Question for my readers: would you all be interested in a ladies style series?
You know I’d be down for a ladies style series. Always looking for some med-school ladies style conversations. :)
And after reading your additional comments: I’m with you. I’m not so good about make-up; I do minimal aka non-existent make-up on most days. But I always roll in with my teeth brushed, hair combed, lip balm, and a washed face. At min.
Also, sweat pants and pajamas will always be good. Dressing well doesn’t mean uncomfortable. If anything, it means devoting time to finding comfort AND STYLE. Lord knows I love my band t-shirts, star wars t-shirts (I have a…formidable collection), and sweat pants.
Give a damn… about your appearance.
I get it. You study or are in class all the time. Sometimes you take a break to go to sleep or eat. Your roommate has been asked to occasionally check on you to make sure you’re still alive. You are too busy stressing and striving for a 4.0 to give any fucks about what you look like. Right?
I say UNACCEPTABLE!!!
One of the
manythings that really annoys me about American culture is the perception that smart people generally don’t know how to dress themselves or care about their appearance because they don’t know any better. Ohhh, look at that the cute nerd and his/her adorable fashion faux pas. Fuck that shit, guys!! You are really fucking smart, or else you wouldn’t be trying to do this whole doctor thing, correct? So spare a few neurons for how you look on a daily basis.
Then, there is the counter-sentiment that smart people shouldn’t care about appearance because it is trivial and superficial and for people who are also trivial and superficial. And smart people are above such low-brow wastes of time.
Again, I say UNACCEPTABLE.
As much as it sucks, people judge you in less than 10 seconds of first laying eyes on you. So, if you look like you don’t know how a flattering haircut from a flock of seagulls, or seemingly lack a basic grasp of how to select your clothing for your body type… what do you think they are going to deduce about your mental capacities?
Not to mention, confidence about your appearance will translate elsewhere, and be apparent to those around you. It’s a weird cool brain trick. If I’m having a really crummy day or feel sad I always take extra care to dress super awesome. And it usually helps me feel a little better.
You know how little kids will clamp their mouths shut and squirm and do everything possible to not eat that spoonful of pureed spinach their parents are trying to shove in their tiny gobs because it’s fucking good for the little brats? That is me with my rightness about this issue. I’m right and if you just open up and deal with it, it’ll be good for you.
I’m not saying you have to wear business casual every day (although there is a guy in my micro lab who does and goddamn he looks sharp all the fucking time! I love it!!). Just make a little bit of effort; this is one of those super cool instances where a little goes a long way. So what are my suggestions? I thought you’d never ask, you sweet thing, you.
#1: Sweatpants and oversized hoodies are not ok unless you have the plague or some serious issue. You can be comfortable and casual without looking like you sleep in a box under a bridge. Just say no.
#2: Wear clothes (especially releveant to jeans) that fit you and flatter you. Bigger is not better, nor is tighter better. If it looks like you could smuggle a few bricks of cocaine and no one be the wiser, or if people ask how you can possible move or breathe in your vacuum-sealed wrapping, then you need to reconsider how you approach the issue of fit.
#3: Buy quality clothes. You think $100 is a waste for a pair of jeans or a dress? Think about it a different way: that $100 price tag generally means the item of interest is well-made and will last a really long time. Also, it will continue to fit you even after many washings. So, if you have one pair of $100 jeans that fits you like a glove and makes your bum look like it came from Mt. Olympus, and you wear it 4-5 times a week, how long before it costs less than a dollar per use? It’s worth it. And this is especially true of shoes and any type of suit. DON’T BE A CHEAP ASS. EVERYONE WILL BE ABLE TO TELL.
#4: Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean it works for you. There are so many amazing retro-inspired ensembles I would love to rock 24/7, but I can’t because I am tall and skinny and shaped like a pencil. If voluptuous could have a negative, that would be me. BUT, there are lots of things I can work because of my shape: like the high-waisted pants and large loose boxy shirt trend? All fucking over that shit. And I can work it! It’s awesome. This rule also applies to color. Figure out what colors do and don’t work for you; for example, I looked awful in the bright neon block color stuff that was in vogue last summer because my people came from the north (melanin is really overrated, according to my phenotype). It just washed me out. But, a good friend of mine with a more olive-type skin tone and dark hair looked stunning in those clothes. On the other hand, for some reason I can wear salmon all day erryday and look swell. Note: I do not wear salmon every day.
#5: Ladies: invest in good undergarments. Make sure they fit you, and if they are cute then that’s super cool too! And wear the right type for what you are wearing! I’m sick of seeing panty-lines and garishly conspicuous bras. Get on that stat. Put a little effort into your face. Get a face wash and moisturizer that work for you. Pluck your eyebrows for the fucking love of god. Makeup is optional, but I find that I look 100x more awake if I at least put on mascara (my eyelashes are clear, essentially). Tinted moisturizer is the lazy girl’s best friend, it makes a huge difference.
#6: Guys: Get a suit that fucking fits. Seriously. A well-tailored suit is to women (or men) what sexy lingerie is to men. Also, take care of your eyebrows too!!! They don’t have to be sculpted, but at least fix any nascent unibrow-wannabes. A good face wash and moisturizer is also important and completely manly. Taking care of your nails is also awesome; gross toe and fingernails will get you nowhere in life. Basically, take care of yourself, practice good grooming habits.
#7: Get a decent haircut. It’s not difficult and can really make a huge impact in your perception of yourself and others’ perception of you. And, I hate to say it, but this is another instance where being a tightwad is going to hurt you. Go to a good salon. Maybe you have to pay $40-$50 for a haircut. So the fuck what? View it as an investment, not an expense. If done right, it will continue to look good as it grows until your next appointment (to those of you with long hair- you really need to go every three months or so for a trim; dead ends will end you). The same applies for hair products. To the 1% of people who have naturally amazing hair and never have to put anything in it to make it obey you, I am very jealous. The rest of us will have to get good product and use it properly to obtain such results. And there are a lot of awesome styles and products for lazy people with no time. You just have to ask.
No, go forth, and let’s change that stupid-ass notion that smart people aren’t hella sexy and fashion-savvy!!
Everything on here is ON POINT. BRAVO, ASPIRINGDOCTORS. I second her heartily. As a teenager, I didn’t think I deserved to dress well, let alone feel proud of my body. But upon entering college, I realized that dressing well was is one way to boost my self confidence, and that meant a lot in the long run as I learned to embrace myself and my quirkiness. Appearance seems like a superficial thing to think about sometimes but…appearance goes a long, long way to making oneself feel good! Do it for yourself, no one else :)
Two Cents Friday: Dating and Med School Part 1 (what I learned from the breakup)
Disclaimer: I’m just a wee first year. Hence the two cents. The experience of being in a relationship during second, third, and fourth year will be vastly different and I know that. Any input from those ahead of me in this would be appreciated because there will be more in this series and I would like to present the most accurate information possible.
Since starting med school I have experienced the security of a long-term relationship, the heartbreak of the end of that relationship, the strange world of singledom, and the butterflies of a new crush.
Med school is really hard. Anyone who tells you different is either a super genius or lying (suspect the latter). It’s hard to articulate. It’s hard to understand for those who aren’t experiencing it.
My last boyfriend and I broke up because of med school. When I was working two jobs and taking 18 hours of classes I was able to take care of myself for the most part. But then, when I started school, for the first time the two years of our relationship, I really needed him and he wasn’t capable of providing me with that. My ex, T, is not a bad person and I bear him absolutely no ill will. He is (and he has admitted this himself) deeply selfish and that’s why we didn’t work out.
Part of it is also my fault. It takes time adjusting to med school- to the work load, the expectations, and the alien language and culture. I had never experienced so much stress and I regret the way I would take it out on T. He didn’t respond well to it, and so this viscous cycle would start that left us both miserable and emotionally exhausted.
T and I were wrong for each other on many many levels, but we loved each other so much, so we tried to make it work in spite of all the glaring red flags. That was real dumb. Don’t do that. You can’t love someone into being right for you. It’s ok to be head over heels in love with someone and realize that you’re not right for each other. When that happens, the kindest thing to do is end the relationship. It will hurt, it will be really shitty for a bit. Ultimately, however, you will both realize it was the fairest thing to do because you love each other. But real talk, do not break up before a huge exam. That just sucks. You all can wait a week until after the exam, I promise.
Med students dating non-med students: it’s really hard, but try not to be a dick to your SO. They sympathize with what you are going through, but someone who hasn’t been though med school/is in med school can truly know that feel, so be patient and polite. Use your grownup words to express your feelings. Make time for them- time without books, where you don’t talk about school. Maintain outside interests and activities that you can do together. Your SO will probably be the person keeping you sane. Don’t drive them away. Ask them about their day. Despite being busy, try to do little things- leave notes or flowers, surprise dates, anything to make sure your SO knows how much they mean to you.
Non-med students dating med students: Don’t. Take. It. Personally. The first two or three months of med school are the hardest for us and we might now be very nice sometimes. We’re sorry. In fact, we need you now more than ever. We need you to cuddle us after a rough gross lab or test, or bring us coffee and snacks when we’re studying into the wee hours of the night, or to send us sweet texts and emails that remind us that you believe in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves. Help us keep one foot in the real world, to stay grounded. You are our lifeline and we love you.
Recently there’s been a slew of great med-student/medical dating posts. Another great one from aspiringdoctors!
My two cents on medical school applications (primaries and secondaries).
The end of medical school applications round two is in sight! And good thing too with school beginning again in two weeks; I won’t be dealing with essays once school starts and I’ll have other things to distract me while I’m waiting with painful anticipation.
The main reason I’m getting this out is because I went through this application thing essentially blind. I’m sort of disconnected from my resources at school as well as have no pre-med upperclassman friends to help me out here. So if nothing else, if one person has an easier time at it after reading this, then yay.
(Applicable to AMCAS and AACOMAS, and which other common applications exist out there).
- Begin early. As early as you’d like. Please do not wait until the application begins online to start getting everything down. Keep track of your extracurriculars as you go— type of activity, dates, and blurbs about what the experience was and what you got out of it. Same with your personal statement— “Explain why you want to go to medical school in approx. 5300 characters (including spaces).” This is not an easy question to answer, and you will go through several angles, several drafts, several long panicky nights to get this done.
Exactly on point about everything!
A Word With First Year
For the students out there who will soon begin their first year in medical school, let me say congratulations and welcome. There is a long road ahead of you. After reflecting on the experiences I have had and the observations I have made, I have here a list of 16 words of advice to set the course. Here is a quick guide to first year:
- Take some time in those first few weeks to build your network. The people in your class are the ones who will be your friends, support, and future colleagues for the next few years. You will need to find people you can count on.
- Do not let the white coat or stethoscope fool you. Your friend probably does not have that rare syndrome you just studied and you probably do not have a ruptured triple-A.
- Study hard. Get quality studying done and avoid the distractions. Make the most of your study hours so you can…
- Find balance. This is your out, a way to get away from medicine and back to your old life. Take some time off for yourself and adjust it accordingly depending on how much you need to study. But always take some time for yourself, your family, friends, and partner. Always.
- Sleep when you need. Sleeping hours disappear quickly over time so when you have a day off, get some extra shut eye. Also, if you have to choose between an all-nighter and sleep, go with the sleep.
- Caffeine. It is an unavoidable fact of medical school but take it from me, put it off as long as you can. At this point in your career if you can avoid it do so. Would not want to have it lose its edge down the road now would we?
- Stay healthy. Stay fit and eat fresh. Part of finding balance is taking the time to keep your body in shape and have a wholesome meal every now and then that needs more than three minutes in a microwave. Your body will thank you and you will feel better.
- Practice interviews and clinical skills. I remember when it seemed awkward watching one classmate interview another. Take those moments seriously and learn from them. These are skills you need to carry with you forever now. Practice makes perfect so do a little bit of clinical skills every now and then with your friends and family.
- Anatomy labs. Working with cadavers for the first time is intimidating so avoid the hands and face, the two most human elements of a person until you feel comfortable. Also, it can be easy to forget these cadavers were people once, remember to treat them with respect.
- Invest in your equipment. Shoes, stethoscopes, white coat, what have you, make sure the parts that last should, and make sure you are comfortable in them.
- Save your money when possible. Do you really need that gratuitous Starbucks? Do you need to get the pair of jeans? Medical school is costly and saving anywhere will eventually add up, even if it only puts a small dent in your debt. Seek out free things when possible. Free lunches or food-provided seminars are great for these.
- Be careful of what you say, how you say it and where you say it. The world of medicine is wrought with privacy and confidentiality concerns so learn to mind your surroundings before discussing something, especially if it involves a patient, real or not.
- Thick skin. Generally the people who work with you are nice but you will need to develop dragon skin. Expectations run high as you go through medical school and you will constantly enter situations where you do not know or make mistakes. Try not to take what people say at you personally.
- In the same vein, do not be overly hard on yourself. You are still learning and at this stage of your training there will be mistakes and bad calls. Take them in stride, learn from them, and move on.
- Be a moderate learner. Learn what you need to and maybe a bit more out of interest but take solace in knowing that you will not be able to study everything in a year. Stay within reason. Do not be obnoxiously keen. It will end badly.
- On a similar note, getting into medical school is not a license to become arrogant or obnoxious. Do not falter here when you have just made it through the door; it is a reputation you do not want following you around. Keep it together.
Good luck and take care.
Also check out the lists by wayfaringmd, md-admissions, and cranquis.
What a great list! And I’m flattered by the shout out along with some of my favorite fellow tumblrs! :)
Advice to Med Students, Second Year edition
This is so good. I’ll be looking at this…for the entire year
1. Don’t get complacent. If your study method wasn’t working the best last year, change it! Second year is harder, duh.
2. In that same vein, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
3. Enjoy the occasional bits of humor hidden in Robbins and Cotran Pathology. ( I did Path first year, but it’s my understanding that most traditional schools do it second year).
4. Take a first year under your wing and help them get through. Give them your notes, call them occasionally, take them out for coffee. If your school doesn’t have an official big sib/little sib program, start one.
5. No more than 3 Step 1 study tools. Any more than that and you’ll get pulled in too many directions and you’ll miss some material.6. Don’t try to study for Step 1 all year. Focus on the task at hand.7. Relax. You’ve made it through first year. Get a life. Just a little one, though.8. Be an officer in a club (I was an officer in 3!). This year is probably your only year you can do it. It looks good on CVs and it helps you get more involved. You may make contacts at residency programs or with attendings who can write you letters of rec. And maybe some clubs will help you figure out what you want to be when you grow up.
Advice to Medical Students, First Year Edition
To the incoming class of 2016, read this. Gosh, I kinda want to do one of these, too!
A new academic year is beginning, which means there is a whole new crop of thousands of first years who are, at any given moment, this close to peeing themselves out of excitement or utter fear. So to calm your worries, I’ve compiled a little advice column. Here goes:
1. Don’t look at the cadaver’s face on the first day of dissection. Save that emotional challenge for a week or two in.
2. Take the amount of time you think you’ll need to study and double it. Seriously.
3. Yes, you really do have to know that minute detail about the alpha subunit of the cholera toxin molecule (there’s a reason why I still remember it. Hello first day of medical school… ah the memories).
4. Don’t pull all-nighters. If you don’t know it by 10pm, you won’t know it at 3am.
Admission #54: Deeply appreciate some input!
Question: Who has experience shadowing/working with the CDC and doesn’t mind sharing some words of wisdom with me? I’m interested in doing a rotation there this summer!