a day in the life series {USMLE}

I volunteered as a medical school mentor for our state's medical school. I have always enjoyed mentoring. I did peer mentoring in college as well as led small groups in Chemistry and Biology. Some opportunities even gave a small stipend.

Working with medical students is one reason I stayed in academia. I am impressed with every single one I meet. They are amazing and intelligent.

I had very good mentors during medical school and I want to give back. Also, I want to recruit for my specialty! Not a lot of student doctors get the exposure for child neurology. It is not a mandatory clinical rotation. Some do not even know that such a specialty exists!

I went to medical school wanting to go to pediatrics. When I was a college student, I did work-study program at a research lab. I thought about doing peds hematology-oncology. When I entered Medical school, I went back to general pediatrics ~ instead of pursuing heme/onc. It was not until my third year of medical school that I truly fell in love with neurology. I could not give up the children, so I took a 2-month elective my MSIV (medical school 4th year) doing child neurology outpatient and research in child neurology. That's when I solidified my career choice and decided to be a child neurologist.

I am starting this "a day in the life" series because I am sure my mentees will ask me about life in the wards as a third year and fourth year med student. I want to write them all down and not forget. It has been over 8 years so I am sure I have forgotten quite a few things... but I will try.

So to start this series, I want to start talking about USMLE.

USMLE is a three-part exam for medical licensing in the US. US - United States, M= medical, L = licensing, E=examinations. The first part aka UMSLE Step 1 is taken between 2nd year and third year. It goes over basic sciences and EVERYTHING learned during the first two years of medical school/classwork. Maybe I will write a day in the life of an MS1 and MS2... but it's pretty much: wake up, hit the books, read, study, lunch, read, study, workout, dinner, read, study, sleep. Repeat the next day.

I prepared for my USMLE Step 1 by studying  and learning the materials well the first time -- which was during the first two years of med school. The review part started midway through my MS2. I used this book:  First Aid for Step 1. And I used qbank of Kaplan. 

We finished our first year early May. Therefore I had all month of May to mid-June to take Step 1. Some of my classmates took it the week after finals week which was second week of May. That was too soon for me. Since my birthday is June 1st, I chose the date May 31st to take the exam. I had the month of May to study. Then I had 2 weeks of freedom in June before I started my clinical rotations.

USMLE Step 2 has two parts. There is the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS).  Step 2 CK is taken generally in the beginning of MS4 (4th year). I took mine in August and used this book, among others. I also used my rotation books during review (I will go into these when I talk about different rotations). I used Qbank again from Kaplan. Some of my classmates used Ubank. But since qbank worked for me and I passed Step 1, I did not want to take my chances and use another question bank... Call me superstitious. I prepared for a month before taking the test end of August. I studied in the morning  for 1-2 hours before  heading to my 4th year outpatient elective.

USMLE Step 2 CS is taken in certain cities in the US. I took mine in Chicago in September. It's the closest city that offers it. Other cities are ATL, HOU, LA, and Philly.  My match (I will explain that in future posts) was an early match so I wanted to take my Step 2 CK and CS right away before I traveled for interviews.  I used this book for practice case scenarios. My husband played as my patient. It's easy to be a patient even for nonmedical folks. In the book, there are prompts for the patients and their answers to questions per case.

The last step, USMLE Step 3 is taken during residency. A lot of folks, specially those who want to moonlight and get  extra money, took Step 3 during intern year. To moonlight in Indiana, a permanent medical license is needed. Since I did not have any intentions of moonlighting, I was in no rush to take my Step 3. I could have taken it during my PGY2 (post graduate year 2) but I just had Daniel so I postponed it to my PGY3. I used this book to study. I studied mostly internal medicine topics and skipped pediatrics. Since I was a peds resident, I was comfortable with those questions. i just had to review the adult medicine topics. Same goes for internal medicine residents, my advice is to study the peds section and don't dwell too long on the IM topics.

Remember this: 2 months to prepare for Step 1; 2 weeks to prepare for Step 2; 2 pencils to take Step 3. I did not quite follow that timeline. But I saw that I didn't need to study for a long time for the other steps. Plus all exams now are taken on the computer. I did not bring 2 pencils to my Step 3!.

important note, all Steps must be taken within 7 years (at least for Indiana) in order to qualify for Indiana medical license. If a physician takes one step outside the 7 years, all steps must be retaken (ouch!)

That's it for the overview of USMLE.

Next on the series is a day in the life of a third year student doctor in the internal medicine wards!

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late for summer? i say NOT {wiws}

I am not too late for summer... Am I?
I just got super excited that I was able to zip this dress. FINALLY! I bought this dress during that awesome dress sale at Old Navy. Remember? 

I do not blame you if you don't because it was MONTHS ago. Like back in May or June!
I was still pregnant with Lucy and saw the awesome deals and got this dress. I did not bounce back as quickly as my impatient self wanted (that's fine) so it's 3 months later and I am finally wearing it.

lucky you, I searched for this dress and it is still available... for only $16! and lots of sizes still up for grabs!

Back to being impatient. I got these pumps I am wearing preowned and loved via eBay. the original price is outrageous... even for my does-not-make sense, impractical taste. Instead of $250, I got these for less than $30 on eBay.

They came during the last trimester of my pregnancy and I was disappointed. My heart sank all the way to the tiled floor.

My feet were so big that I wore these sandals pretty much everyday at work, church and to date nights. So I asked my sis and mom to try my eBay find. Nope they were too big for their nonpregnant feet. They said I should be patient and wait it out.

Postpartum impatient self tried them out maybe once every couple of weeks.... And a few days ago, I was so thrilled they fit me!

Not really sure they are perfect for this floral summery dress but I wore them anyway. Was I going for late summer floral + early fall animal print??? SUUUUURRRRE!

The children were amazingly well behaved at Mass! Must be because they were tired from the pool party they just went to mid afternoon. 

Or maybe the church is cool this last weekend of August.

Our church is known as the beautiful HOT church. We do not have an AC hence the $5M campaign to restore this historic beauty and install AC. 

swarovski bracelet, gift from my MIL
Chanel Caviar Flap Bag

if it's pink, it's a link... shop now! 

Old Navy printed tube dress   (Less than $16!) // J crew pumps via eBay //
Covergirl  lipstick in Delight Blush
Chanel caviar flap bag via Trendlee
(code: disisd will give you 5% off!)

I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday Funday. 
I am off to cuddle with my 2 month old... no complaints. 

linking up with HollySarahDorandaMorgan, LeanneElizabeth, Elena,  Madeline,  DanielleGrace, and Brooke.

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isabel goes to preschool {7qt}

1. Isabel has been raving about preschool for months. It was just springtime and she already knows come few months she will be joining her older brother at the big school.  She had the usual excitement the night before and even skipped breakfast that morning though we bugged and bugged and bugged her. Nervous butterflies in her tummy, maybe?

2. She chose this pink dress from her GodMom. She also wore her new light up sneakers that I got for $15!  Awesome deal from stride rite! Good thing we also labeled her zip up. There was another girl in her class with the same ELSA hoodie Derrick got from.... where else? Derrick's fave store? yes, Costco. {grab your special girl the same hoodie for $24.99 for 3T and only 13.50 for 4T}

3. I'd like to thank our lovely family for getting her her school goodies. Since she will stay extended day in preschool for same pickup as older bro, she has a scheduled nap after lunch.  Auntie Feli got her crib sheets for the cot and Disney princess blanket.  My mom got her her backpack  which we are not using yet. As the school provided every preschooler a tote bag. 

4. Isabel chose Disney princess  waterbottle and  lunchbox.  Is it ever too much pink in this girl's life? I wonder where she got that from?

5.   For lunch containers, we got the same ones we already have for older brother. They are dishwasher safe, microwave-safe, and even freezer-safe. 

6. Daniel is stepping up as KUYA. He was giving her pointers for recess, lunch rules and pickup time. 

7. And since I started a video for Daniel, I might as well do one for Isabel. Here's her first day in video format.

linking up with  This ain't the lyceum for Friday's SQT! join us!

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snack time snack time

disclaimer: this post is sponsored. we received this free item to review. Opinions are my own... and my children's :)

When I pick up Daniel in school, sometimes his first words were not: hi mama.

but may I have my backpack? I want to eat my snacks. 
Did you bring me food?

I am always on the lookout for tasty and healthy snacks that are kid-approved. Kids love rice krispies but they are sugar-laden. They love cookies but then again it's the same sugar + butter scenario.

When I received these chewy granola bars from Quaker, I know they will be a hit in our house. Thin Mints + Quaker Oats? Who thought about this genius idea? My children have a sweet tooth like me. This treat has 8 grams of sugar and 100 calories per bar. It's still too sweet for me... But for the kids? naaah, they love it! I have been packing this sweetness in Daniel's bag for his morning snack.

Can you imagine the best compromise? Cookies and Granola Bar snack. 
Not to mention, it's the famous Girl scout thin mint cookies in a granola bar!

These new bars are a winner and must-buy item for our kiddos.
if you get them, let me know what you think!

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casual pick-up + exercise routine

As much as I love wearing my husband's loose shirts, I would actually like to eventually wear my clothes again. Because of the new baby and breastfeeding, quite a few of my summer tops are still tight on my chest. Slowly, I am pulling a few short sleeve tops I thrifted last year for the last days of summer. 

This one is a step-up from my usual loose tee and gym shorts ensemble for school pickup. Adding a little bit of ballet flats sparkle brought a spring to my step (ba dum tssh!)

It's only  been a couple of weeks since Derrick and i started working out regularly in the morning before the children wake up. But we already see a difference. Early to bed, early to rise as my grandpa told me growing up. It's nice to get 30 minute workouts out of the way to give you that boost of energy for the rest of the day. 

I can also see that my arms are getting stronger. I carry Sebastian and/or that heavy carseat around and fatigued much later than usual. 

I am not following the diet portion of the 21 day fix strictly. I agree with my OB that the diet portion does not have a lot of fat needed for nursing. I need the healthy fats for breastfeeding.... not the fat on my thighs or belly! The portion control is perfect to help me get back to mindful, healthy eating. Cutting out ice cream everyday has made a big difference. surprise, surprise.

I did not do the before photos with the swimsuit on (yikes!) But it will be nice to look back at my OOTD posts from a few weeks back and follow my progress. Will I see a difference? 

If it's pink, click the link. TIME TO SHOP!
Anthropologie top, thrifted // Old Navy shorts, thrifted from my sis
Old Navy sparkles, this one is less than $40 //  Necklace from my sis

As per my usual routine, I add photo outtakes - the ones that would not have made the cut in any blog but worth placing here for kicks and giggles. 

And here's my awesome photographer. 

He is an awesome first grader! He is already reading short picture books. He tolerates my OOTD photo requests after school pick-up. 

Do you see those cute dimples at the top of his cheeks? Bastian has those too! They got them from their daddy. 

Have a good day, friends!

linking up with HollySarahDorandaMorgan, LeanneElizabeth, Elena,  Madeline,  DanielleGrace, and Brooke.

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day with Lucy and date night {surprise Video Log too!}

I totally agree with moms/parents of one child. IT IS HARD.

It is a different hard than having all 4with me. When it's just me and Lucy, it's HARD.

I planned on working out because it's date night (yay to Fri-YAY) Lucy knows when I have something in mind... or when I put on my sports bra.  I cannot place her down! She sleeps like she's in hibernation mode when her older sibs are home. But when it's just me??! nope, she wanted to be held.

I was listening to a podcast of Grace being interviewed at This Inspired life podcast. She talked about white noise everywhere in her house. I finally emailed her to ask what sound machine she has! I did not waste a moment. I went to amazon and bought the same sound machine!  And it's only $19.99! (Thanks Auntie Feli for buying it for us. we used your gift card)

See the sound machine in action in the video below.

I thank Lucy that she finally napped around 3ish. I took a shower and got ready for date night. I wore this white tube top from (cringe!) Express (this one is less than $20!). I haven't shopped there in a couple of years. Their tops, if not flowy, are way too tight. I have a mommy belly which means it's express-NOT belly.

When I saw Express on sale at zulily with this peplum top -- I figured why not.


Lucy and St. Lucy c/o Axis Mundi Etsy Shop
{use code: FREESHIP to get free shipping}

I did not want my white top to get messed up as I fulfill my household chores. I  know I will stain it while washing dishes. So i wore an apron. It's very trendy, y'all. Wear an apron for dishwashing. It makes dishwashing fun.

The Burberry bowler made its comeback. After getting this bowler, I finally understood why LV speedy lovers complain. For a mama, the bowler with short handle drop is not functional for everyday use. Even if the classic LV is a speedy, I do not own one. First, it looses its shape. Second, I already have this Burberry bowler and I rarely use it. I would rather spend my moolah on a different LV style (like this one.... gosh so expensive!)

skirt via zulily // Burberry bowler

wanna see a good hair flip?
scroll now

St. Lucy glass pendant via Axis Mundi etsy shop

Now let's lean...

Lean some more....

 And more.....

 Here's our day in video form.
Hubs thinks I am bored when I do these videos. No, not really.. just something different to my day. Specially since who I am hanging out with a human being who does not really talk or giggle yet.

And don't you think it will be fun rewatching these videos later?

outfit details: if it's pink that means it's a link. click it and SHOP.
express peplum top (similar) via zulily
skirt also via zulily
MK bradshaw watch
Burberry bowler
Naturalizer sandals via zulily
St. Lucy glass pendant c/o Axis Mundi etsy shop
Covergirl Lipgloss in tweet me

linking up with SarahDorandaMorgan, LeanneElizabeth, Elena,  Madeline,  DanielleGrace, and Brooke.

Thank you for reading! I can be found on:
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