End-Surgery, Ante-OB Update

May 20, 2013

Hello, Readers! How ya’ll doin’?

Have been up to my elbows in paperwork–much to do before September–asking for more LORs, investigating electives, completing forms for the school, trying to get signed up for my Step 2’s, emailing folks with “connections.” I never knew medicine was so political. The paper-pushing’s tedious at times, but not that difficult. Just keeps me from doing fun things, like blogging. :/

So, when we last chatted I was being grouchy about not getting my grades on time. Well, you’ll never guess what happened. I got a call from the coordinator at the hospital who told me she was doing an audit of my file and noticed there was NO EVALUATION from my psychiatry rotation in NOVEMBER and she wanted to confirm that I did it. HA! That’s why I have no grade–the school has no eval! I confirmed that I did, indeed, do my rotation and offered to come in and bring an eval to my doc. The coordinator said she’d take care of it. I heaved a big sigh of relief when I hung up the phone. That’s one mystery solved. In the mean time, my grade for IM was updated so that I have my shelf grade AND final grade, meaning all 3 of my evaluations made it back! YAY!

I had a snooty, condescending blog comment from a resident enlightening me that clinical grades don’t matter to residency programs when you’re an IMG because, according to them, residencies know we have crappy rotations at crappy hospitals. That’s not the point. The school is required to send my transcript off with my application and I do not want a giant INCOMPLETE on my transcript because of something I could have fixed months ago. Yeah they might not care about A vs. B vs. High pass, but incomplete is different. That prompts statements like “Oh you’re applying to psychiatry but it doesn’t even look like you’ve completed your psychiatry core!”

Surgery is over. Ended up going home for a few days during the 11th week to play caretaker when both my parents caught the flu, then my dad, a smoker with close to a 50 pack year history, came down with pneumonia. I reminded Mom that the flu shot could have potentially prevented this…she begged to differ and still politely refuses to get a flu-shot. ::sigh:: Came back to Chicago just in time to unpack, catch the last lecture the next day, get a good night’s sleep and take the surgery shelf. It wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone says it is. Because there aren’t that many surgery questions available in the major q-banks, I followed advice I had heard from upper meds and went back and started doing IM questions when I ran out of surgery q’s. Admittedly, there did seem to be a lot of mostly-medical questions, so I would say it was solid advice. I had a pretty strict study schedule for the first half of the rotation that involved quite a bit of reading and at least 50 practice questions daily–I think this had something to do with how not-so-intimidating the shelf felt. I have many classmates who, per usual, have waited until the last minute to take the shelf (now that their new rotations have already started) who are nervous and freaking out about it. It’s hard to be objective about how prepared you are when you have taught yourself most of the information. Oh well, they’ll be ok.

Had the first day of OB today. Liked it–was impressed with the doc. A lot of what she talked about was information I had already covered in the 100-or-so practice questions I had done on OB stuff in a fit of boredom this weekend. Tricky stuff that is high-yield for exams. Cool! A TEACHER who wants us to do well on our exams! The doc remembered me from IM–she had lectured some mornings at morning report–and made eye contact with me several times during her talk today. We have 12 core students in our rotation, a bit too many for the intimate 6-person table in our meeting room so I ended up squatting on the floor during the lecture. Also we have 5 or 6 5th semester students spending a week shadowing the doctor, so you can imagine how crowded it was. We were handed a list of 42 topics and told to have presentations ready on 2 of them for each day. With 12 people, that’s not too daunting. I volunteered to have a presentation ready for Wednesday since many of the others will be missing class to go take their shelf exams for their previous rotations. The kids who completed surgery with one of the other doctors are required to turn in a giant packet of 23-or-so essays they’ve had to write on interview techniques throughout the rotation. Many of them are still finishing it up and have to turn it in this week, so they’re temporarily out of the presentation line-up as well.

I’m up to week 5 of my couch-to-5k program. They used to measure the amount of time I’m supposed to run in seconds, then minutes, now they’re measuring it in miles! AAH! Fat folks don’t run! Apparently this one does! I’m trying to take it one day at a time and pace myself and stretch really thoroughly. I’m a couple days behind (you’re only supposed to run 3 days a week) but I don’t want to run for 5 days straight this week and risk an injury so I might just have to be behind for a bit. I’ve gotten winded, but have not had an episode yet (knocks on wood) where I wasn’t able to complete the workout as instructed. Listening to music with a good beat helps, as does running outside so that you have surroundings to distract you. I set silly little goals for myself like running to the next mailbox or running through the end of the song and they seem to be what keeps me from quitting when I look down and realize I have more time left than I do running-stamina. (Forcing myself not to look down at the timer, also, helps.) Oh, and a little bit of sugar-free RedBull before the run never hurt either. Heh. I’ve signed up for the Color Me Rad 5k in July, so I have a goal to be responsible for. It’s good motivation when you feel like sitting on the couch or tired of doing practice questions.

Please keep sending questions–very good questions! Good luck to those of you applying/starting school! You can do this!

7 Responses to “End-Surgery, Ante-OB Update”

  1. Faiq said


    I have been following your blog for a while and think your doing a good job for prospective students like me. I appreciate you taking the time to write your experiences. I have a personal question for you, basically I wasn’t sure what to get in to when I started my biology degree and due to certain personal/family/financial issues I failed a bunch of classes. However I bounced back and increased my GPA to a 2.9. I wanted to know from your opinion, do I have a shot at MUA med? lol I know you get this question alot but this would really help.

    Thank you

  2. Manny said

    Hi Jenn,

    I also have been following you for quite some time now and think that you’re doing an outstanding job blogging about your experience while in medical school.
    I have been accepted into MUA this coming fall and will most likely be making my way down there in the next few months. Your blogs truly provide loads of inspiration as well as comfort as I will be following in your footsteps beginning this September.

    As a Canadian citizen, I want to ask you if you if you believe MUA does a good job in preparing students into Canadian residency placements. I do recall you mentioning in your previous posts about your Canadian friends that you met in basic science, so that’s why I thought you would be able to answer that question based on what you observed from their experiences at MUA.

    Also, would you be able to provide a little bit more insight about the LOR’s that you are trying to obtain at this point in time? Approximately how many do you think you require to make your application stand out from the others. Are all your LOR’s from doctors that you worked with during your clinical rotations or will you be using references from your undergrad and basic science professors that you had?

    As you can see, I am quite eager to get started with school. Would you recommend anything for me to do while I wait the next 3-4 months before I start?

    I hope to receiving a response,
    Thank you.

    • jenningers said

      Hello, Manny,

      Thanks for the kudos on the blog, much appreciated. Congrats on your acceptance to MUA! Great JOB! You’re over the biggest hurdle!

      I think MUA does as good of a job as any of the other Caribbean schools in preparing students for Canadian residencies. It’s tricky, aiming for a Canadian residency spot when you go through a program designed to produce doctors for US spots, but as I’m sure you’ve seen in the match lists from previous years, there are students in Canadian residencies every time! Some of my friends in clinicals now, who are Canadian as you mentioned, are planning electives and cores in Canada as we speak so that they are better match candidates for Canada.

      LORs that I’m working on are for my residency application. Technically, only 3 are required, from physicians you have worked under during your clinical rotations: at least one in the field in which you are hoping to match, as well as two others that show that you’re a well-rounded student who pays attention to patients and can do a good job. Most doctors are more than willing to write letters, it’s just the logistics of contacting them, tracking them down, contacting their secretaries, sending the information, making sure they’ve received the right information, and then following up with them to make sure the letter is written and sent off (without being a nag) WHILE you’ve moved on and are completing OTHER rotations, yourself, that’s what has me running around in circles right now. I’m trying to get as many strong letters as possible so that I’ll have plenty of options. LORs from undergrad are used mainly in your application to medical school. LORs from basic science professors are usually not needed, though can be used on occasion to secure a particularly competitive clinical rotation. As of yet, I have not needed one for a clinical rotation.

      My best advice to you while you wait on school to start would be to start researching the school and the island, to try and find out where you’d like to live and if you’d like a car, who might have one that you would like. If you’re really, really bored, I would start studying the anatomy of the arm. Your first block in Med 1 anatomy will cover the brachial plexus, musculature of the neck, arm and hand, as well as the nerves and blood supply. Histology I would save until you get to the island. Nevis is very different from the US and Canada–no shopping malls or drive-thru’s or modern conveniences like central heat and air. I would enjoy the simple things like family and pets and conveniences while they’re available to you.

      Congratulations again and best of luck,


  3. Nahal said

    Hi Jenn,

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog while doing research on MUA. It seems very reassuring and helpful. I was just wondering, did you do their pre-medical program or did you do their MD program directly?
    Do you know about their pre-medical program? I would really appreciate it if you could provide me with some information on it. I’m lacking the chemistry pre-requisite for the basic sciences program, but I’m not sure if the MUA pre-med is a good idea.


    • jenningers said

      Hello, Nahal,

      Welcome to the blog! You must be interested in MUA. I did not complete the pre-medical program as I had a degree in biology previously, which fulfilled the prerequisites and allowed me to enter directly into the MD program. I don’t know a lot about the pre-medical program firsthand. My best advice to you would be to join the facebook group, MUA Mentors, and author a general post for information on the pre-med program. There are several students, both past and current who have been through the pre-med program and have the most up-to-date information about it.

      My caution to you would be that if you are considering the pre-med program at MUA, there are no loans for it if you are a US student. The tuition must be paid out-of-pocket. If you don’t feel like you’ll be strong in Chemistry or you have more than a couple of semesters worth of pre-reqs to take, it might be a faster option for you that involves less non-medical study of chemistry.

      Wish I could be of more help, but hopefully someone within the group can give you some advice.


  4. Jenny said

    Hey Jenn!
    I have been reading your blog the last couple months and have found it very eye opening! I have been accepted for Jan 2014 and would love to pick your brain a bit with some things i’m concerned about. Would really appreciate an e-mail!

    Jenn (too! haha)

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