Sunday, April 30, 2017

last post

April community service hours: 18 hours
Spring Semester total community service hours: 36 hours
2016-2017 Academic year total community service hours: 68 hours

This past month, I volunteered with the American Red Cross, Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), and Second Harvest Food bank. Yesterday for the Red Cross, I volunteered at their Volunteer Recognition Event by working the front table and helping wherever it was needed. I also began volunteering at ARNO this month, where I walked dogs, cleaned cages, and changed litter boxes. I went and helped out there a few times this month, and had to resist the urge to adopt three animals each time. For Second Harvest, I sorted non-perishable food items as they came down a conveyer belt.

Academically, this month was rather light, which is why I was able to volunteer so much. I had to present a few times for Advances in Cardiobiology, Advances in Pharmacology, and Endocrine Pharmacology, but we only had one exam. I’m very pleased with my academic performance this past semester, and hope I can carry it on to medical school. Applications for medical school open tomorrow, so I’ll be using the month of May to work on them and submit them ASAP. I’ll also be continuing my research with Dr. Mondal this month and potentially in the summer.

I can't believe we're actually done with the seems like we just started. This year has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. The program was very challenging, but I found the material to be extremely interesting and practical. I feel like it definitely prepared me for medical school and gave me an idea of what classes in medical school are like. I'll without a doubt have a leg up on my med school classmates. I’ve also made amazing friends in the program and got to know and work alongside my professors, which was an added plus.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Final countdown

March was very eventful in terms of academics. We had our cumulative shelf exam in med pharm. Dr. Clarkson pulled questions from the NBME that covered drugs and concepts we learned throughout the year. I actually really enjoyed studying for the shelf because it made me appreciate just how much information we learned over the past year. It's crazy to me that med pharm is actually over. We also took our final principles exam this month. So basically, the only classes we're still taking are Advances in Pharmacology, Endocrine Pharmacology, Advances in Cardiobiology, and Environmental Pharmacology. I only have two presentations and one exam left and then it's over.

Because of the shelf exam, I wasn't able to complete any service hours this month. However, I have spoken to Second Harvest Food Bank and have set up a few days next month to go in and help wherever needed.

Research is going really well also. Mythili (my lab partner) and I had a meeting with Dr. Mondal and discussed which direction we should take our experiments. We were also moved to a new lab, so we spent a day cleaning and restocking it. I can't wait to begin our experiments in the new lab in the next week.

The year truly did fly by and I couldn't have asked for anything more out of this program. I not only learned a lot about pharmacology, but I also learned a lot about myself, and made some great friends along the way.

Tota completed hours: 18 hours

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Time to study for the shelf...

For such a short month, February was very eventful. At the beginning of the month, a devastating tornado touched down in New Orleans East. A group of classmates and I volunteered with the Red Cross to do damage assessment in the area. We split up in pairs and were assigned to specific blocks in the area and assessed each house for damage caused by the storm, recording everything we saw. It was crazy because some of the blocks we went to looked untouched while others were completely destroyed. I'm glad we were able to help in some way. 

In terms of academics, we covered a number of new topics this past month, including psychopharmacology, toxicology, reproductive pharm, and endocrine pharm. We are now finished with principles and med pharm (other than the shelf exam). It's insane that we're already done with these classes, because I feel like we just started the program.

total hours completed: 18 hours 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Year, New Experiences

I know I say this practically every month, but I don't understand how this month went by so quickly. It seems like we just returned from Christmas break. I did well academically last semester, but hope to do even better in the upcoming semester. Some friends have told me about an app called Anki, which allows you to make and study flashcards. I've used it for the first block exam of the semester and ended up doing very well so I'm definitely going to continue to use it.

We've gone through our CNS/Neurology block and are currently in our Psychopharmacology block. For the CNS/Neurology block, we participated in a SIM exercise without the medical students. It was a really cool experience, and I liked that it was just us because we were more willing to participate. We have our Psychopharmacology block exam this coming Monday. Today, a patient suffering from mental illness came to our Med Pharm class and spoke to us openly about her experiences. Listening to her story was incredibly inspiring and I'm so appreciative that we were able to learn from it.

I've presented for both our Advances in Pharmacology course as well as our Endocrine Pharmacology course. Both presentations went very well and I'm definitely becoming more comfortable with speaking in front of the class.

In terms of service, I am currently working with a new non-profit here in town called the Residency Awareness Resource Empowerment Foundation (RARE). The mission of this organization is to reduce the incidence and minimize the impact of domestic and sexual abuse in New Orleans by directing victims to appropriate, effective programs and services. I am in the process of designing a website for this organization, and look forward to helping as much as I can. I haven't been able to help out at Sci High this month because of my involvement with RARE, but I definitely plan on returning in February.

Total hours completed: 6 hours

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On to December

During the month of November, I was able to volunteer quite a bit. On the first weekend of the month, I volunteered at the International Food Festival hosted by St. Basil's church in Metairie. I wanted to immerse myself in the different cultures that are present in this diverse city. Upon arrival, I was put to work on the saj, a concave dome that heats up to a uniform temperature used in Lebanese cuisine. I was taught how to make Lebanese bread from scratch, and to my delight, it became a crowd favorite. I have attached a picture of me preparing the bread below. After a long day's work, a Mediterranean band performed and we learned the traditional dances of various cultures. It was a lot of fun!

I was able to volunteer a few times at Sci High towards the beginning of the month, which was also a lot of fun. I love being able to get to know the kids better and help them as best as I can. Sci High is now offering Saturday tutoring and I'm very excited to get involved. Later in the month, Dr. Beckman hosted a wonderful dinner for the students volunteering at Sci High, where we discussed the program and any improvements that could be made. 

School is going very well. My new study techniques that I experimented with last month are definitely working for me. Our current block is the GI block which I'm very excited about because my father is a gastroenterologist and I've grown up hearing a lot of the drug names that we're currently learning. 

Total hours completed: 32 hours

Monday, October 31, 2016

Where did October go?

It's crazy how quickly time is moving. I feel like October 1st was only a week ago, but yet here we are, 2 block exams later. We started the month in the CV block, which was worth a large percentage of our grade for Med Pharm. We attended our first SIM session with second year medical students and it was incredible. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, and was a bit intimidated by the fact that there were 3 masters students and about 20 medical students per session. We went into a large "hospital" room with a plastic man on the table. Dr. Clarkson was the voice of the patient, and I was shocked to see how realistic the situation appeared. The professor leading the session asked a series of questions on which drugs to use for the current condition the patient was in, and the masters students were stealing the show. It was awesome and I can't wait to attend another SIM session.
We are currently in the renal block and have our exams tomorrow. I'm pretty confident that I know the necessary information but I guess time will tell. I took a different approach to studying this time around and I hope it works! A new class was added this block called Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology and the information we have learned so far is very interesting. I'm eager to see what other topics we'll cover in the upcoming months. 

I volunteered at Sci High a few times this month for a total of 8 hours. I wasn't able to go as often as I'd hoped, but I'm really enjoying interacting with the kids and getting to know them better. I came the day before the exam, so we played an exam review game. The kids would work in teams and answer problems that their teacher gave them. If they got the answer right, they got to shoot a basketball for additional points. I walked around the room while they worked out the problems and helped them if they were stuck on a problem. I'm excited to continue volunteering there in the upcoming months.

Total hours completed: 17 hours

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sci High begins

In terms of academics, this month has been quite challenging. We are moving through a lot of difficult material very quickly, but I really enjoy the subject matter and am learning many new concepts. In about a week we have our next block exam, which is worth a large percentage of our grade so I have been vigorously studying in preparation for it. 

In our Advances in Pharmacology class, my group presented on orthostatic hypotension. I was honestly very nervous about presenting in front of the class, but my group worked together extremely well. We learned a lot on the subject and were able to give a thorough presentation. 

We also had our first team based learning exercise on ANS pharmacology. During the session, we took a quiz individually, then took the same quiz as a group, and finally answered a few questions as a group. Solving these challenging problems in a group setting really helped me better understand the material and think of the problems in new ways. Studying for the TBL also helped me begin my preparation for the exam. 

Also this month, I began volunteering at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School, also known as Sci High. The teacher I work with, Ms. Goldmann, teaches geometry and has a "flipped classroom". This means that her students watch videos at home and spend their class time working on problems and asking questions. I walk around answering any questions that they have and am also available to tutor them privately, if needed. I've loved the time I've spent there already, and really enjoy working with the kids. I'm really exited to get to know them better and continue working with them throughout the year. 

Total hours completed: 9 hours