7 Ways to be Great


1. Be gentle and kind

2. Show respect to everyone you meet (whether you think they deserve it or not)

3. Pay attention to the little things (often that makes you stand out from the crowd)

4. Do everything wholeheartedly, with passion and love

5. Be flexible, adaptable, and open to change

6. Don’t complicate your life with lots of oughts, musts and shoulds

7. Encourage other people to be all that they can be.

(via theprospectblog)


This will be me when I get famous

(Source: lydiasgotstiles, via college-pursuits)

(Source: cagle.com, via earlyindecision)

Anonymous asked: How do you assert yourself so that friends respect you but are not turned off? I had a strong personality professionally prior to med school, but it's been tricky navigating new friendships here - something I've always struggled with. I start off being social and warm with everyone, then when someone tests boundaries, my demeanor changes and I respond very firmly. I feel like my only options are 'sweet pushover' or 'Miss Attitude'. There must be a more gracious way to hold your own! Tips?


Oh, honey, you are asking the wrong person because I only have those options too. 

But there’s nothing wrong with that really!! I am both the world’s toughest bitch and the world’s biggest sweetheart. Some people don’t like that—sucks to be them. 

You have every right to shoot people down who test your boundaries. You have every right to push someone away and say “no!” when they try to kiss you and you don’t want them to! You have every right to call a friend out and say “hey not cool!” when they make a joke that offends you or say something sexist or racist or homophobic. You have that right! And you have the right to do that in a way that makes sure it doesn’t happen again. That doesn’t necessarily make you Miss Attitude—it makes you someone who gets what they want and that’s a good thing.  

Now—I don’t suggest you cuss your friends out every time they make a mistake. But you have every right to speak up for yourself!! People who don’t understand that have their own problems to deal with and you don’t have to change who you are to deal with that. 

I do find that my personal “miss attitude” style is somewhat gracious. The best way to chastise a friend is with love. To say “hey, I know you’re better than that” or “I really love you and I don’t want to see you get hurt by this” or “I know you didn’t mean to, but what you said earlier really hurt me and I just wanted to let you know”. Do so privately and quietly. And do so with the ever-present knowledge that you love them and you want to help them be a better person. Oh, and also encourage your friends to do the same to you when you push their boundaries. 

But listen, getting what you want does not make you a bitch—saying what you think does not make you psycho—shutting people down who are mean or cruel or offensive does not mean you’re Ms. Attitude. Anyone who said that women have to be sweet and demure all the time is just 100% wrong. 

You don’t have to just be one thing. You can be sweet and have high expectations you can be caring and not take bullshit. You can be you. And the people in your life who respect that are the people you should keep around. :) 

You do you. Let everyone else take it or leave it. :) 

"[In capitalism] Freedom is one of the commodities that is for sale, and if you are affluent, you can have a lot of it."

— Noam Chomsky (via sociolab)

(Source: noam-chomsky, via theprospectblog)

"Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real."

— Ned Vizzini (via onlinecounsellingcollege)

(via uncommonapp)

Tags: quotes


the very sad and dying sound of a classroom when the teacher tries to get them all to say something together

(Source: hi, via uncommonapp)

Tags: funny

I’m really sorry for not posting recently! School’s been hectic the past few weeks, and I just came back today from my first Model Congress conference (which was really fun).

Anonymous asked: Hey girl! I've kinda been recently considering maybe hopefully going to med school? I've heard numerous times that by going to med school you're basically giving up your twenties...how do you feel about that? I understand ofc that there are sacrifices students make in order to do well but do you ever feel like you're missing out on life experiences because of med school? This has been bothering me a lot of late and i dont know who else to ask! Thanks :)


I do feel like that a little bit. 

I mean—I’m 23 right now—I’ll turn 24 later this year. When I graduate with my degree I’ll be 25. By the time I finish residency I’ll be right around 30. So yes. There’s a whole decade of my life almost! (If not longer if I do a fellowship!). 

You spend a lot of your 20s doing things that people aren’t doing in their 20s and because of that you don’t do the “normal stuff” some people do. 

You study most nights instead of going out. 

When you’re not studying your working at the hospital or sleeping (or taking brain vacations to occasionally see friends or family). 

You’re elbow deep in your second year when you have friends finally considering what their careers should be or deciding to quit one job to just kind of wander around the country for a year. 

You’ll probably never fit in a weekly girl’s night and your three spin classes and two date nights, and reading all 100 books on this year’s NYT best seller list. 

You wait to get married because you’re not meeting people—you’re busy getting through third year. 

You wait to have kids because you’re probably smack in the middle of residency (and maybe you haven’t even found a partner yet). 

You’re waking up exhausted—not because you were at a party the night before until 4 am… but because you didn’t leave your shift at the hospital until 4 am.

Your wardrobe is full of scrubs instead of sundresses. You have piles of sensible hospital shoes and the last time you wore the pair of too small spike heels was… well you can’t even remember. You lose the capacity to talk about things that aren’t medicine. You try to go to a party and meet new people and you find yourself telling a story about the last time someone bled/vomited/pissed on you and those people are walking away…. 

Instead of PDA standing for public display of affection… it stands for posterior descending artery. NPH is not the initials of the best actor on How I Met Your Mother—it means normal pressure hydrocephalus. 

You give up sleep, free time, catching up on the latest HBO show. Medicine will take time from your family, your friendships, your ability to date. 


I wouldn’t do anything else. 

I wouldn’t. 

I wouldn’t trade leaving the hospital at midnight after I stood and spoke Spanish with the parents of a child in respiratory distress until the translator came and told them it was going to be okay. I wouldn’t trade that for leaving a bar at midnight on that same night. 

I wouldn’t trade my failed attempts at dating. I’m okay that all of those attempts have failed because the right person understands why I do what I do and will get why I can’t do a date night every night. Why I might not be able to stay at your house party or see you every night. The right person will love that I love what I do so much. I wouldn’t trade what I do for a more successful dating life. 

I wouldn’t trade this life where I spent the last 8 weeks of my life studying for one test. Because come May I’m going to be in clinic. 

People will yell at me—patients, doctors, nurses, family members. I will get yelled at, bled on, cussed at, cat called by drunks in the ER, or vomited on. That’s just my average day. 

I’ll come home and instead of going to sleep stay up another couple hours to learn one more thing about a Whipple procedure or pulmonary hypertension. I’ll wake up early and stay late. 

But I have amazing friends who are fighting right next to me in the trenches and sometimes we all laugh over a bottle of wine and our silly lives. I have amazing people who love me—who give me the slack when I need it—and don’t blame me when I show up late or leave early. I have an awesome family that helps me out when I need it. 

And I still find the time to take care of me. I do the things i love—I read, I go for a run, I hit a yoga class, I cook (oh god do I cook!), I write, I write on this blog!! 

I’m not worried about the other pieces falling into places. I know that I will get the other things I want in my life and I’m not afraid of medicine taking that away from me. 

So sure… choosing medicine is a little like “giving up your twenties”… but for me… it’s giving up the parts I didn’t want anyway and is instead giving me one giant 10 year adventure. 

And that adventure has a lot of hard days… maybe more hard days than easy ones. It has days you come home and cry. But is there any other job in the world where someone might hug you because you tell them their son is going to make it through the night? Any other job where you are the first pair of hands that touches a baby the second it hits the atmosphere? Any other place you might cry with someone, laugh with someone, change someone’s life, and place your hand inside someone’s chest cavity all on the same day? 

So some people say that med school is like “giving up your twenties”… maybe it’s more of a trade though. 

You give up the things “everyone else” seems to be doing…and in return you get (what is in my opinion) possibly the most amazing adventure ever. 

Self-Studying APs: an Introductory Guide — Part 1


This is part of a series on self-studying for AP’s. Feel free to message me if you have any questions about taking these exams.

Why Should I Self-Study for an AP Exam?

Before you make a decision whether or not to self-study an AP, you should look at your motives for doing so; not just at a superficial level, but how it will play into your goals for college. Ultimately, this decision is up to you. I am a huge advocate for choice in education. But, as always, here are a few guidelines.

Here are some reasons to self-study an AP exam: 

  • Placing out of and earning credit for undesirable General Education or Core requirements not related to your field(s) of study
  • Demonstrating your ability to do well on a (supposedly) college-level exam, if your school does not offer AP, IB or some other equivalent
  • Earning AP credit for a class that is similar to but not the same as the an accredited (College Board audits all curricula with the name “AP” in them) AP course. 
  • Demonstrating your ability to handle increased rigor, if you are limited to only a few AP courses per year (three or fewer) and wouldn’t sacrifice time for other things
  • Earning AP credit for a topic which you have a strong understanding of e.g. a politics junkie taking the AP US Government exam.

Here are some reasons not to self-study an AP exam:

  • Placing out of courses in your field(s) of study
  • Placing out of a math or English class — you have to take a placement test anyway; why pay for an extra one?
  • Trying to win an AP award(s) — it won’t help your chances in college admissions, but taking many AP classes will
  • Exploring a new topic or field of study — preparing for an exam is not the same as learning the material. Not only that, but you’re paying ~$90 to do so! Use iTunes U, Coursera, EdX, et al. if you want to learn something new. These are free, and some come with a certificate of completion at the end. Of course, if you take one of those online offerings and decide to take a related AP exam, go for it! But getting a review book for an AP exam is not the best way to learn something new. 
  • Self-studying the exam in lieu of taking the class and the exam — with a few exceptions (e.g. Comparative and US Government are scheduled at the same time, but you want to take both), it just makes you look lazy or deceptive on your college applications.

Additional comment: some people use AP exams to graduate a year or semester early. This a personal choice. Such a move may save money and time, but you often lose part (or all) of the liberal arts foundation General Education/Core requirements provide, and may be at a disadvantage applying to jobs, internships, and certain graduate programs. 

What test should I take?

This is dependent on your prior coursework and academic strengths. What AP courses have I taken, and am I strong in a particular area? Use that, in conjunction with general guidelines about different exams before making a decision. 

Generally, math, foreign language, and science AP exams should be avoided. These exams aren’t necessarily harder than other exams, but because of their nature, the exams aren’t meant to be self-studied. Science courses emphasize lab work, and this cannot be done by going through a review book. Even if you are capable of self-studying it and do so, I would opt not to place out of the equivalent course in college. In re: Math, these courses serve as the foundation for high-level coursework; you may hurt yourself in the long-run by learning calculus at a level of rigor below many colleges and universities. The same idea applies to foreign language. Furthermore, if you speak another language at home, taking the AP exam for the language will not mean anything to admissions officers. Depending on the college, you may not get out of a foreign language requirement either. 

I categorized all the AP exams offered. Please message me if you think a course belongs in a different category; I am open to suggestions.

Relatively easy, require limited to no background knowledge in related fields:

  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Statistics (if you’re good with numbers)
  • AP Psychology

Relatively easy, but require background knowledge/skills (in parenthesis) in related fields:

  • AP Human Geography (world historical/cultural knowledge)
  • AP Comparative Government (world historical/cultural knowledge)
  • AP US Government (knowledge of politics and current events)
  • AP English Language (for those with strong expository writing skills; those without them should not skip an expos course)

Neither relatively hard nor relatively easy; do not require background knowledge:

  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Macroeconoimcs

Proceed at your own risk — require extensive background knowledge/skills or time for learning the material, experience with AP essays, etc. Only consider them if you live and breathe the related material — you know who you are. Be proud of it! :

  • AP World History
  • AP European History 
  • AP United States History
  • AP Art History
  • AP English Literature 
  • AP Computer Science A (if you know Java; does not test other programming languages)

Don’t self-study these — it’s not worth your time, even if you’ll get a four or five. Classroom setting generally required, and a teacher is almost always necessary:

  • AP Studio Art
  • AP Music Theory
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Biology
  • AP Physics B (soon to be Physics 1 and Physics 2)
  • AP Physics C
  • AP (insert foreign language)

You don’t need to self-study an AP exam to get in to a highly selective college, and the admissions boost is small. If you can devote more time to an extracurricular, do that instead. Use your time wisely! Ideally, you should only take an exam(s) under the easy category.

I don’t think anything more would be worth your time, unless, as I said, you would know the related material anyway (e.g. a history buff in AP European History deciding to take the AP World History test). You should try to enjoy your adolescence (within reason) while it lasts, and I think colleges agree.

Part II is coming up. Message me with questions or feedback. I hope this is of help!