I have officially been a medical student for one month and it honestly feels like its been way longer! School is crazy overwhelming with the amount of material we cover and all of mandatory sessions we have to attend. The saying that med school is like “drinking water out of a fire hydrant” is already very real, but the good news is that I passed my first exam!
I’ve already experienced a few ups and downs that are part of the learning curve of becoming a medical student. The hardest part so far has been trying to figure out how to study. It’s not that the stuff we are learning is incredibly difficult (yet), rather it’s the large volume of material. Before you are even done understanding a topic, there are three more lectures that need to be reviewed. Basically, med school is like undergrad on steroids. I have already changed my study methods to try and be more efficient and retain the material. I will talk a little bit about my study habits in another post once I find something that works! Also, it can be hard to find time to do other things without feeling guilty about not studying, but I try to schedule breaks and exercise when I can.
My favorite part has been our lectures where a patient comes in with their family to discuss their disease. Two weeks ago, we learned about the genetic basis of Down Syndrome and later that week a patient came in with his mom to discuss his experience with our class. We also learned about Phenylketonuria (PKU) -an enzyme deficiency where the amino acid phenylalanine cannot be converted to tyrosine- and two siblings and their dad shared their experience with our class. We were able to ask questions and it gave me a better idea of what a patient has to go through living with this disease. The cases reminded me why I love medicine; it can be easy to forget that there are real people with the diseases you are learning about when you’ve been studying for six hours straight. When I’m studying I always remind myself that a patient is a whole person, not just their disease.
Anyway, enough about med school. If anyone knows me, you know that I love to travel, so for Labor Day weekend I went to LA with my boyfriend and took full advantage of the 3-day weekend. We stayed at a hotel in West Hollywood and did all the “tourist things” most people do when they go to LA. Labor Day was also my boyfriend’s birthday so it worked out perfectly. Don’t let the photos in this post fool you though! I studied a few hours each day before going out and it worked out really well. Here are some highlights from my trip and places I think everyone should visit next time you’re in LA!
Runyon Canyon Park: Whether you are athletic or just want to take want to make it to the top to take beautiful pictures, Runyon Canyon is an awesome daytime activity to burn some extra calories after your meal at In-N-Out!
In-n-Out and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles: I can only judge In-N-Out on their fries and shakes since I don’t eat beef, but you can’t go wrong with the prices. My boyfriend said the burgers “weren’t too bad” lol. And can you really go to California and not go to Roscoe’s?! Overall, I give both a B-B+. If you end up going, let me know what you think of both restaurants!
Griffith Observatory: The Observatory has a great view of the city and the Hollywood sign. I highly recommend going closer to sunset just because it looks so beautiful.
OUE Skyspace: If you haven’t noticed by now, I love the views in Cali! Skyspace is an open-air observation deck, but this one is special because there’s a SLIDE aka Skyslide! Yes, a slide 1,000 feet in the air above the city. Here’s the link for anyone interested in purchasing tickets during their trip.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): This one is for the art lovers! Check out the museum and then take pictures with the iconic “Urban Light” sculpture by Chris Burden!
Santa Monica: I could not come to California and not at least see the Pacific Ocean, so we made a quick trip to Santa Monica. The weather was so beautiful that day.
That was pretty much the end of my trip. We had a good time, but it was time to go back to the realities of school and studying. We took a red-eye back home that Tuesday and I went straight to class. Overall, I had a great weekend and I’m already looking forward to my next trip!