8 questions with a second-year medical student

Amanda Xi, a second-year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) and part of its inaugural class, took some time to answer some questions about her medical school experiences and what she’s looking forward to from year two.

Along with her medical schooling, Amanda is an active blogger, who shares her medical school experience with others.

Can you sum up your first year in medical school in 2-3 sentences?
My first year (M1) at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine was made up of studying, thought provoking clinical exposure and enjoying my (limited) free time with family, friends and classmates. Being part of the inaugural class made the year extra special because the 50 of us were the only students at OUWB; we were responsible for chartering student organizations,assisting with LCME accreditation and providing feedback to improve the school for future classes.

What expectations do you have for year two?
I expect the second year (M2) to be a more challenging version of the M1 year, because we have our Step 1 board examination at the end of it. Performance on this exam strongly influences our options for specialties in the future, so there’s quite a bit of pressure to do well. Moreover, I look forward to more clinical experiences and applying what I learned in class to patients.

What was your most memorable moment of your first year at OUWB?
My most memorable moment was when I saw a patient for the first time (with a preceptor). We were responsible for determining why she was in the hospital and collect vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, etc), but this is easier said than done. When I went to put the blood pressure cuff around the patient’s arm, I was so nervous that I ended up putting it on backwards! I still chuckle when I think aboutit.

What do you like best about OUWB?
The OUWB community – our entire school is extremely supportive. Our entire class shares tips and tricks that we stumbled upon while studying as well as friendly reminders for upcoming assignments and events. Faculty and staff are always available to explain difficult material. Administration is always around, ready to listen and act on our suggestions. The sense of kinship was one of the main reasons I chose OUWB over my other options for medical school.

What TV hospital show is most like your medical experience?
Thus far, I’d say that NY Med is the most realistic view of my clinical experience. However, they really take out a lot of the uneventful – but realistic – scenes such as maneuvering through the electronic medical record, reading and catching up on patients’ medical histories, teaching medical students, residents and fellows and the physical examination. Although resuscitating patients and elaborate surgeries are important facets of the medical profession, these procedures do not make up the bulk of what most physicians do.

I still keep up with Grey’s Anatomy, but it isn’t very realistic (I don’t know how a hospital would run at all if there was that much drama!). On the other hand, since starting medical school, I get really excited when I can understand the medical jargon used in the show.

What advice do you have for the first year students?
Find the right balance of studying, extracurricular activities, staying healthy and maintaining supportive relationships. It may take a few weeks, months or even the entire year, but once you find your equilibrium, medical school becomes much more rewarding. Also, enjoy first year as much as possible – every subsequent year of medical training is more difficult than the last.

What experience from your first year would you like to forget?
I am a firm believer in trying not to forget anything because experiences and reflection contribute to personal growth and maturity. In fact, I started blogging in order to document the ups and downs that will inevitably shape my future as a physician.

You can follow Amanda’s blog here.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Medical training is tough – mentally, emotionally and physically – but it is completely worth it.

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