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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Working with a USMLE Study Buddy
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

Updated 11/2019: 


My, how time flies.  A few years ago, I was just your average third year medical student reflecting on my experience with using a Tutor for Step 1 studying. It’s so incredible to sit here as an attending and reflect on how different my perspective is now on Step studying and really the whole medical school experience.  As it happens, I am no longer looking at this as a student, but as a tutor and mentor, myself.

So what, if anything, has changed? Well… I suppose everything and nothing has! Despite being done with literally ALL of the most difficult, dreaded parts of medical school, I still need and seek support and guidance, I still need someone to tell me I’m making the right decisions for my future, and I still need someone from time to time to just ‘give it to me straight’. 

Six Last-Minute Ways IMGs Can Improve Their ERAS Before September
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

It usually is around June that the ERAS panic sets in: “CRAP. I have 3 months to figure out how I’m going to sell myself during interview season!”  While there are many wonderfully involved medical students that have spent the past 3 years cultivating a winning Residency application, some of us have spent the last 3 years just trying to stay afloat and get through these exams. 

If you are a Caribbean medical student, you probably have had extra pressure during this time to perform well scholastically with little to no emphasis on extracurricular activities or well-rounded life experiences. Regardless of where you fall in your readiness to submit your application, I can’t underscore enough how important it is that your Residency Application is ON POINT.

Downloads on the Downlow: Five More Life-Saving Apps for Med School, Residency, and Beyond
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

In my last post, I listed five apps that helped me excel throughout both med school as well as residency – and promised there would be more on the way. Without further ado, here are five additional apps that saved me in med school and beyond.

Downloads on the Downlow: Five Life-Saving Apps for Med School, Residency, and Beyond
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

Last week I sat through a lecture about opioid choices and their IV/PO dosing equivalents in different forms. At first it was an amazing lecture, because I realized how little I know about the overlap in these medications. But after 30 minutes, I realized… there’s an app for that! During medical school (mostly 3rd and 4th year) I started accumulating apps – and these are one that not only saved me most, but that I continue to use in residency.

The Advice Nobody Gave You for Residency Interview Season: Part II
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

In my last post, I shared the first two of my five pieces of advice for residency interview season. Without further ado, let’s dive into my final three tips!

The Advice Nobody Gave You for Residency Interview Season: Part I
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

When I look back on starting the ERAS process a year ago, I remember all the things I worried about – and all the things I should’ve worried about, but didn’t bother to consider. Now that I’m on the other side, it’s only fair that I share with all you eager ERAS-ers the five points of advice I wish I had going into interview season.

Don't Fear September 29th: Breaking Down ERAS Applications
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

Every year on the same exciting pre-autumn morning, 4th year students compete for a slice of the AAMC’s precious bandwidth to express their deep desires to attend residency programs across the nation. One of the biggest chores leading up to this day is the preparation of the application itself. The piecemeal entering of all of your extracurricular activities, who supervised you, when they started and ended, etc. grows old quickly. However, this can be a good problem to have! How to make sure you adequately populate this section as the time comes for submission? This simple guide can help you decide what’s worthy, and how to help craft your application as the big day approaches.

4 Fool-Proof Ways to Incorporate Accountability into your USMLE Studying
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

I know this is a medical school blog, but I think it’s about time we talk fitness. No, I’m not about to start telling you how to get into shape. Let’s be honest, I’m still working on that myself. In fact, in recent weeks, I have found it harder and harder to accomplish my fitness goals and it got me thinking. Preparing to ace the USMLE is a lot like trying to get into shape. Both have a relatively straightforward “formula” for success. Most people know what they “have to do” for both of them, and both can be very frustrating, emotional, and full of setbacks. Let's talk about them and then go over 4 foolproof ways to hold yourself accountable while studying.

Four Biggest Advantages of Going Through Medical School Later in Life
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

It was my second day of residency orientation and I was sitting in a lecture hall full of eager interns of all specialties. Several times during presentations throughout the day, speakers would reference pop culture from the 80s (my favorite era), and the lecture hall would fall silent. “Does anyone know who said, 'Check yourself before you wreck yourself?'" one presenter asked… crickets. C’mon guys… Ice Cube! “Wow you guys are young,” he interjected into the silent crowd. Later in the day, one of the presenters actually said to the group, “The youngest person in here is 23 years old.” My jaw dropped. Twenty-three!?  How is that even mathematically possible?

For the next few minutes I just sat there thinking “Wow… how did I fall so far behind in life?” This isn’t the first time I had felt this type of insecurity. After all, many of my friends from Pre-Med are actually attendings now when I’m just starting residency in my thirties! For every time I have wished I had just done medical school "the right way, right after college," there are at least 10 other times that I feel so relieved that I took my time and went at my pace. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that life isn’t just a task list to run through as fast as possible. In fact, there can be drawbacks to running through the “schedule” so quickly. After 4 years of medical school, and a few weeks of residency, I can confidently say that there are 4 major advantages to going through medical school ‘later’ in life:

Should I Use Multiple Qbanks for USMLE Step 1?
Posted by Leila Javidi, MD, MPH

I remember when I started Anatomy in my first term of medical school, I would sit there in my cubicle in the library staring at Netters. I would then take out my 4,000 colorful pens and blank paper and try to re-draw everything I had just seen. By the time the test day came, I was able to essentially mold the human body from a block of clay… with my eyes closed.  But guess what? I failed my first Anatomy exam. 

I remember one of my classmates asking me, “Didn’t you do Grey’s questions?” My answer: “Yeah, I mean, I did some of them!”

This was one of the most pivotal moments in medical school for me, when I realized that learning medicine from the ground up meant nothing if you didn’t know how to apply it. The truth is, unless there is a clinical correlate, who cares if you know all of the innervations of the coccygeal nerve? Unfortunately, while being a good doctor isn’t all about doing well on standardized exams, it's how we are being evaluated now. It’s because of this that you must learn immediately (if you haven’t already) that DOING QUESTIONS IS ESSENTIAL. Learning through questions is the best way to test your knowledge and make connections, and it is by far the most efficient way to study. 

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