Archive for tag: studying

Preparing for Finals

Hello, all. I can't believe its already Week 13 of the trimester. Though the break between trimesters doesn't affect us in the clinic, because we work through the break, it does mean we are that much closer to graduation. It's not just patient numbers we need to hit while in clinic, there are also blood chemistry and urinalysis, SOAP notes, patient narratives, and community service hours that need to be completed also. It seems monotonous at the time, but these other requirements really do prepare you for real life practice. Needless to say we have been busy trying to knock out all these requirements before December rolls around.

While we've been busy in the clinic, everyone else has been busy preparing for finals. Since finals are around the corner and it's been a few trimesters since I wrote about how I study, I thought it'd be pertinent for this week's blog. The first part of the plan is to realize that cramming is not the way to go. I had to learn this the hard way during my first trimester. Studying really should be done each day to stay current with your material and keep the topics fresh in your mind throughout the tri. The best way to learn something is by repetition, like Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book The Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Once you are in the proper mind set for studying, the next step is to get into the material.

Hopefully, through the trimester you have been reading and highlighting pertinent material in your books. This is the first step. Our professors do their best to give more attention to more difficult topics but there is just not enough classroom time to hit every topic so it will be your job to read up on everything else. While reading the book, it helps to read aloud and highlight as you go. This feeds information through several parts of the brain, which helps with retention. With this same principle in mind, the next step of the plan is to transcribe book notes and class notes into a consolidated form. This not only makes you look at the material another time, but also gives you a compact study guide to read over as much as you can.

Remember there is no substitution for rest. If it comes down to getting a good night of sleep or cramming, take the sleep. While you sleep, your brain continues to review information you introduced to it before you hit the sack. A solid 8 hours of sleep will do wonders for retaining information as well as help with test taking stamina.

To recap, read the book aloud and highlight, transcribe your book and class notes into a solid study guide, and try to get some sleep. Endurance is the name of the game, if you put in the work through out the trimester, studying for midterms and finals is extremely manageable. Don't let the exams stress you out, prepare as best you can, go into the exam confident and relaxed and you'll do fine.

I hope this helps settle some test taking anxieties out there. After finals are over there's a two-week break waiting for you, so let that be some of your motivation. Once you hit clinic and your number of tests drop, you'll have some free time on the weekends to finally have a social life again.

2012-07-31_Domino Beach

This past weekend was 2 of my best friends' birthdays, so we celebrated on the beach. Family and friends got together for some beach soccer, domino tournament, and a few drinks to top it all off. It was a killer weekend, and I feel like I need another weekend to recover from this last one. Study hard; there is a light at the end of tunnel.

Catch ya later,

Happy 4th

Hello, everyone. The office in our clinic was eerily quiet this morning. Everyone seems to be still waking up from his or her 4th of July holiday, and I'm definitely one of them. It's a tradition here in Florida to hit the beach on the 4th, and far be it from me to break a tradition. Tuesday night my buddies and I took off to The Friendly Tavern on Reddington Beach to sing some karaoke with the beach locals, and on Wednesday, we fried on the beach the majority of the day. I wasn't finished with the beach, so my buds and I went back out Friday after work and stayed out till Sunday morning. Fun in the sun will definitely take it out of you, but it's important to have some time to unwind and clear your mind every now and again so not to get burnt (pun intended) out.

Sand Key Beach

Starting at National

I always get a kick out of receiving emails from prospective and current students about what's concerning them, or what they're taking from the blog, plus it gives me a direction to follow. After all, this blog is for you guys. 

This past week a prospective student sent me a killer email asking what he could expect when starting at National, how he could prepare, and how he could be sure that he and his future classmates would be eventually ready for the next step of their education. I wrote the student back, and today I'd like to paraphrase what we discussed, just in case anyone else out there has the similar question.

In my opinion, preparing for this program is more of a mental game than anything else. Too often I see students enter this program with the mentality that they are still in undergraduate. Please realize that you will be entering a doctorate program equivalent to med school and quite a bit of work and responsibility will follow. I made this mistake myself my first trimester, and I had to work twice as hard in subsequent trimesters to make up for it. So please, learn from my mistake in this regard, and work hard from the beginning. Aside from being mentally prepared for this program, I think the next best thing to do to prepare for Trimester 1 is to review basic anatomy, as it will be a large part of your 1st year and provides a solid base for further topics.

Fellow classmate Sue studying.

The first year or phase at National is dedicated solely to basic sciences. I still don't understand why it's called "basic" sciences--microbiology, biochemistry and pathology are anything but basic--but anyway. This is done to ensure that each student is well versed in the framework of being a physician, and so that in the second phase of your education, a clinical thought process can be applied to this foundation. I know this can sound pretty intimidating, but in actuality it is very doable. Everyone here at NUHS wants you to do well, and the school takes a ton of steps to ensure that.

The Florida campus currently has a 20-student cap on its class sizes, which ensures a unique almost 1-on-1 learning environment. In addition to the smaller class sizes, there are peer tutors available (I'm your guy for radiology, shameless plug), professor office hours, and open lab times for practice. The key to having a successful education here is to allocate enough time to study every day, keep current with the material, and like what you are doing.

There will be a ton of work ahead of you, and there should be. With the title "doctor," comes a lot of prestige and even more responsibility and it's our duty to be prepared for whatever is thrown in front of us. The workload has chilled out quite a bit since making it to clinic, and looking back on it, I would do it all over again. When that first patient thanks you for helping them, it makes all those hours in the library in front of books and notes worth it.

I hope this entry was more inspiring than intimidating and sheds some light on what to expect when entering NUHS. It's not all work; there is definitely time to play also. I'll be the first to tell you that. I hope everyone has a great week.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Gasparilla Music Festival and The King's Speech

Hello, and welcome back. Hope everyone's weekend was as enjoyable and productive as mine. Not to brag, but I had a killer weekend.


The first three months of the year in Tampa are a pretty crazy time. The last weekend of January marks the anniversary of Jose Gaspar invading Tampa Bay Harbor, when we celebrate the Gasparilla Day Parade. February brings the Gasparilla Night Parade through historic Ybor City, and finally in March is the Gasparilla Distance Classic, and the newly formed, Gasparilla Music Festival. 

I know the Lombard campus can enjoy music festivals year-round in Chicago, so the news of a music festival may not strike up the same amount of excitement as it does down here. This was the first music festival of this size ever in Tampa. A few friends and I started the morning off with some breakfast on near-by Davis Island, and then took the water taxi down the Hillsborough River to the middle of downtown Tampa to enjoy the festivities.


There were three stages with live music being played from 11am until 11pm with the aesthetic back drop of downtown Tampa skyscrapers, the Hillsborough River, and the University of Tampa. The sunny day, cool breeze, food trucks, and beer tents added to the awesomeness of the day. The day ended with taking the water taxi back to Davis Island and parting ways. Then came Sunday morning, and an entire day (9am to 6pm!!) of studying for Boards. What a way to bring it back to reality!

This past Wednesday, the St. Pete chapter of Motion Palpation Club hosted the current president of MPI, Dr. Mark King, who gave a presentation on practice success.

Dr. King, me and Dustin Bledsoe (Motion Palpation Club president)

Dr. King has one of the most successful chiropractic practices in the country, based out of Cincinnati, and he took time out of his extremely busy schedule to stop by and share some of his knowledge with us.

The most important piece of information I took from the presentation was "confidence breeds success." I couldn't agree more with Dr. King. Confidence portrays knowledge to your patients and colleagues. The question then becomes, how to exude confidence? To exude confidence to others, you must believe that you know what you know. Dr. King reiterated several times that practice and becoming masterful at our profession is the best way to portray confidence. One must remember that there is a thin line between confidence and cockiness, and over-stepping that line could be disastrous. So in short--practice, practice, practice. Remember what Malcolm Gladwell said in his book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of performing a task to become a master of that task.

Thank you for reading this week's entry. I hope everyone's week flies by and is relatively stress free considering Boards are this weekend coming. Other student interns and I will be taking Part II, III, and PT Boards, so please wish us luck. For everyone else taking boards here and in Lombard, best of luck, and remember not to over-think the questions, and be confident of the knowledge you've accrued.

Go Noles!! ACC Champs!!


What is Chiropractic

Good morning, blog reading faithful. Hope everyone's week went well last week, and the weekend provided some downtime from all the midterms. I know around here students have been scrambling to get in any last minute studying they can. Cramming doesn't always work in the long haul, and I'm not endorsing it, but it can help in the crunch.

A student approached me last week and asked how to find the time to study appropriately. The best answer I could give was to study every day. I know it's the absolute last thing you will feel like doing when you get home after a full day of lecture, but it's the best way to avoid that overwhelming feeling before a test. An hour of reviewing notes right when you get home will go a long way in understanding material and mentally storing that information.

Shelby studying outside the Annex building in between classes

So this past Saturday, I was out to dinner with some friends at the Refinery in Tampa (killer restaurant, by the way), and out of nowhere my pal Javi put me on the spot and asked what exactly is it that chiropractors do?

A few of my buddies' parents are MDs, Javi's dad is pediatric surgeon, and to them chiropractic is some monster living in the hillside handing out strokes to the scared townspeople. The question of what it is we do as chiropractic physicians will tend to come up quite a bit in networking circles and in practice, so one should be prepared to tackle it.

Getting back to the story at hand. There I was at the dinner table with 5 other of my friends staring at me and expecting me to enlighten them to what I've been doing with my life for the past 2 plus years. Luckily I had an answer for them (and I'm a good BSer).

"As chiropractors we use a lot of the same diagnostic tools as MDs to reach a diagnosis of what's ailing our patients, with an emphasis on approaching the patient as a whole, then treating the patient using a drug-free, hands-on approach." It was a short and sweet answer that I thought would suffice, but then came the question, "I thought you were just a back guy?"

Katie adjusting Guy

I don't about you, but I can't stand that statement, however it's a conception the majority of lay-people have about DCs. I answered, "Some chiros are solely 'back guys.' I think of myself as becoming a doctor who can treat any part of the body, but whose treatment, more often than not, can consist of spinal adjusting, but doesn't always need to." This was followed by some more questions, answers and scenarios, but the point is, I was prepared.

As chiropractors, we will be asked these questions, and we must be able to defend our profession in an educated and articulate manner. Have your own definition of chiropractic handy for patients, and another for networking with allopaths. It's inevitable that someone will try to stump you with this question; don't let them.

That should be enough story time for this week. I hope everyone has a great week, and it flies by. For everyone studying for boards on the horizon, don't stress yourself out; you'd be surprised how prepared you are even if you don't realize it. When in doubt, a beer (or 2) while studying tends to help.

Catch ya on the flip-side,

Midterm Routine

Hello, all. I hope everyone is surviving the onslaught of midterms that have been hurdled their way. I know we have seen a drop off in clinic appointments, last week and this week, for the students to fit in some last minute studying. These tests take a toll on everyone, so don't feel like you are the only one. 

Saturday, I was up bright and early with a cup of coffee, a banana and my Jurisprudence notes. My cheeks were planted in the chair at my desk from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday mornings working on midterm papers, presentations and studying. In this program, discipline is king, and it took me some time to train myself to sit in one spot for 4 hours straight staring at a computer screen or book. At the end of the day, you have to do, what you have to do; and if that means 8 hours a weekend of school work, you have to put your head down and barrel through it.

Study Break

The weekend wasn't all work. Of course, I had to play a little also. One of the perks of Florida weather is the outdoor festival. My grandparents and I hit the Spanish Fiesta Day Festival this weekend in Ybor City. The cigar factories of Cuba founded the city of Tampa when they were moved to the States to flee communism. The original city was Ybor City. Today, Ybor is a historical district with a ton of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Cuban-Americans, Spanish-Americans, and Italian-Americans started the area, and a couple times a year the city shuts down the main drag in Ybor and holds a festival to celebrate these heritages.

Dex -Ybor Street
Spanish Fiesta Day in Ybor

We walked up and down 7th Avenue, ducked in shops, ate entirely too much food, and I even twirled my grandmother around to some of the salsa music being played by the bands on the street. Later that afternoon, my grandparents headed back home and my pals met me for some dinner and bar crawling. The weekend ended back at my desk Sunday afternoon, but at least I had some fun in the sun to balance out all the schoolwork.

Dex -Ybor Concert
Concert at Spanish Fiesta Day in Ybor

Lesson Learned

I'd like to end up this week's post with a story of a mistake I made last week in clinic, so hopefully no one out there makes the same one. As we've all been told over and over again, patient consent is paramount before rendering treatment. 

I had finished up with my history, physical exam and review of findings with a new patient, and began my discussion on the risks and benefits of chiropractic care and the adjustment. I finished, what I thought was a good explanation, and the patient consented to care. What I had forgotten to include in my talk was what the patient should expect to hear/feel during and after the adjustment; this was made apparent after I adjusted my patient's cervical spine for the first time ever. The patient was startled to say the least, and immediately started to tear up. There was no discomfort with the adjustment, just shock after hearing the resounding cavitation. Needless to say our clinician, Dr. Heiser, wasn't too thrilled with me forgetting that bit of information from my informed consent speech. The patient was quickly set at ease after a conversation on the nature of the cavitation and the mechanism behind the associated audible release or "pop," and even showed back up this morning for continuing care.

Remember, when you do something right with a patient, they tend to go and tell a few people, but when you do something wrong with a patient, they tend to tell a whole lot more. We are in school to learn through our mistakes, but always try to do your best and make yourself, and the profession, look as good as possible. I hope everyone has a good week, and kills all their exams.

Catch ya later,