I was invited to join in on this tag from a fellow blogger and I am sooo excited to allow my followers and readers (old & new) to get to know a little bit more about me; so, I hope you enjoy reading these fun facts about me as much as I enjoyed answering them!
Who are you and where do you study?
My name is Ashley and I am a first-year medical student (M1) at Ross University Medical School in Dominica; a beautiful Caribbean island in the West Indies
When did you start studying medicine or pre-med courses?
I entered into my first semester/first year as a medical student just recently; January 2017. Prior to that, I did an academically intense medically school prep program through Ross University in Miramar, FL from August 2016-November 2016.
What made you choose the medical field?
I truly committed to pursuing medicine around age 15. Prior to that I would say I wanted to be a doctor but I mean what kid didn’t say that (or a lawyer, dancer, singer or football player 😊). I realized that I really enjoy helping people at some of their most vulnerable times. As I got older, I began to realize that I could not find enjoyment in any other field because I always felt I was limited in what I can do and that was a problem because I was interested in almost everything.
Medicine seemed to be the only career which would give me the opportunity to practice my love for all areas of learning and education. Where I look to teach, I get to teach my patients about the importance of primary and preventative health care, where I look to engage in research, medicine offers a plethora of areas desperate for hunger minds to answer ground breaking medical questions, where I look to be a shoulder to lean on and never forget the importance of mental health, I get to build lasting relationships and connection with my patients, understand their stories and care for the person as a whole, not just the disease and where I look to indulge in my love for science, I will forever be surrounded by the field I love each and every day and this is why I chose medicine!
How did you come up with your blog name/username?
Survivor: Caribbean Med Student came from belief that I would be going to medical school on an island and I literally would have to learn to survive; survive medical school, survive island life, survive the distance away from my daughter and family and survive one of the most challenging journeys I would ever face in life. I truly believe that medical school is meant to change you in ways you never can imagine and learning to adjust to this new circumstance was something I was going to need to survive!
How would you describe your blog?
My blog is the medical school experience through the eyes of a God-fearing, dog-loving mom and Caribbean medical student. My blog is meant to help aspiring medical students get an authentic view of what being a medical student is like and further-more what it is like being a Caribbean medical student at one of the major US Accredited Caribbean medical school.
My goal is to offer my advice and encouragement to all aspiring medical students while also debunking the myth that Caribbean medical students are not as smart, capable, and adequate as medical students studying back home in the United States. I use my blog to share my experiences as a student and a normal everyday person; giving advice on how to prepare for, navigate through and enjoy medical school one day at a time!
What’s your favorite quote?
~I have two… 😊
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard”
Best memory in medical school?
It’s only been 1 semester since I started, well 2 including my prep program but my favorite memory is the time I chose to island hop for a four day weekend we had after our exam. I visited Antigua, an island over from Dominica and got a chance to relax on some of the most beautiful and clear blue water beaches I’d ever seen…that beats partying at a bar post-exam any day!
What’s one course you struggled with?
BIOCHEMISTRY!!! And I still struggle with it. I realized that I unfortunately did not have the best foundation in General Chemistry from undergrad so I always struggle with the beginning of any chemistry course. I just cant seem to get the simplest concepts in Biochemistry but as soon as we start related things to clinical situations, I’m golden (I know, I’m working on it…)
What’s your favorite book?
This is really sad and a bit embarrassing but I don’t have one. I used to love to read as a child but as soon as I got into pre-med courses, that killed my love for reading and I just never really read books. I like to read science/medical articles and sports news instead 😊
What do you do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my dogs, especially my German Shepherd, who is a working protection dog. I love doing his obedience training with him. I also loveeeeeee doing DIY projects. If I ever was a house wife, my entire house would be filled with décor I made from refurbished/recycled garbage and other projects I’ve become obsessed with on Pinterest.
What do you want to major or specialize in?
I want to specialize as an OB/GYN. I really am interested more in the gynecological portion of the specialty more so than delivering. I love primary and preventative care but I also like the idea of being able to have the hands-on experience in the OR during deliveries and other surgical procedures.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to my mother. She is such a strong woman and as I have gotten older, I have grown to respect and appreciate her even more. She is so loving and caring and her family, specifically, her children are always her number one priority.
The greatest thing I respect and admire about my mother is her selfless decision to work every day for 3 years straight, in order to allow my father to go back to school fulltime at the age of 35 to pursue his career in nursing, after being laid off from his job. My father is now the Director of Nursing at a major Children’s Behavioral Center in my hometown and in large part that is due to my mother’s commitment to her family.
How do you study (productively)?
I study most effectively when I pre-learn the information the day before class. In medical school, I have found what works for me is to go through the PowerPoint the day before, read the notes, make a study guide and review the material before going to class or listening to the lecture online. When I do it this way, I am able to use the time in class or listening to lecture online as an opportunity to focus 100% of my attention on listening and paying attention to what’s being said as opposed to trying to understand and dissect the concepts being discussed. This also helps me to always stay one day ahead so if I ever fall behind I’m technically still right on track.
How do you stay motivated in medical school?
I make sure to make time for things I love. I choose to work out every day for about 1-1.5 hours and on Mondays, that workout consist of playing intramurals basketball games (I have played basketball competitively since I was in middle school). This allows me to relieve my stress and escape the hectic thoughts and environment of test, dissection lab, studying and everything else medical school has to offer.
What are your best tips for future medical students?
- Always have a daily schedule
- Always review the information you learn that day before the night is over
- Keep up, don’t catch up
- Make time for yourself
- Everything is about time!!
- It’s never too early to prepare for STEP
- Always remember to integrate classes, DON’T compartmentalize
- Find a great group of friends to study with, laugh with, cry with and relax with…they will be your rock throughout this journey
- Always remember those who helped you get to where you are; make time for them and never forget to say thankyou