall from Human Physiology, RXs that I membered from previous medical exposure, techniques and etc. I am not a medical student nor resident so I did not necessarily understand most of the procedures mentioned or Hospital cost/benefit analysis that were presented but I anytime I heard a familiar term (like Cardic Output for instance), it jogged my memory and I would think about the formula associated with the term, its definition, physiological function or anatomical position/structure.
      I was happy that I was able to attend. They are held every Wednesday morning and we (the students) are expected to be there no later than 7:45am. On a typical Mon-Fri I drop my kid off at school around 7:15 however in  order to beat morning traffic to make the Grand Rounds on time, I have to make some adjustments to my morning routine. Luckily my grandparents are very helpful and are willing to forgo sleeping in a bit later to assist. Its still a little to early in my shadowing experience to know if this is True love or just a fling, but so far so good!
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Oct 5. 2014 Starting a Non-Profit
Medicine, healthcare, and patient advocacy is my passion but there's more to me than my medical aspirations. My childhood rearing and experiences during and after college have had profound effects on my life. Due to the struggles I have faced coming from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background, growing up in a single parent home, and learning to juggle parenthood, employment and college, I really want to help people from similar backgrounds as myself and women currently living out my college nightmare, reduce the educational and financial barrier they are facing.

With that being said I decided to start a Non-Profit foundation (well actually 2 separate and distinct organizations) that will target these areas.

Starting a Non-Profit has been a very tedious learning process and I have not even begun to scratch the surface. I have very high hopes for my non-profit ventures and understand that running any type of business requires tons of time, care and attention. Right now my primary focus is stable employment so that I can provide the basic necessities for my child and myself and gaining acceptance into medical school. Once I enter medical school my primary focus outside of being an awesome mom is to do my absolute best in medical school. With this being said I hope to establish my Non-profit in two phases.
  • Phase 1- Mentoring and Building meaningful Relationships- My non-profit is geared towards collegiate mothers and their child(ren). Whether I am in my between stages (i.e now) or a medical students, I will always be a mother and I have found that meeting (studying, talking, helping each other) with other mothers that are in similar situations as myself has been very helpful as I transition through life. Phase 2 has already started and I hope to complete all of my paperwork within a matter of weeks.
  • Phase 2- Building Professional and Corporate Connections- I by no means have the financial means to accomplish all of my foundation objectives as a student and this phase will develop over time and possibly after years (and years) of mentoring and building meaningful relationship with participants and volunteers. Phase 2 is a future goal, when I have the time available and business structure in place to implement my plans.
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