Regardless of these healthcare conundrums, I really enjoyed my relaxing trip to Brazil. I will never regret my decision to go. If a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream pops up, don’t let the guilt of “time wasted” prevent you from going for it.

Regardless of these healthcare conundrums, I really enjoyed my relaxing trip to Brazil. I will never regret my decision to go. If a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream pops up, don’t let the guilt of “time wasted” prevent you from going for it.

When you finish your first year of medical school, you are filled with an immense sense of relief and an overwhelming need to go lay on a beach for the entire summer without a care in the world. Your soul cries out for that. Your brain needs rest without stress or a feeling of guilt that you aren’t doing something more productive with your time. However, as you think about all of the wonderful, exciting adventures you will embark on that summer, the guilt slams back into place when you realize this is your last real summer. Residencies will want to see that you did something medically and scholastically meaningful. You grumble and fret over how unfair life is before sitting down and begrudgingly mapping out your summer plan for medical success and enlightenment (while wistfully thinking of rolling waves and the sunlight you have missed during the school year).

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HaitiWelcome back everyone!

Alright, you can admit it.  How many of you, after reading that title, just conjured up an image of a small gray haired man in full bishop’s regalia (hat and all)?  Turning sanctimoniously towards the crowd he announces, with impressive nasality, “Mawwage.  Mawwage is what brings us together today.” (A classic Princess Bride scene for those currently staring quizzically at the screen).

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GrapeDynasty1On our first day of medical school, way back in July, the administrators announced that we would all be split into groups that they would serve as our group for every class for the remainder of the year. We’ll never know how they split us up that day, but I know that I’m glad that they put me with the lot in group 7.

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The academic year at USC SOMG is drawing to a close. The M2’s are in hiding, busy studying for the biggest exam of their lives. The M1’s are in their last module, immunology, counting down the days until we get more than one day off of thinking so hard. But being the Type A students that we are, I know many of us in the M1 class have great plans for the summer. Some have internships planned, a trip out of the country, medical mission work, research, shadowing, weddings, and maybe even some time at the beach. My medical experience this summer is going to be slightly different.

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Students in action! (L to R: Elizabeth Koppang, Bryon Overton, Ben DeMarco, Kim Overton)

Students in action! (L to R: Elizabeth Koppang, Bryon Overton, Ben DeMarco, Kim Overton)

With a longer than appreciated winter behind us, I am more than ready for spring! Last semester I joined “Medical Roots” — the student interest group that founded our school’s garden with the intent of educating the community about the benefits of good nutrition. However, many of us do not have any significant gardening experience; in fact, I don’t have any at all! So when it came time to plant our spring crop, we turned to our advisor and biochemistry extraordinaire — Dr. LeClair. She has been guiding us through the ropes and even gave from her personal compost store to make our soil better.

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Dr. Mohammed Khalil, “MO. K.”  His nametag is short and sweet, populated by only three letters; a simple “MO. K.” But Dr. Mohammed Khalil, USC SOM Greenville’s Histology guru, is a man of many letters. He sports a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and two master’s degrees in veterinary anatomy. After a year of practice, that wasn’t enough so Dr. Khalil added a PhD in human anatomy and a third master’s degree in educational technology from Purdue University. I caught up with this scholar, gentleman, and student favorite for a few minutes to hear more about his journey to Greenville and his passion for education.

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While in college, I spent three semesters enrolled in basic Spanish language classes. I’ll admit that I was primarily completing minimum language course requirements set by my university, but I was also excited to develop a new set of skills that could help me interact with more people. Starting with no background at all in the language, I was feeling pretty good about myself three semesters later. I was usually able to hold conversations with my classmates, and I considered myself reasonably proficient in reading and writing in Spanish. I definitely wasn’t bilingual, but I thought I was pretty competent in the language.

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notes13Like every other M2 student at USCSOM Greenville right now, I’m studying for Step 1. Preparations began months ago when I started working through Q-bank questions and reviewing notes from my first and second medical school years. Often people think of medical students as “pre-doctors.” Presently, I identify more strongly with the title “professional student.” I collected a few photos of my notes to give you an idea of what I’ve been sifting through. The first nine photos are first-year medical student notes. Photos 10 through 15 are some of my notes from this year.

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Right now, the second-year medical students are in the midst of studying for USMLE Step 1, the first part of our Board exams. We will be taking it at the end of April/beginning of May. This means that most days consist of studying. No classes, no tests, just studying. It’s a daunting task, and each person has a different way of doing it. Some of us prefer the early mornings for getting started, while others take time to sleep in and study later into the night. Some of us like studying at school, and others like being in the comfort of their own home.

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A man and his son were in an accident, and each was rushed to the emergency room. As the young boy was wheeled into an operating room, the trauma surgeon took one look at him, then quickly left the operating room exclaiming, “I can’t work on him. He’s my son.” Who is the surgeon?

This riddle was brought to the table by a classmate in a lecture about implicit bias. Murmurs could be heard around the room as various answers were shared. The loudest- voiced opinion was, “It’s a gay couple.” That was a very insightful guess, and actually my first thought. However, the surgeon was actually the little boy’s mother. Many gasps of sudden enlightenment filled the room as everyone thought, of course! Even many of the girls in the room failed to get that one right. And, it was so easy. However, the role of surgeon is still instinctually given to the male population, despite the rising number of females in that field.

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