Purely Positivitea: 2017

Med School-ing: 3 Quick Tips for Adulting While Med School-ing

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups. (urban dictionary)

Let’s face it, medical school obviously isn’t your standard 9-5. As a matter of fact, it can often feel like a 6am to 11pm! You’re in that #twentysomething category, but sometimes you feel like you’re stuck in this strange adult-like purgatory where you’re in the 18th grade while all of your friends climb their career ladders.

Even though you’re still a student, you’re now what they call an “adult learner,” which comes with lots of ~adult like~ responsibilities you probably didn’t have as an undergraduate! Unless you had a number of gap years before medical school, figuring out how to balance school and living an adult life can be quite the challenge when you’re getting started.

What can you do to get on the right track!? I've got you covered!

Budget, Budget, Budget: Money management is NO JOKE. If you’re on financial aid, most programs disburse your $$$ for living expenses twice per academic year, once at the very beginning and once more midway through. Since it’s such a large amount each time, it can be a recipe for disaster if you’re not careful. This is such an important section that this tip has some subtips coming your way!

·      Set aside your rent/utilities/car payment, etc: Running out of money for your rent and other important revolving payments would be stressful and is totally avoidable. I always multiply the payment by the number of months and set it aside in my savings account to avoid any mix ups. This way, I know I have it tucked away and I just transfer it each month when I’m ready to make a payment!
·      Work Those Numbers: With what you have left, decide how much you want to spend on groceries, gas, clothes, make-up, Netflix, the gym, and other daily expenses. It would be wise to set aside some “savings” for a rainy day because you never know what may come up! I track some things on a weekly basis (ex: $40 per week on groceries) and others on a monthly basis (ex: $5 /month for Apple Music).
·      Keep Track: The apps that are available these days make keeping track so much easier! The most popular one seems to be Mint, but I’ve really taken a liking to an app called Daily Budget. I’ve discovered that I’m really bad at setting and sticking to discrete amounts of money for categories like clothes, entertainment, and eating out. With Daily Budget, I can input the total I’m able to spend each month and my important recurring charges such as rent. It takes the remaining funds and divides it amongst the number of days in the month to give you a “daily budget”. If you don’t spend your full “budget” for the day, it rolls over to the next day and continues to do so throughout the month. I like it because it’s a more realistic view of my spending and I can easily balance the times I spend very little with the times I spend more.
·      Practice Good Spending Habits: Instead of buying coffee every day, make your own. Meal prep/Cook at home. Make a grocery list. Buy your toiletries in bulk. Avoid impulse buys. All of these little things will save you money over time!

Plan Ahead: Use your calendar! Med school is chock full of lectures, labs, interest group meetings, and more. When you have to schedule meetings, (your own o__0) doctor’s appointments, oil changes, or time off for your best friend’s wedding, your life will be so much easier if you keep track of everything in a calendar. I also put in alerts for my bills and credit card payment deadlines so I never forget them! Double booking something or missing a payment is no fun, but it is so easy to stay on track with a calendar! Make your life even easier by using one that syncs across your phone, computer, and tablet!

Take care of yourself: There will be easy days and there will be really hard days. It is so important to recognize that taking care of yourself is just as important as your academics/adulting at any given point. Take breaks. Naps are still a thing. Practice some serious #selfcare. Your mind and your body will thank you!

How do you balance adulting with med school-ing?

Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl Recipe

I have been eyeing these buddha bowls on Pinterest for some time and I finally decided to go for it and make one. I'm one of those people who loves eating out of bowls just because (can't explain it lol), so this was perfect for me! It's basically a bowl filled with plant based goodness and a great idea for #MeatLessMondays! I couldn't find a recipe that was 100% right for me, so I just roasted a bunch of veggies with my favorite seasonings and threw it together. It ended up being super tasty and filling! This recipe makes 5 Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowls aka HELLOOOOOOO MEAL PREP :D I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

(Be forewarned, I'm no professional food blogger so recipes are structured casually and my measurements are often "to taste," because that's how I do it! lol I certainly don't have this thing down to a science, but I want to share manageable, healthy things I cook with others!)


-Two Large Sweet Potatoes
-Brussels Sprouts
-Two Heads of Broccoli
-Cauliflower rice (I used a bag of Trader Joe's Frozen Cauli Rice)
-1 Can of Organic Chickpeas
-Baby Spinach 

Seasonings By Vegetable
Sweet Potatoes: Trader Joes' 21 Seasoning Salute, Garlic Powder, and Chilli Powder
Chickpeas: Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Salt, & Pepper
Brussels Sprouts: Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic, and Pepper
Cauliflower Rice: Tumeric and Black Pepper
Broccoli: Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Salt, and Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450°
2. Wash all of the vegetables and drain/rinse the can of chickpeas.  
3. Dice the sweet potatoes, clean and cut the brussels sprouts in half, and cut the broccoli florets.
4. For the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, toss with olive oil and the seasonings listed above. 
5. Place sweet potatoes on separate baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes. 
6. The other vegetables can be roasted together for 20-25 minutes. (Depending on the size of your sheets, you may need multiple! I needed two).
7. Sautee the cauliflower rice with the tumeric and black pepper. 
8. Once everything is done, place a bed of baby spinach at the bottom of a bowl and top with all of the yummy roasted veggies! 
9. Optional add ons: Avocado (take it from me & do it!!!), Trader Joe's Cilantro Dressing, and/or Sriricacha. 
10. Enjoy!

How do you like to make your Buddha bowls?

MS1✓ & Medical Student Tag

I have officially completed my first year of medical school! It is seriously unreal how quickly the time flew by. It's cliche but, it feels like it was just yesterday that I hopped on a plane with a one way ticket from NY to CA, two suitcases, and no idea what to expect. Fast forward 10 short months and I can't even begin to tell you how much I've learned (!!!), grown, and experienced. 

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks and as I reflect, I can truly say that 23 has been the best year of my life. Starting medical school has been on my mind ever since I dreamed up the idea of becoming a physician when I was very young. It feels like I have been living the dream, my dream every day and I couldn't be more grateful. What an honor and a privilege it is to pursue this path. 

 I'd like to give a special shout out to all to the people who have supported me and believed in me throughout all of these years (special s/o to you, Mom & Dad I know you're reading lololll). THANK YOU! I would of course be remised if I didn't thank all of you for following along and sharing this journey with me. When I started blogging, I never expected to become a part of such an inspiring and supportive community. It's been truly amazing and I'm looking forward to what this summer, MS2, and beyond has in store!

To mark the end of MS1, I wanted to participate in this fun Medical Student Tag shared by Trisha over at Three Thousand Miles Blog (check her gorgeous blog out)! I tagged some other amazing med student blogs in my instagram post to keep it going. I hope you enjoy it! 

Who are you and where do you study? My name is Shanice and I study medicine in the beautiful state of California! 

When did you start studying medicine or premed courses? I was premed all throughout college. I was one of those weird "always wanted to be a doctor" kids hahaa There were certainly times in undergrad where I questioned being premed, especially when I was faced with challenges that made me feel inadequate. But, when I explored other fields, it always came back full circle to medicine. With the right combination of support and determination, I pushed pushed through, overcame those feelings, and achieved my goals. 

What made you choose the medical field? My initial interest came about at a young age because my mom is a nurse. Whenever I was asked that “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question, the answer was always that I wanted to be a doctor. At the time, I think I was more interested in the cool stethoscope or my "doctor" toy kit, but my later experiences are what solidified my decision to pursue the medical field. I chose medicine because I believe that health is the most fundamental human necessity and the health disparities that currently exist are unethical and preventable. As a physician, I believe I can play a (at least a small) role in righting some of the wrongs in our healthcare system and giving people the treatment they deserve. 

How did you come up with your blog name/username? Welllllll, I love (& by love I mean I'm utterly obsessed with) tea & I really wanted to create a place of good vibes/energy. The play on words with positivi"tea" was perfect for me and tbh, purely just rhymed to complete it! 

How would you describe your blog? It's my getaway! I love having this as a creative outlet and I try not to take it too seriously, which is why I pretty much post what I want (from food to med school) and when I can (if I'm busy, there's no stress about posting a certain number of times per month or anything like that).  If I manage to help a few people along the way, all the better!

What’s your favorite quote? "A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence." -James Watkins 

Best memory in medical school? This is a toughie! If I absolutely had to pick one stand out for now, it would be the moment my parents helped me into my white coat at the white coat ceremony

What’s one course you struggled with? Neuro was tough! Our neuro block was 5 weeks long and I had no exposure prior to starting, so learning all of that information was a massive undertaking. There were times that I thought it would never come together, but luckily it did in the end!

What’s your favorite book? Hmm, I don't think I have an all time favorite book. I'd say my favorite recent(ish) read is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

What do you do in your free time? My absolute favorite thing to do is cook! I love finding new recipes, going grocery shopping for them, and whipping them up in the kitchen! I also blog, insta (probs more than I should), chronically window shop online, watch TV, and other normal/not so exciting things. 

What do you want to major or specialize in? Not too sure right now! Keeping an open mind :)

Who do you look up to? My parents! They both grew up in impoverished, rural Jamaica, then immigrated to this country, made a life, and gave us so much. I am in awe of all that they have been through and they are my BIGGEST sources of support. I hope to be half the parents and people they are someday. 

How do you study (productively)? Allow me to point ya in the right direction -> How To Study Actively

How do you stay motivated in medical school? I stay motivated by taking whatever opportunity I can to interact with real patients. It can me so easy to get lost in mountains of powerpoints and forget why you even started medical school and what your end goal is. Talking to patients and getting to know them reminds me of why I'm in this and gives me the push I need to keep moving forward. 

What are your best tips for future medical students? Get excited! This is going to be hard, but it's going to be worth it. There's a million learning styles and resources out there. Find what works for YOU. Stay inspired. Make time. For yourself, for your family, for your non-medically related hobbies. Never ever neglect your own self care. Sometimes you'll need to study all day. Sometimes you'll need a study-free day. If you need help, ask for it & ask for it early. You've worked hard to get to medical school. This is not a mistake or luck, you belong here. 

Nut Butter Overnight Oats Recipe

I know I'm not the only one that has reached the bottom of a nut butter jar and felt a pang of sadness one, because I love the stuff and two, because it's actually pretty expensive! #thatstudentbudgetthough It's just so good! I'm typically an almond butter kind of gal, but I recently picked up this mixed nut butter from Trader Joe's and it is ah-mazing! Instead of committing to single nut, I get a mixture of dry and roasted almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nut, hazelnuts, and pecans in this bad boy! Why have one when you can have em all!?

I had been toying with the idea of making overnight oats for a while, but never got around to it because the idea of cold oatmeal didn't sound too appealing to me. I knew you could warm them, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of quick, on the go breakfast! Well, I finally decided to go for it with this near empty jar of goodness!


- 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1 Tbsp plain Greek Yogurt (extra creaminess & protein!)
- A Dash of Cinnamon and Brown Sugar (optional)
- Topping: Sliced banana (& whatever else you want! :D)

Easy! Mix all of the ingredients in the jar and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add the toppings and enjoy! You can even make batches and store them in the fridge for up to a week.

I can't believe I took so long to make this because I ended up LOVING it and there are 3 mason jars full of overnight oats in my refrigerator right now! #converted It was creamy, filling, and the nut butter totally set it off! I'm not a huge breakfast person, but the taste, satiety, and convenience of overnight oats has me hooked. 

One of the greatest things about overnight oats is that they are SUPER customizable. Make it yours! Add, take away, or totally flip what I included in the recipe. Other ideas for toppings include strawberries, flax seeds, walnuts, and more. How do you like your overnight oats?

Maevn Scrubs Review

Any medical student or health professional will tell you that getting new scrubs is like opening a present on your birthday! Is it nerdy? Yes. Can we help it? No. Do we want to be helped? DEF not! Naturally, when I saw that Maevn Uniforms was giving away 1,000 free scrubs for their #MaevnMarchMadness giveaway, I entered right away! I was lucky enough to get my first choice, a set from their Eon collection in black (I've always wanted black scrubs for some weird reason) and they arrived quickly thereafter. 

I just started wearing them and I am loving them! I always joke that scrubs are socially acceptable pajamas, but these fit more like comfortable athletic wear. The material is clearly high quality and durable, yet it is soft and light weight. In fact, they're so light weight that the 10 minute walk to class in the 75° California sun didn't burn me up even though I was wearing all black! It reminds me of some the expensive, moisture wicking apparel you can buy for the gym. 

I have to say, the waist band is EVERYTHING! I feel like a lot of scrub brands attempt "style" and it just ends up coming across as quite literally a (failed) stylish attempt at scrubs (high necks, buttons, etc I've seen it all lol). These are about as chic as scrubs can get and with the number of pockets available, they haven't lost their utility at all. I also really like that there is a drawstring even though there is a waistband so I can adjust it to my waist size. 

In addition to comfort and utility, one thing I always look for in scrubs is length. I'm 5'9'' and I've suffered the plight of having my ankles out #floodready in many a set of scrubs. I was super excited when I found out that Maevn carries their scrubs in tall sizes, and they fit me perfectly! As a HUGE plus, the tag also states they are wash and wear ready without needing to steam or iron. I haven't put them through a cycle yet, but this would seriously be a life changer (no one wants crushed scrubs!) and I'll be sure to report back to ya!

All in all, these scrubs are fantastic and I'd highly recommend them. They hit all of the check boxes for comfort, style, and utility. Our school issued scrubs are too short for me and the texture of news paper, so I'm feeling pretty lucky to have gotten these. I can't wait to keep wearing them! 

P.S. If you wanna know how I made the matcha that made an appearance in this last picture (it's in one of those to go tumblers!), head on over to that post here<3

Med School-ing: Note taking? Flashcards? Apps?

One of the most common questions I get from incoming students is "What do you use for ______?" I leave the blank open because there's a lot to cover in medical school and millions more resources, so it can be difficult to find what is most useful for you. I'm going to use this post to detail what works for me and I'll include a few things that have worked for my friends as well so that you can explore!

What do you use for note taking?
I use Microsoft One Note for my note taking. I like it because I can have everything in one place, but keep it very organized. For example, I'm able to import lecture power points in as PDFs so that I can annotate them during class (I use an iPad Pro & and Apple Pencil, that's why the handwriting looks so realistic! I'll post more about it at another time then link it here), but I can also write/draw freehand on what looks like looseleaf paper or highlight text from assigned readings. It's helpful because I don't have to click through a bunch of folders with files to find what I am looking for. You can also your handy dandy command F if you're looking for something really minute across a bunch of weeks.

I make a new "notebook" for each block and organize it into two sections, which may or may not work for you depending on your program! In the first section, I put tabs for labs, PBL, and things like histo and anatomy.

Then, I make an expandable "notes" tab for my day to day lecture notes (see above).

Microsoft One Note automatically backs up your notebooks online which is a HUGE stress reliever, especially if you get hit with unexpected computer problems. I think that the only real downside of One Note is that the free cloud storage runs out really quickly and you have to pay extra mooola for more. It's really affordable at $1.99 per month, so it's not the worst thing in the world, but it'd be great if there was more free storage!

Others use:
-Notability (iOS app)
-Microsoft PPT & Microsoft Word
-Google Docs
-Good old fashioned paper & pencil

What do you use for flashcards?
I LOVE Anki. I'll have to admit, it was super intimidating when I first downloaded it because the interface is not user friendly at all! I really liked the idea of spaced repetition for learning (which is how anki's software works), so I decided to give it a try. On the advice of an MS2, I searched up "Anki for Medical Students" on youtube and watched a few short videos to get started. Once you grasp the basics, it's actually really easy to use! I'm so happy that I gave Anki a try and it has been a staple for me ever since. Depending on interest, I could always post a short/sweet tutorial here on the blog, let me know!

Others use: 
-Regular Flashcards

What apps do you use?
If I try to explain each of them, we'll be here all day so I'll just list a few! These are all for iOS, but I'm sure some should be available on other systems too.

-Essential Anatomy 5 (3D interactive model that makes frequent appearances in my instagram story hahaa useful for class!)
-Epocrates (useful for pharmacology)
-Prognosis (nerdy medical game, but super fun & educational!)
-Flat Tomato (for pomodoro/tomato timing!)
-Pinterest (welp ya know, a girls gotta find meal prep inspo somewhere!)

What question bank/supplemental system do you use?
As a first year, there will be product after product thrown at you, "group" deals for your school, and other things like that. I managed to resist the temptation this year and I'm glad that I did. I'm definitely not downing anyone who has used products or services, but I'm acknowledging that it can be a lot of pressure to get every single thing (especially when it seems like everyone else is!) and the costs can add up quickly. When considering a product, always remember that it depends on what kind of learner you are and most services have a free trial, so try that first! Additionally, there is no magic bullet that will guarantee your success, so be weary of products that promise too much. I know that there are certain things I will be getting during second year to prep for STEP 1, but I haven't found that I needed anything supplemental for first year.

What are some _______ that YOU use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at the end of the post which just means that if you shop through one of the links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale :)

Matcha Green Tea, What's the Big Deal?

You've seen it on instagram, at starbucks, on people's snapchats, and your mom is asking you about it. Everyone is drinking it and everyone's talking about it, but what is it and what's the big deal?!

Friends, allow me to introduce (or reintroduce) you to MATCHA GREEN TEA 🙌🏾

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which just means that if you shop through one of the links on this page, I will receive a small percentage of the sale :)

What's Matcha?
Unlike your run of the mill tea bag or loose leaf tea, matcha green tea is actually a finely ground powder. Matcha originated as a Japanese ceremonial staple. Matcha grown in an intensive process that includes shade growing to increase the beneficial properties of the leaves. When it's time to harvest, only the highest quality matcha tea leaves are taken and stone ground until they make a fine, bright green powder. Most commercially available matcha is not ceremonial grade (& ceremonial matcha is very expensive/sacred!), but if you're careful about what you buy, it can be really good for you! 

Why is it So Bomb?
It's already been well documented in the literature that green tea has amazing health benefits from its antioxidants to its anti inflammatory effects and metabolic properties (1). Matcha has all of these benefits and then some! Time to drop some science on ya & I'll be sure to cite the references at the end.

When I first started drinking matcha, I discovered that the caffeine content gave me the alertness/clarity of coffee without the jitters or the crash after. This was a huge game changer for me because I was experiencing some test anxiety in undergrad and the coffee I would drink while studying did not help! As it turns out, matcha contains a compound called L-Theanine, which increases the frequency of alpha waves in your brain (2). Alpha waves promote a focused and alert, yet relaxed state of mind and reduces feelings of anxiety that often come with coffee (3). If you're interested in the more nitty gritty details (aka the EEGs that were done & how GABA is involved, yay neuro?), check out the reference!  

Where Can I Get It?
I mentioned being careful about what you buy earlier because some "matcha" products have a ton of added sugar and fillers. Love ya Trader Joe's, but I gotta call you out on this one. I got my first batch of matcha from a local Japanese market. It's not unusual to get a super tiny container for $10+. You get what you pay for! That container didn't last me long enough, so I searched online next. I ended up getting it from a company called Nutri Vita Shop (not spon) and I really like it! I'd definitely get it from there again. It's also sold at Whole Foods and I linked a few products from Amazon at the end of this too! 

How Can I Make It?
The best part about Matcha is that it's super easy to make! My personal favorite way to have it is as an iced latte!

Iced Latte
Just blend  8-12oz of your choice of milk (almond, soy, coconut, etc) with one heaping scoop of matcha and sweeter of your choice (optional), then pour over ice!

Hot Latte*
Simmer 8-12oz of your choice of choice of milk (almond, soy, coconut, etc) on low until it is hot, but not boiling. Combine it in the blender with one heaping scoop of matcha and sweeter of your choice (optional). Blend, pour into a mug, and enjoy!

Hot Tea*
Gently heat 8-12 oz of water on low until it is hot, but not boiling. Blend with one heaping scoop of matcha and as with the other methods, you can add sweeter of your choice. Cinnamon is also a really great addition!

Add It To Your Smoothie
#LifeHackAlert, I add matcha to my regular smoothies all of the time! It gives you an extra boost where you'd least expect it!

*Sidenote for the hot methods, be careful! If your blender is glass, make sure the liquid you pour in is not TOO hot. If your blender is plastic, you should switch around the heating and blending steps (blend first, heat after). 

Have you tried matcha? What's your favorite way to have it?

1. Chacko SM, Thambi PT, Kuttan R, Nishigaki I. Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review. Chin Med. 2010;5:13.
2. . Mason R. 200 mg of Zen: L-Theanine Boosts Alpha Waves, Promotes Alert Relaxation. Altern Compliment Ther. 2001;7(2):91-96.
3. Higashiyama A, Htay HH, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Kapoor MP. Effects of l-theanine on attention and reaction time response. J Funct Foods. 2011;3(3):171-178. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2011.03.009.

NOTE: The information found in this post does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a physician with questions concerning your health and prior to making any health decisions.