20 Tips for UERM Med Sophies

See? Now you’re on 2nd year! Congratulations! Whooo! 🙂

Sabi sayo eh, mabilis lang yan. You’ll be a 3rd year med student in no time! And I’ll be a clerk soon. 🙂  *whooo fingers crossed*

So how was first year? 🙂

Typically when asked with this question, students would say,

“Mahirap. Huhu. Grabe, Biochem.”

“Struggle!”

“Okay lang.” *wow*

But hey, you’ve been promoted to second year! That’s one step closer to the ultimate dream of becoming a doctor. Yay! 🙂  You should at least be proud of yourself.

If you’d ask me how my sophomore year was, I would say it was a good balance of fun and work. From my perspective – that is, BSN as my undergrad– I find 2nd year easier than 1st year. This is due to 2 reasons. First, somehow I have already adjusted to the demands of med school. I already had a feel of what med school was like. Only this time, the load really increased but still manageable. Second, I have a background on all of the sophomore subjects. But wait. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t even think I just breezed through 2nd year because honestly, I did not. Haha. 🙂 I struggled, too! Well, it’s nice to have a background and all, but it was still hard, especially the last few months of the school year (more to that later). But yeah, what’s new anyway.

So I’ve gathered my thoughts for the past few days and tried to list down my advice to incoming sophomores. Think of this as a casual endorsement (as I’m also fond of hearing tips from my upper classmen), just so you have an idea.

Here it goes:

  1. Do a reality check

Remember during freshmen orientation you were asked that one question,

“Why do you want to become a doctor?”

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(c) maartist.md

I’m pretty sure we all have our own reasons. So after a year in med school, you can already assess what you’ll be doing next. Are those ‘whys’ still the same? Are those reasons enough to make you want to continue this medical degree? Would you want to try working for a while and go back a year after? Or would you rather leave the road to MD for good? Which one is it? You have to decide if it’s a go-go, no-no or just see you later.

  1. DO NOT buy all of the recommended books

By the way, how’s your Devlin? Were you able to use it? Or not at all? I bet you would sell it to the incoming freshmen. 🙂 If you can live by using e-books, you won’t be needing those thick heavy books. But if you really think you must buy some, I suggest buying these 3: Robbins (Pathology), Harrisons (Medicine), and Bates (Medicine). They are the most used books in 2nd year, in my opinion. 

  1. Be diligent in doing manuals/workbooks

As far as I can remember, there will be a lot of work on this especially in Pharmacology (within first LE period, I think. Lots of computations). So get ready for your Pathology, Parasitology, Pharmacology, and Microbiology manuals.

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More of this case discussion in Pharma

Get them done ahead of time as much as possible. You would not want them to get in your way once you’ve started studying for the LEs. You could have used that precious time for cramming those virgin transes, haha! 🙂

  1. Make use of your lab period wisely

Make sure to see all of the specimens during your lab period, that is for Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology. It’s all about familiarization, really. More often than not, that’s what the department would be using for the practical exam. And if possible, have your own set of photos of the specimen. It’s much safer not to solely rely on a generous classmate who would do a compilation of the photos of all those slides and gross specimen with matching labels and descriptions but still, thank you generous classmate. May God bless you more. Or you could make a compilation as a group. So strategize. And if you happen to finish early,especially during Patho lab, you could make use of that time to do other things like answering the manual.

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(c) maartist.md

  1. Be disciplined in your studying

Personally, I think what is more difficult in UERM is that we have a lot of freedom as compared to other medical schools. There are occasional quizzes, reportings, and group discussions but they’re not that enough to consistently push you to study. That’s just what I think. And exams are given in a one-time–big-time style unlike in other schools wherein they would have their long exam once they’re done with a certain module. That leaves you solely responsible for your learning. So polish your study habits, follow your timetable as much as possible, and get used in making self-imposed goals.

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But still, this happens a lot.

  1. Practice building rapport

By this year, you would now have patient interaction for your history taking and physical examination. This is PDR in flesh, folks! 🙂 So start brushing up your PR skills, especially if you are the type of person who doesn’t want to strike a conversation. Yes, it would feel awkward at times, especially if you are to ask the sexual history for the first time or if you get to handle a difficult patient or family member. It’s okay. This is experience. And being able to experience such encounters will teach you something, even though you won’t happen to notice that most of the time.

  1. Invest on your medical equipments

And since you are now ‘doctoring’ to people, I would suggest buying medical equipments that are of good quality, and thus, long lasting. Basics that you should have are your stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, and thermometer. The ophthalmoscope and otoscope can wait. You may want to save up for these two later on since they’re a bit pricey.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

Welcome to Formative and Summative Exams! 🙂 This will entail a lot of return demonstration of skills. Formative Exam is not recorded. It’s like a dry-run of what to expect on your Summative, which is graded. Subjects covered in these exams include Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Neurology. So all you have to do is to practice. 🙂

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NGT insertion

  1. Maximize your time

If you have a free time in between your schedule, maybe you can make use of it for patient interview or for shooting that creative video that you’re supposed to do for Pharmacology or Bioethics. And if you feel like you still have a lot of time which is the common problem, maybe you can set a date with your bf/gf/hubby/wifey or meet up with your non-med friends for that long overdue catch-up. Or if you don’t have to or you don’t feel like doing any of the above, you can visit the library and start reading your transes/book. Yes! Studious! Some also would also skip classes especially when  exams are just two weeks away. Whatever’s beneficial to you, just make use of your time wisely.

  1. Pull each other up

Help one another. Pull your classmates up. If possible, share resources and information that would provide good avenues for learning. Don’t be so selfish of what you have or what you know just to get ahead of your group mates. This is especially true when it comes to group works and particularly in doing your research. Remember, you are all in this together and that no one shall be left behind. Okay? 🙂

  1. Prioritize what to study first

One huge difference now that you’re on 2nd year is that you will have exams every single day of exam week. I’ll repeat, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Say goodbye to your free TTH exam schedule. You will surely miss it. 😦 In this case, you really have to prioritize what you will be studying first. Personally, I study minor subjects first so that I can devote a much longer time on majors later on. Some students would do other wise. It’s up to you. Your call, really.

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Hello there, exam sched!

  1. Aim for exemptions

The P subjects (Pharmacology, Psychology, Pathology, and Parasitology), Microbiology, and Research Methods II have exemptions during finals. The rest, none. Not seeing my name on any of the exemption list for second semester was just heart breaking, especially when I assumed that I would be on it. Worse, I had to take all of the final examinations of those P subjects. Huhuhu. 😦 I’m telling you, it wasn’t a nice feeling. There were times then when I would hear myself saying,

“Kung sanang ginalingan ko lang the past 6 exams, di ko sana itatake ito. Huhuhu. 😦 ”

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Finals mode.

You know, the usual thing we say every finals. So my advice is that, you work hard for these exemptions. You could see it as a goal for you to work on. Mind you, it really helps if you have one or two subjects less to worry about during finals week.

  1. Move on FAST

Every after exam, while your classmates are chatting over their answers on a certain number, yours wasn’t even mentioned. You now open up your transes or ipads and search for the correct answers. You start counting your mistakes. You cry because you now feel miserable. You start guessing your highest possible score. You cry a little more. Well, if you’re going to sulk over your mistakes in an earlier exam, you have to make it real quick. Since you now have exams every day, you have to make sure you are moving on fast. Or else, you would have lesser time to review the other subjects to be taken up the next day. In short,

“Yung iiiyak mo, iaral mo na lang. :(”

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What’s not to love about Pedia? Hello to the one who wrote this! 🙂

  1. Take care of your health

I’ve seen quite a lot of students who had gotten sick especially during exam week. There were facemasks everywhere, marked absences, and look that begs to have a good night sleep. Yeah, there are a lot of things that needs to be done but don’t forget to listen to your body. Because if you try to ignore things, stress will surely take its toll on your health later on.

  1. Reward yourself

This one is my favorite part when I’m trying to work on something – rewards! Eyes on the prize, baby! 🙂 It wouldn’t hurt to splurge once in a while especially if you know from the depths of your heart that you’ve worked hard for it. Then by all means, you clearly deserve it. It may be eating a food that you have always wanted to try or watching a series that you haven’t seen for ages. Whatever it is that you greatly desire, go for it. Practice delayed gratification and just reap those rewards later on without any hint of guilt. As for me, an episode or two of a good anime, an icy cold Coccio, and a good sleep are on my usual reward list. 🙂

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Try this if you still haven’t! 🙂 P.S. Not getting paid for this. Haha.

  1. Meet more people

I’m pretty sure you know your classmates upon seeing their faces. But if I ask you their name, would you be able to answer? Haha. 🙂 Make an effort to know more of your classmates. Don’t get too boxed up just because you already have your own clique and ergo, you don’t feel the need to reach out and interact with other people. Just be open to the possibilities of creating friendship anywhere or even in love, pwede rin. 

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Because someone brought a selfie stick 🙂

Personally, I was able to make more friends during the toxic month of March. We all came from both A1 and A2 and studying with them just made things much bearable. Knowing that you are not alone in the situation you are in is just comforting. Hello, Dysfunctional/Hugot Family! 🙂 Haha!

  1. Get involved

If you hadn’t joined any organizations or extra curricular events, this is the most apt year for you to do so. I’m very sure you have adjusted already in med school or maybe that’s just me assuming and squeezing in an org work will now be surely possible. So drop whatever’s holding you back and just go for it. I’ve always believed that if you love and enjoy what you are doing, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. During my second year, I pushed myself to pursue my other interests – volleyball and singing. I joined the WVT of UERM and was able to participate in Palarong Med last January.

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(c) Ayi Punsalan

I also joined the Carolfest last December along with my other classmates. On top of that, I also spearheaded some projects as IVP of AMSA-UERM. Was it hard? Well, yeah. That goes without a saying. But definitely no regrets. 🙂 Doing other things aside from studying for the exams will help you grow as an individual. 🙂

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(c) Sarah Chong

But of course, you don’t go and join all the orgs  or events that you find interesting. You have to choose your battle. Choose where you want to commit yourself to. And remember, you’re a med student first and foremost so studies must still be your utmost priority. 🙂

18. Have a support system

This one is very much important. You have to have people whom you are 100% sure that you can lean on, people who will support you not only on your glorious days but also during your frustrating lows. You have to identify them. They may be your family, friends, your significant other, or your mentor. Anyone. These people will play an important role in keeping you sane and grounded.

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And if it so happens that you don’t have one, find one. Create a genuine relationship with someone whom you can connect to or open up to without any reservations. Why? Because you have to. It’s really hard to just keep things all to yourself, especially when you’re in med school. You need to let them all out, once in a while. As for me, I can’t imagine going through med without my ever-supportive family and warm crazy friends. I remember during the 6th LE period last March, I was so stressed out and tired. Those days were just mentally and emotionally draining. I talked to my Mom over the phone on how much I missed being at home and all the real foods she makes. To my surprise, after two days, she and my sister dropped off some ulams in the condo. It was so heartwarming that I suddenly felt all charged for the rest of the succeeding exams. ❤ You see, having a support system who will always have your back will be very crucial in med school. So make sure you establish one. 🙂

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❤ these real foods!

  1. Find joy in the process

Whatever situation you are in, make sure that you find joy. It doesn’t have to come in boisterous laughter or in celebratory faces. It may be that still, quiet and contented feeling that you’d have at the end of the day <3. I remember one of my favorite professors back in college. She has always pointed out that the journey is way more important than the destination. So keep in mind that you are already in this road to MD. You have to be conscious about it.

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🙂

Remind yourself that you are already living the dream. And that whatever you are going through – encouraging or disheartening – it’s all part of the wonderful and rigorous process of being a physician.

  1. Endure

During my low and quiet times, I find myself asking this question,

“How much pain am I willing to endure?”

I’ll ask the same to you,

“How much pain are you willing to endure?”

Because, let’s face it, entering med school entails a lot of pain. The pain of being away from family. The pain of not being there for your kids. The pain of not being good enough. The pain of being rejected. The pain of a failure. We are living with all sorts of pain. How far are you willing to go through? How much of this pain are you willing to take to achieve your dreams?

I find myself answering,

“I don’t really know. But I’ll carry on.”

So let’s just keep enduring. We all know that it will be very much worth it in the end. 🙂

See you around! 🙂

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4 thoughts on “20 Tips for UERM Med Sophies

    • Hello, medstudent2019! Sorry, I can’t really tell since di ako nag Wheater’s. Most of the time Robbins lang reference ko. But I think it would also be good to have Wheater’s with you so that you can familiarize yourself with the specimen, along side with Robbins. Good luck! 🙂

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    • Hello! I bought Robbins and Bates. Then ebook na lang Harrisons. Sadly, di ko gaano nagamit si Robbins, nagrely ako mostly sa transes (which is supposedly not the case). Si Bates, nagamit ko talaga (extra helpful for undergrad courses that do not cover PE). Though honestly, naglalag madalas yung tablet ko dahil malaki yung file na Harrisons, haha. Pero I suggest you buy Harrisons na rin. Helpful siya especially during ICS. 🙂 But if you can survive with ebooks, ebooks na lang para tipid, since books are pricey. Meron ding stalls ng bookstore by first and second week ng schooling, you can just buy there for a discounted price. But if sa labas kayo bibili, just bring your id to have a discounted price. 🙂

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