Machu Picchu And A Journey In Medicine

I recently finished a three day trek to Machu Picchu. The “Lost City of the Incas” is perched atop an incredible ridge, overlooking the surrounding mountain ranges and a beautiful valley below. It is the definition of impressive.

The trek to Machu Picchu was difficult but exciting. We combined mountain biking, river rafting and a decent amount of hiking (including the final ascent to Machu Picchu at 4AM!). We started on top a 4,300 meter mountain, passed through jungle, hiked old Inca trails, tasted freshly picked coffee beans and swam in an ice cold stream among other adventures. The whole trek, from start to destination was amazing.

I have been thinking about the journey to becoming a physician and what it has to do with my recent trek. I like the concept of a “journey”. It is the reason behind the name of this blog.

Journeys are fun. They take you places you´ve never been before. You see new and wonderful things. And if you make it to the end you are rewarded with the  joy of reaching your destination.

Journeys are also challenging. You may have hardships and setbacks. They may be painful at times. You may have the heartbreak of not reaching your destination.

I wonder if pre med students are enjoying the journey to med school. Is your pre med journey fun? Are you having great experiences and learning? Are you perservering through the hard times and using them as an opportunity for growth?

Or are you just jumping through hoops longing for the destination?

Summer is a great time to explore these questions. There are no right answers. But consider this: if pre med life is constantly miserable for you, what makes you think that will change once you get into medical school?

Photo Credit

5 Powerful Summer Goals For Pre Med Students

Congratulations on finishing the school year! Here are some simple yet powerful goals to work on during the summer.

    Relax
    While it’s natural to want to avoid boredom during the summer, being just as busy as during the school year defeats the purpose of a break. The summer between my sophomore and junior year of college I worked 20 hours a week and took a full year of Anatomy and Physiology. It was terrible. At the end of my Junior year I was burnt out. Do not do this. Find time to relax, read some good books, go on a vacation and give that brain a little well deserved rest.
    Get Medical Experience.
    Volunteer at a non-profit clinic, clean rooms in a hospital, shadow your family physician or try to find a job as an ER Scribe. The point is not to bolster your application but rather to better understand medicine and to be sure it is the right path for you.
    Find A Mentor.
    I wrote about this a while back. Mentors can challenge and inspire you. One mentor I met with has gone on over 30 medical mission trips (recently returning from Haiti). Talking with him always reminded me why I wanted to go into medicine. Take the summer to think about who might best mentor you and respectfully ask them.
    Read Medical Blogs.
    There are excellent physician and medical student blogs out there. It’s a great way to get an unfiltered perspective on medicine from the eyes of those actually practicing it. A few of my favorite are ER Stories, Vitum Medicinus, KevinMD, Med School Memoir, Agraphia and Jae Won Joh.
    Reflect.
    Take some time to think about the past school year. What study habits worked for you? Is there a subject that particularly interested you that you may want to do some research on? What were the highs and lows of the year?
    After reflecting on the past year, take some time to consider the coming school year. If you want to bump up your GPA, what grades will you have to get in your classes to meet your goal? If you’re going to take the MCAT, what is your ideal score? How can you simplify your life to reduce stress?

Working on these simple goals over the summer will help you have a great start to the next year. Do you have any other goals for the summer?

Hello, My Name Is Steve

My name is Steve Krager and I write for MD Journey. Here’s a picture of me climbing a big mountain in Peru a few weeks ago:
steve

I thought writing anonymously would give me more freedom but I am only feeling more restricted. So from now on I’ll be writing as me, Steve. Nice to meet you.

My Pre Med Journey

I grew up outside of Portland, Oregon and went to college at Seattle Pacific University. I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Spanish. I loved SPU.

I went to college with the vague idea of doing missionary or international development work. I changed my sophomore year to pre med. It sucked at first. I was a valedictorian in high school but my first quarter of college Biology I barely scraped by with a B-. My first General Chemistry exam I scored a 64%.

Ugh. Do I really want to do this pre med thing? I pushed through, found a tutor in chemistry, discovered more effective study methods and started to improve. I pulled out a B in Gen Chem I. Gen Chem II, an A-. I made strides in Biology, slowly.

I graduated with a 3.65 overall GPA with a science GPA of about 3.4. In January of 2009 I took the MCAT and scored a 32M. The last two years I have worked as an ER Scribe.

Last summer I started the medical school application process. After 12 secondary applications and 8 interviews I was accepted at 6 medical schools and waitlisted at 2. I will be attending Creighton University School of Medicine in August. I’ve been in Peru the last two months watching births and dressing newborns in a public health clinic. It’s been amazing.

I’m passionate about global health and living a remarkable life. My faith is a huge part of why I want to be a physician. I am also passionate about helping pre med students navigate the journey to medical school. I believe deeply that you can be a great pre med student and have an awesome life at the same time.

I’m hoping to be a great medical student and have an awesome life too.

So that’s my story. Any questions?

Keep up with the blog and I’ll be sharing more personal stories about my pre med journey, research on how to study and take tests effectively and other useful pre med content.

What’s your pre med story?

Help Me Make Pre Med Journey Awesome

I started this blog almost two years ago. While I am proud of what I’ve done, I see a lot of room for growth.

Ultimately, I want this blog to be one of the top resources on the internet for pre med students. To this I’m going to need some help from you, my readers.

I need feedback. What can I do to improve the site? What kinds of articles would you like to see more of? Would you find a more consistent posting schedule useful? Use my contact form, email (sam(at)premedjourney.com) or leave some comments on this post.

If you have your own blog, how about trading guest posts with Pre Med Journey? Collaboration is important in medicine (so I hear) why not start on the internet?

Finally, if you find the site useful, tell your friends. More people here will generate more lively discussion and Pre Med Journey will improve.

Thanks for your help.

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Pre Med Resources

495524570_415c91b283_mThis is the best list of relevant websites, articles and blogs regarding the pre med journey that you will find on the internet. Bookmark this. I’ll be updating the list as I find more useful info.

Pre Med Basics

MCAT Links

Perhaps the most dreaded part of the pre med journey. Be not afraid.

Medical School Application

Best Books for Pre Meds

These are books that I have either read and used or heard great things about.

Pre Med and Med Student Blogs

Pre Med Forums


Follow me on Twitter!

I know, I know… Twitter? Really?

Yes. I realize I’m six months behind the times. I’ve resisted for so long…

Check it out.

I think Twitter will be a great way for me to communicate short quotes, ideas and links related to the pre med journey as well as my work.

Right now I have a total of ZERO followers. Please change that! You can also see my twitter updates in the sidebar –>

http://twitter.com/PreMedJourney