Quick update

Hi everyone!

The semester has been crazy busy. We just finished our second exam and got our results today. I’ve been doing well in two subjects but anatomy is not my favorite right now! I hope it’ll get better now that we’re getting into the brain! It should be more enjoyable.

MCAT is… MCAT. I have no motivation and I feel discouraged every time I study for it. I’m not sure how to get out of this rut. ūüėē

Now it’s time for some well-deserved sleep!


Life, Pre-med

Mom in Grad School

Happy New Year!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year and all the wonderful things that have happened. Going forward, I would like to write more helpful posts pertaining to grad school and not just updating you all on how I’m doing although there will be plenty of that too!

This first post will talk about being a mother in grad school and how I’m trying to make it work. I’ve only been in class for a week but I haven’t felt like I’ve missed out on anything studying while caring for my almost three-year-old twins. It hasn’t been easy, but with some planning, I’ve had a pretty successful week!

To keep myself organized I use a planner. The one I have is from¬†¬†and it has everything I need; a monthly calendar to put important dates in, like quizzes and exams, a weekly schedule with space for goals, ideas, reminders, projects, and things due, and daily to-do lists, space for water intake, food journal, workout journal, and notes as well as a doodle space. This one is sold out, but I’m sure they’ll have a new one for the next school year.

I’ve used planner since 2016 but I had to force myself to use them. After finding one that was specifically¬†made for school I’ve actually looked forward to writing¬†down everything. It helped so much last semester when I wanted to remember when my biostats¬†assignments were due! So far, this semester it has helped keep me accountable for studying for the MCAT, which is the hardest thing for me to study for (Physics and I don’t get along).

Here is what my last week looked like:

Staying organized.jpg

You do not need to get a fancy planner like this. You can use a notebook and personalize it however you want or use an app on your phone. For me, writing it down and being able to see it without using my phone is more beneficial; I’m more likely to start studying without going through Facebook.

So now that I have a schedule, how do I use? It’s easy to write stuff down, but it gets more difficult to actually follow it. If we’re being honest, I don’t follow this exactly; it just isn’t realistic when you have¬†potty-training toddlers. However, if I have it written down, I know what needs to get done that day and will try to follow it. Certain things I do not move, but they don’t have set times during the day. The best example is my MCAT prep; if the kiddos are napping, mama is studying! The time varies but it’s usually 1-3 PM during weekdays. I’m hoping to put in closer to 3 hours a day during the weekends; I’m making a study group with some friends from school to keep each other accountable. According to my Kaplan course, you’re supposed to take one day off a week, but I schedule it in any way¬†to keep things neat.

Another thing that has helped a lot has been meal prepping. You know, that thing everyone tells you to do and you say you’ll do it but never get around to it? Or is that just me? On Sundays, I take a couple hours to find vegetarian/vegan recipes, prep them, and put them in gallon-sized zip lock bags that go in my freezer. I take whichever one I want to have for dinner out the day of and thaw it a little bit before throwing it in my slow-cooker. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner; it saves me so much time! You can do this with every meal, but so far I’ve only tackled dinner. I might start doing it for my breakfast smoothies as well, so we’ll see how that goes!

As far as my study schedule goes, I try to study while I watch the boys play. I take plenty of breaks to join them in the fun and take them to the potty. Sometimes I put on a movie for them if I need to get something done right away, but I try to avoid this since I don’t want them watching too much TV. This isn’t really the greatest way to study, but it’s more of a quick review to make sure I get it done. That means I do a quick review in the morning and MCAT prep during nap time, so what about the rest of the day?

When they wake up from their nap it’s time for me to spend uninterrupted time with them. We eat together, make silly jokes, and play until our wonderful nanny gets here so I’m able to get to school early. Some self-care takes place on my drive to school; I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter audio-books while I drive. 10/10 recommend the British version; the voice actor is fantastic! If I’m not listening to books, I put on my favorite music and pump myself up for class. Once I’m in school I take the time to preview my lectures and whatever time I have left I use it to finish reviewing previous lectures.¬†I get home around 9:30 PM and this is where my schedule is a bit more flexible and where most of my self-care takes place.

Let’s take a moment to talk about self-care…IT’S SUPER IMPORTANT! If you don’t practice self-care you WILL burn out! My self-care during the day is focused on my kids so I feel like I get a little break throughout the day, but by the time class is over I’m pretty tired. I take this time to do things that make me happy!

This is what my self-care looks like:

If I haven’t worked out, I will do a quick 15-minute workout. I’ve been following the daily workouts from Tone It Up¬†and I love it! It’s simple and it doesn’t take very long, which is exactly what I look for in a workout. I try to do this at least every other day, but I’m going to try to get it in every day since I always feel better afterward.

If I don’t work out that night, I take a 10-minute break before I start reviewing the lectures from the day. I will do this until 10:30 PM, but sometimes I don’t do it at all. At that point, I get ready for bed and try to relax by spending time with the husband, watching TV or makeup videos on YouTube I’m obsessed,¬†and texting family and friends. I like to play video games, but I can’t keep those sessions to 30 minutes so I try to avoid them during the week. I usually save it for the time after an exam when I’m too exhausted to do anything but play Sims 4 mindlessly while the TV is on. I’m trying to find books to read as well, so if you have any suggestions let me know! I’m concentrating on pre-med books right now, but I also love fantasy. I’m still working on the third Eragon book; I keep forgetting I have it on my phone! The boys wake up around 7 AM, so I try to go to sleep by 11:15 PM to get enough sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep! I function best with 9 hours of sleep, but that doesn’t happen unless it’s the weekend, so I aim for 7-8 hours. Residency will change this, but until then I plan on getting plenty of sleep!

The last thing that needs to get done during the week is the cleaning. I take one day a week where I clean EVERYTHING. I did it yesterday by myself, but I usually do it on Saturdays or Sundays so I can get my husband’s help. The only thing I do during the week is wipe down the table and kitchen counters, take care of the dishes, and clean up any food that falls under the table. Sometimes I do laundry if my sons are out of clean underwear, but I try to leave that for the weekend if possible.

That’s it! That’s how I’ve been trying to make it work and I’ve honestly been surprised at how much I’ve been able to get done. I was really nervous about it before classes started, but a bit of planning and some help goes a long way.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any tips and want to share them please leave a comment! ūüôā

Have a wonderful weekend!



Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to write a quick post wishing you all a wonderful holiday season! It’s been crazy at our house; we finally moved the babies out here, got everything set up, found a babysitter, and are ready to take on next semester.

I ended up with a 4.0 from my very first semester of grad school! I’m very proud and excited to see how the next semester will go. I will do my best and will aim for a 3.5 at the very least. ūüôā I’m also trying to figure out a new MCAT study schedule so we’ll see how that goes!

Hope you all have a happy new year!



An A is an A is an A

Hello everyone!

I keep meaning to sit down and write this but school has me super busy. For starters, I got a 95% on the integrated exam I talked about last time. Biostats was a different story, but it got curved and I felt a little bit better. Still not where I wanted to be at but I can still make an A in the class; I have a 1 point buffer!

We just got back our results from our third exam. I’m happy to say that I got 100% on Biostats! To be fair, the professor went easy on us, but I’m not complaining! I actually understood the material well so I was expecting a high mark. For our integrated exam, I only got a 89%.

This is the lowest exam score I’ve received and although it is a very good one I’m not satisfied. I aced Anatomy and Microbiology, but Biochem gave me so much trouble. We had two different professors for this exam; I got 100% on the questions from one of them, my favorite professor right now, and only 58% from the other one.

From the first quiz he gave us we knew he would give us trouble. He asked a question from the book, which we’ve never had before, so we approached him and asked for clarification on what we should know. No matter what we asked, his answer was always the same; come to class, read the book, look at the slides. We asked him if we should know the steps and his answer didn’t change. It’s hard to prepare for something when it’s not clear what is expected of you. However, like the good student that I try to be, I did all those things plus watched MCAT videos on the subjects while doing my MCAT prep. I felt really confident about it; three weeks of nothing but glycolysis, TCA cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, and gluconeogenesis just for his lectures. When I sat down for the test I had no idea what was being asked; I felt horrible. We will get a chance to challenge his questions so I hope I’m able to get some points back after we review them. The only way for me to get an A in the class right now is to not miss anymore points. That’s not very realistic, but I’m going to do my best!

It’s seems like a silly thing to get hung up on, but my grades are very important to me. Honestly it’s not just to prove to schools that I can make it, since my first few years in undergrad killed my GPA, but to prove it to myself. I don’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities, and knowing I’m doing well and getting the grades I work hard for puts my mind at ease. I feel like I can do it, like I am smart enough and like I will be successful in med school.

Anyway, that’s my little school update. ūüôā I don’t really have an MCAT update except that I picked a test date; January 19th. I am not ready and I’m not sure I will be by then. I’m putting in a lot of study time but nothing is sticking. I feel like I’m just going through the motions to check things off my list without actually learning. I’ll have to do some serious practicing in December after the semester ends, but right now I’m 99.9% positive I’m going to push it back to April. I was going to do it in March but we’ll have an exam the Monday after I take it, so it’s not worth it to stress about two tests!

We’re exactly one month away from the end of the semester! It’s crazy to think how fast time has gone by. I really hope I can keep it up! I’ll be writing a post on study tips for grad school within the next month, so stay tuned. ūüôā



Beauty and the Grad School

Hello everyone!

Two weeks of grad school have flown by! I kept meaning to sit down and write this post but I’ve been slammed with work. It hasn’t been easy, but I love it so far. The subjects interest me and are things I can use in my practice, so no matter how difficult it is I just think about how lucky I am to have this wonderful opportunity.

Grad school is a beast! I feel like all I do is study, and when I don’t study I feel guilty! Add that to the guilt that my toddlers aren’t here with me yet and I’m a giant ball of guilt! We’re working things out still, but my husband is moving out here next weekend! It makes me incredibly happy, but I also feel bad because he will be driving across the country by himself. The plan was for me to fly back and drive with him, but when I mentioned it to one of my professors she become very concerned. She told me she would feel it was to my disadvantage to lose that much time studying. I am so incredibly thankful that our professors care so much; I wouldn’t have known I would’ve had no time until it was too late and we were on the road. On the first drive out we were tired, we listened to Harry Potter audio books, and we slept. Literally no time to study, especially since I get carsick when I read. I’m nervous about him driving by himself, but my husband is such an amazing person that he doesn’t care. He wants me to put my studies and my future career ahead of his comfort. I truly don’t know how I got so lucky. We’re hoping we can fly out our babies within a week or two of him arriving; we want to make sure we get all the furniture taken care of before they come out. As for my cute kitties, we’ll be bringing them out by February. We want to make sure we’re settled and find a good vet before we move them.

Back to grad school… My first quiz went okay, but I know I can do a lot better. I’m studying by myself and I’ve also made a weekend study group that I will be going to later today. I feel more confident about this quiz, so hopefully everything works out. I think my nerves got the best of me last time since I didn’t know what to expect.

My advisor also told me to submit my application to AACOMAS so it can be verified and put on hold until they get my December grades and my January MCAT score. Inhala, exhala. AAAAH I’M NOT READY TO APPLY! I want to do it so I can start medical school one year sooner than expected, if I get in, but I’m also incredibly nervous about it. Maybe I should wait until May to take the MCAT so I have more time to study and apply in June like I originally planned. I still haven’t started studying for the MCAT, but our MCAT prep course starts next month. Will I be ready? I just need to get out of my head and breathe… Everything will work out in the end, whether I wait or not.

That’s just a very small update. I will see how my quiz goes next time and I will write a post on how my study habits have changed since undergrad; hint- they’re completely different!

Okay, study break over! I’m off to study some Anatomy (my favorite subject!)

Wish me luck!



Reflecting on the Past Year

Hi everyone!

It hit me a few hours ago what today was… May 19th, the day I was supposed to take the MCAT. Instead, I ran around getting everything ready for my upcoming trip to a medical school for a program specifically for pre-professional students. I will give a recap of that next week when I get back!

Honestly, I feel a little sad. Today was supposed to be the day I finally tackled the big exam. I was supposed to be done by now, I think, and look forward to my next adventure, which was supposed to be my med school application.

I felt terrible when I decided to put it off again. Like I had failed, like I couldn’t put in the effort to study. I also felt relieved, because I had more time to prepare.

I still feel that way. I know I wouldn’t have been ready on time, and I knew I was putting too much on my plate. How was I going to study 35+ hours a week, go to school part time, and take care of two toddlers? I’m sure there are some amazing people out there that could do it, and I admire you all if you have gone through this. You are incredibly strong and determined! But for me, it just wasn’t going to work out. I needed to put as much study time as I could on my classes, and I was already struggling to give my sons the attention they deserved. I know it’s not gonna be easy, it never will be, but with how little my boys were/are, I knew made the right decision for me and my family.

Do I feel guilty? Yes. Am I at peace with my decision? Not ready, but I believe things happen for a reason. Maybe there is something else I’m supposed to do first. Maybe putting it off and applying to post-baccs was the right decision for me. Maybe improving my GPA and getting a Master’s will benefit my application in the long run.

So yes, I’m a little sad, but the path to medical school isn’t always linear. It’s a marathon, uphill, with many obstacles in the way. It’s okay to take longer than most… Time will pass anyway!

Here’s to another year of growth, and here’s to knowing that I WILL take the MCAT by this time next year.

Never give up!


PS: I applied to four total grad schools. The last two have all my application materials! I’m so excited! The first two still don’t have the letters, but I’ll continue to work on it. Fingers crossed!



Hi everyone,

I have some awesome news to share. I got an A- on my O-Chem exam! I followed the plan I outline in my last post and it helped so much! I’m really excited. My grade in class has gone up from a D+ to a C+, which is not a great grade but it’s something I can definitely improve on, especially because my professor drops our lowest exam score. Once he does at the end of the semester, my grade will be much better, since my lowest score so far was a 61.¬†I’m going to continue studying so I can make sure my grade remains high.

Now comes the interesting part. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m signed up to take the MCAT on May 19th. I signed up two days ago for a prep course through Altius Test Prep. I’ve been reviewing content on my own since August on and off,¬†but I knew I would need something more structure to prepare at some point. Finances are tricky though, so it took me longer to sign up than I was expecting.

I was excited and ready, until I looked at their introduction. I knew the course would be difficult, and I knew it would take time, but what scared me was how advanced their other students are compared to me. I’ll start a little over a month AFTER their short track students. Surprisingly, they say that they won’t accept students later than the beginning of February, but I was still allowed to join a group. I’m worried that I won’t be ready by May, and I thought about pushing back the MCAT for another month to have more time to prepare.

I kept reading what they gave me. The time commitment, the things that need to get done… and honestly, I panicked a little. I don’t think I can finish all of that in under three months. I’m seriously considering pushing the MCAT until next¬†April. I won’t be taking classes so I would be able to concentrate on studying for it. However, that means I’ll have to postpone applying to medical school yet another year.

Honestly, postponing it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I could ensure I’m more competitive by having a strong MCAT. However, I would have to contact¬†everyone¬†that wrote my letters of recommendation and asking them to change the date on them, again. It’s been difficult to do that already, since some people are more cooperative than others. I’m still waiting on one for this year, and another one that should’ve been written by now but hasn’t. It’s discouraging. Additionally, I’ll lose a lot of volunteering, shadowing, and patient exposure hours. What I mean by this is that my advisor let me know that only¬†extracurricular activities from the last four years will count. Since I’ve been pre-med for such a long time, a bulk of my hours came from 2013, which won’t count if I apply in 2017. I’ve been looking for info about this from the actual AAMC website but I couldn’t find anything about it, so it’s difficult for me to make a decision.

I’m going to wait a few days and think it over. I’ll wait until my tutor contacts me and I get a better idea of what this program will require. If I feel like it can be done, I’ll stick with it. Otherwise, I will get a refund and start the program in the Fall.

I’ll keep you guys posted. If anyone knows¬†anything about the four year extracurricular cap I mentioned, please let me know! It would help me out a lot!

I do have another update that I’m afraid is the worst of them all. The hospice patient I’ve been visiting for the past year and a half passed away on Wednesday. I’m usually sad when my patients pass away, but I cried over this loss. He had become a good friend and I learned so much from him. He was an amazing person who will be sorely missed;¬†he wrote a book about his life, which was really interesting, just so he could donate all the profits to charity.

RIP Walter. We will all miss you; from the happy¬†“Hellooooo” you gave when you answered the phone and the “wunderbar” answer you gave when asked how you were doing. I will always remember you and the lessons you taught me about life. Thank you for everything.



Midyear Update

Hi everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated this; life has gotten busy! First of all, I graduated! I even managed a 4.0 during my¬†last semester. That A in Biochem was difficult but I did it! I even got close enough to my professor to ask for a letter of recommendation. ūüôā

Unfortunately, I’m not done with that school and pre-med classes. I had to change my schedule to be able to graduate before my financial aid ran out, so I still have O-Chem II and Physics II to go through. I planned on taking O-Chem this summer and Physics this fall, but after a day in O-Chem I realized I wasn’t ready to take it. When I looked back at my transcript I realized it had been two years since I took O-Chem I and Physics I. I didn’t want to bring down my GPA, so I decided to drop the class and re-take O-Chem I and Physics I this fall. That means O-Chem II and Physics II will happen in the spring. After that I’ll be done with my pre-med classes, yay!

I’m not sure if I’ll take the MCAT next year, but I feel if I don’t do it now I’ll never do it. Taking it will make it much easier to apply to post-bacc programs as well,¬†and the ones with the best programs require either the MCAT or GRE. I decided because of this that I will start studying tonight.¬†I still plan on taking a course, but I’m not sure of the timeline. Most post-bacc program deadlines are in January or February, but I would like to take the MCAT¬†in May so I have enough time to prepare. I think I’ll make an excel sheet with information about the schools and their deadlines. I think if most of them are later in the year, I’ll take the MCAT closer to May. If not, I’ll take it closer to January if I feel ready. I wish more deadlines were closer to June, but I understand schools need time to fill their classes for fall.

I’m hoping to start a post-bac program next fall. My husband and I are already planning a move out of our state, since there aren’t any programs available here. I’m so ready to move on, but I am kind of nervous. I’m mostly nervous about getting into a program; I still have doubts about being smart enough. I know I’m not the perfect student, but I have worked extremely hard for this, and I will continue to do so. I guess it’s just hard to believe in yourself, at least it is for me.

Besides MCAT and classes, I need to find a job as a CNA to get more patient exposure. I had one for a week, but the schedule wasn’t¬†working out and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought. I decided I’ll look for a job at the hospital close to my university, the one I had my boys at,¬†to make it easier to go from school to work. It’s also much closer than the other job, so it’ll save on gas.

I’m also still volunteering at a hospice, and I have plans to go back to Big Brothers Big Sisters this school year. However, since I need another leadership experience, I might need to stop BBBS and find something else. I was planning on using¬†hospice as patient exposure, but since I can work as a CNA I was thinking of using that instead so hospice can be my medical-related volunteer experience. If not, I need to find¬†another medical-related experience, and fast. I’m not sure what I should do, or how to fit it all in my schedule, so I may need to talk to my advisor first.

Anyway, I think that’s all I can think of. Life is going well, for the most part. Hope you’re all doing well! Hopefully I’ll have some time to update this more often. ūüôā



Latest Semester

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I keep thinking about what to write but never have enough motivation. I’ve been feeling kinda down this semester; it’s been a very difficult one. Finals are coming up and I’m getting nervous.

My Cell Biology course is going horribly. I haven’t done this poorly in a class in years. I feel like I know the subject, but I hesitate at the last minute and change my answer. Since my professor has the multiple choice section be worth three points per question, missing a few really messes up your grade. The lab isn’t any easier; we have a different instructor for it. She’s notorious for being a harsh grader. We do these literature labs where we read a scientific paper she chooses and then we have to summarize it based on one of the figures. She expects us to write at a PhD level to get full points and makes the average for the class be a B-. Needless to say, I don’t do very well in these. It makes me incredibly mad at me. I know I can do better, but I don’t understand what she wants. I dunno if maybe it’s a language thing; I’ve lived in this country for almost 12 years and although I hardly ever have trouble with it, scientific papers take me a while to comprehend. She’s also extremely intelligent so the way she words her questions during quizzes confuses me sometimes. This is no excuse for me doing so poorly, I should be able to study more and do better. If I can get a C in the class, it’ll be a miracle.

Anatomy is going okay. I should end with a B in the class if everything continues to go the way it is. It makes me a little sad because I really wanted an A, but since I can’t live in the cadaver lab due to needing to be home and care for my boys, I think it’s an okay grade. I didn’t do so well on my last exam so my class grade dropped to a C+, but we still have the lab grade to consider and two more exams for lecture. I plan on talking to my professor about the questions I missed so I can do better on the cumulitative final. I really love the class though, and the cadaver lab is extremely cool. I have loves everything we have learned about and I will be forever grateful for those who donate their body to science so we may learn it and help others. My instructor for lecture used to be a surgeon, so he always has interesting stories to tell. He also cracks jokes all the time which makes the class even more enjoyable.

My Research Methods class is okay too. I have a B currently and my research project is under way. Unfortunately I had to change it at the last minute, so I’m not doing anything related to sign language like I wanted to. I also realized there may be a mistake in the data collection so I may not have any valid data to analyze. This really bums me out because I have to do a final paper and presentation on it before the end of the semester… which is about 3 weeks away. I have to talk to my professor about it and see what we can do.

Oh and I dropped Biochem because I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved.

Lastly, I signed up for the MCAT for May 14th. I’m taking the rest of my pre-med classes next semester; Biochem I, O-Chem II, and Physics II. However, I’m unsure about the professors. I’ve taken a class from one of them before and her teaching style and my learning style didn’t match. The other professor is known for not being a great one… most students just skip the class until they can take it from the only other professor that teaches it. Since I’m graduating soon, I don’t have that option unless I drop a class, which is the one with the other professor I’m unsure about.

I was planning on graduating, taking the MCAT, and applying to a post-bac program that focuses on academic enhancement. However, because of how difficult it is to study and take care of my little ones, and because of the professors I’ll have to take classes from, I think I may put off the MCAT another year. I may drop those classes, take maybe one with a few “easier” ones to help keep up my GPA, and apply to a post-bac that focuses on career-changers since I have a major in Psychology instead of a “science” one. I can take the rest of my classes then, take an extra two years, take the MCAT somewhere along the line, and make sure my husband has his degree so he can support us/work from home so I don’t have to worry about my twins being home without one of us. I have to run it by my advisor before I make my final decision, but it seems at this point in time it’s the right one.

I think this will calm me down, give my time to boost my GPA, spent time with my twins, study for the MCAT, finish my pre-med classes, and give me a bit of my sanity. School will always be there. Who cares if I’m 40 before I can practice, right?


Wish me luck.



Late Afternoon Thoughts

Hi everyone,

Today’s post will be a little different. There’s something that’s been on my mind lately¬†that I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to help with.

I’ve been struggling this summer a bit. I haven’t gotten back to my volunteering or shadowing, let alone studying the way I wanted to. I feel like I’ve been stuck in this “shame spiral” my neuro professor talked to me about. I can’t bring myself to call anyone to set anything up because I’m afraid to leave my twins¬†home, even if the person watching them is someone I trust (husband, mum, aunt, etc). Studying is¬†difficult because they always need something (like any normal baby) and they like to take turns. By the time they sleep, it’s time for me to sleep so I can get up and take care of them.

I have two semesters left before I graduate, so the classes I’ll be taking are difficult and aren’t offered online. I also¬†need to find a job during the weekends to help support my family. I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep up with everything…¬†Then¬†those thoughts turn to medical school and residency.¬†I know I wouldn’t want to do anything else, so I’ll keep pursuing my dream to be a doctor, but maybe surgery isn’t the way to go. Maybe a specialty that isn’t as demanding would work better for my family. But what if I fall in love with surgery? Would I be able to balance it? I know it’s far enough away and that I shouldn’t worry, especially since I haven’t even gotten into med school, but I guess this is the kinda thing you worry about when you’re a parent or maybe just when you’re me.

To all working parents out there, how do you do it? How do you find balance? If you are a doctor, did you consider what field to go into if you had/have children? I could use some advice.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the rant.