I’m Still Here: Life + Photo Dump

Well, it’s been much longer than I anticipated since my last post! I’m still here, just decided to take some time off to enjoy my summer and then once school started again I felt like I’ve barely had a moment to breathe. And truth be told, I should be thinking about starting to study right now but here I am, about to give you a huge life update instead – and tons of pictures that will probably convince you to take a trip out West. Keep reading to see what I’ve been up to since May!

I still cannot believe that my first year of medical school is over already! It really is true what they say – the days are long but the years are short. And that’s true thus far into second year as well. Once I finished up with my last neurology exam in May, I had to do my clinical competency assessment to ensure that I’ve learned how to take a full history and physical this year. It was a lot – you never realize how much doctors think about until you’re the one trying to think like a doctor!

Then it was time to head off to Chicago for the American Medical Association Annual Meeting! I love being a part of the AMA Chapter at my school – we bring speakers in to talk about health policy, host events to educate students about our health care system, and I also work on some national activities. Attending the conference with some of my classmates was a perfect end to first year.

We met medical students and physicians from around the country and helped map out policy priorities for the AMA during our official business meetings. And I was able to spend few extra days in Chicago with some friends from my D.C. days – it was absolutely wonderful to explore the city and eat so much good food! I can’t wait to go back.

I wanted to take advantage of this “last summer” with a lot of visits to friends. We don’t have a real summer off again, even though we’re still in school. Next summer, I will take Step 1 (the first of three big board exams for doctors), and then I most likely be working on a clerkship rotation over the summer of my fourth year. So I packed in a lot of fun in D.C., Philadelphia, and North Carolina with friends and some of my favorite kiddos.

I was finally able to get to the National Portrait Gallery and see the portraits of President Obama and Michelle Obama. It did not disappoint! Also, how fantastic is this portrait of all the female Supreme Court Justices!? (#NotoriousRBG) I spent a little time in my old neighborhood and enjoyed a latte at one of my favorite coffeeshops, The Coupe. I studied there and at their sister coffee shop Tryst all the time in graduate school!

A quick train ride later and I was in Philadelphia! I saw some friends, the cutest kiddos, and did some touristy things like go to Independence Hall and the Constitution Center. I also ate at some of my faves – Honey’s Sit n’ Eat, Fat Salmon, Dizengoff, and Parc.

One plane ride later, and I was in North Carolina to visit with my best friend and her family! We’ve known each other more than half of our lives and while we do a good job keeping in touch, there is just nothing like being together in person. There is nothing I love more than being Aunt Molly to her precious kiddo.

After my whirlwind on the Eastern Seaboard, I headed out west to Park City with my family for vacation! I celebrated my 30th birthday surrounded by the most gorgeous scenery, family, whiskey, great food, and fireworks.

After a gorgeous week in Park City, I spent some time visiting with my sister in Portland, Oregon. I absolutely love Portland in the summer – clear blue skies, perfect temperatures, stunning views. We hit some of our favorite spots and I was able to try out some places she’s been talking about for months! If you ever get out there, the drive out to White Salmon Bakery is a must! Check out this view – and the coffee and food were incredible.

I sadly left Portland (nobody wants to leave Portland in the summer!) and flew back to Florida for my last week or so of freedom before second year. My mom and I decided to take one last quick trip – I hadn’t been to Disney World in years and really wanted to go. I knew it wouldn’t be comfortable temperature wise (spoiler: it was brutal, Florida in August is awful), but we had a fantastic time. Since we’ve been to all the parks multiple times before, we didn’t spend all day melting waiting in line for rides. We did the indoor shows, had sit down lunches, and meandered our way around Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and MGM.

The highlight of this trip was the “Highway in the Sky” food tour around the Magic Kingdom hotels. Starting at the Contemporary Resort, you and a small number of fellow diners go on a progressive dinner tour to the Polynesian Resort, The Grand Floridian, and back to the Contemporary via your own monorail car. Then you get to enjoy the Magic Kingdom fireworks from a private space at the Contemporary. It was a spectacular evening and, I think, something of a hidden gem at Disney!

All of that travel meant coming back to school was much harder than anticipated. But somehow it’s now the middle of September and I’m already done with two more modules – Dermatology/Ophthalmology and Respiratory. Second year definitely has a bit of a different feel to it since I will take Step 1 in early summer. I’m trying to retain as much as possible from this year’s classes so I don’t have to relearn it later this year (since I’m already trying to relearn biochemistry and microbiology…).

There is a lot of external pressure (Step 1 performance is important for residency applications) and internal pressure (from myself, knowing I need to study and perform well). I’m trying to make sure I do a little self-care every day to keep my stress levels manageable – read 10 pages of a good book before bed, a face mask (this is my favorite!), a glass of wine and Netflix, movie night with my friends (when it’s not close to a test of course), just to name a few!

And trying to keep up with writing on the blog has also been on my mind. I am still reading health policy news and hope to start sharing it with you again! You can always follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates but I’m going to do my best to not be a stranger here again.

With that, I’m off to study! We started our GI module this week and I’ve gotten a bit behind already. Hoping to change that today and tomorrow. Have a lovely weekend!

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