Purely Positivitea: March 2017

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. 

Med School-ing: How to Study Actively

When you start medical school, one of the things you'll hear a million times is "the way you studied in undergrad won't work here." That statement is not ALL true. You were obviously doing something right this whole time if you've made it this far. However, there will be adjustments to make! With so much info coming your way (the old fire hydrant lololll), you'll want to study in a way that will help you to truly learn the material instead of attempting to memorize it. Passive learning (just reading the textbook, rewriting notes, etc) is the enemy in medical school because it leads to recognition instead of recall, and you need the latter to succeed. Finding ways to study actively aids recall, is more time effective, and will make you a happier medical student! There are way more strategies out there than the ones I'll share, but these are my favorite ways to study actively and they should help you get started!

 Identify Your Learning Style
The first key to success is to figure out how you're able to learn best! Once you identify the way that you process information, you can tailor your studying to max out on your strengths. I'm an audio/visual learner, so I do best when I can incorporate youtube videos and draw things out. That's just me, but if you happen to be kinesthetic learner for example, there are other strategies that may work better for you. I was able to take an assessment through the Learning Skills Office in my undergrad to figure this out, but there are a lot of free quizzes online! You may want to give one of these a try 1, 2

② Blank Paging
This could also be called "Blank Boarding" if you decide to use a dry erase board. Basically, you take a blank sheet of paper (or a blank board!) and write a main idea on top or in the middle of it. Then, without referring to any outside material, you write as much as you possibly can about that topic on the paper. It's not meant to be pretty, but it forces you to recall processes, facts, and connections cold in the same way you would have to on a test. It also helps you to identify what material you just recognize instead of really knowing it. After you've written and drawn everything that you can on the paper, you can refer to your materials and fill in any gaps in your knowledge. Ideally, you should blank page the same topic again in the near future to make sure you don't forget any of the same things again! Here's an example of a blank page that I did then filled in from Block 1!

③ Write Your Own Questions
Sometimes the best way to get prepared for a test is to think like a test maker! I write questions to get the main points out of a lecture and to make sure I can answer all of the learning objectives without referring to any additional material. Writing questions can be as simple as restating the learning objectives in question format or as complex as coming up with your own clinical vignettes. I keep it pretty simple and even though I haven't had a question I've written come up on an exam verbatim, I've been tested on the exact concepts or ideas from my questions many times! Below you'll find a few sample q's from a metabolism lecture in Block 3. When I'm reviewing for the final, I'm able to copy a blank page with the questions to make sure I can still answer them!

④ Work in Groups
For all you independent studiers out there, I sympathize with you because I am one of you LOL However, studying in a group (if you find the right one) can be extremely beneficial to you! I don't do group study all of the time because I need to study on my own first before getting into a group, but when I do, it works really well! It's okay to mix it up sometimes and there's no need to solely independent study or solely group study. What's great about working in a group is that everyone has different strengths and can teach them to everyone else. Not only is it helpful for the people learning, it's helpful for the person teaching (ever heard of see one, do one, teach one!?) because it really solidifies that you have an understanding of the concept. One thing we did was write topics, structures, factors, and key words for the exam on strips of paper, put them in a container and pulled them at random. The person who pulled it would try to explain it first then others could add in. Other groups would assign topics from the week and each person was responsible for teaching a topic to the group. I also fond it very helpful to work on cases (ex: the ones from Costanzo) in groups because the discussion always went beyond the written answer rationale. 


These tips are not all inclusive, but I hope they get you started while you figure out how to study actively in medical school! What tips and tricks do you use? Comment below!

New Series Alert! (+ a quick life update)

I know I've been MAJORLY slacking on blogging (side eye @ Block 3), so I'm going to make it up to ya by launching a new blog series called "Med School-ing!!" Think of this series as an intro/crash course in some of the basics of medical school.

It's that time of year where many people have cleared the hurdle of getting into med school and are deciding on where they'll spend they next four years. I remember when I was in that position and as the reality of it began to settle in, I began scouring the web on the most random med school related things out of excitement (which is actually part of the reason I fell into the med IG community and ended up started this blog)! I'll include the things I wish I knew, what I learned from others, and of course, what I've learned along the way in year one so far. I'm also taking requests, so if there's anything in particular you'd like to see, leave a comment below! The first post will launch this Wednesday! :D

As for quick life updates, here's a few firsts & favorite IG posts from the last few months.

-first preceptorship assignment
-first med school prom
-first time learning suturing
-first time in the SIM lab
-first french press
-first time doing a paint & sip
-first time studying at the beach in the "winter"
-first time shadowing an ENT physician
-first time doing chaplain rounds
-first time ice skating in California
-first time going to a silent disco