Top Ten Things That Have Helped Me Survive Psychiatry

Because honestly, psychiatry really doesn’t seem to be my thing (and I have nothing but respect for the people that take it on).

1. Tea
What I’m about to reveal may shock you: I have survived medical school on little to no caffeine.
I never even touched coffee or tea through first year. My maximum caffeine consumption was when I drank one iced french vanilla coffee each morning during intensive study period for Step 1. Since third year has started, I’ve had the occasional coffee here and there, but it wasn’t until I felt the beginnings of a cold that I began to truly appreciate tea. And now, “running the list” would not be the same without my morning tea.
2. Spaghetti Squash

Mmmmm!

I’m pretty much the ONLY medical student who managed to gain weight on OB/GYN and Pediatrics rotations. I blame “second breakfast,” a phenomenon in which a medical student eats at 4 AM upon awakening and is therefore ravenous by 9 AM. In an attempt to maintain a frame that fits into my dress clothes (because student loans simply do not cover new ones), I’ve taken to “eating healthy.” Nothing crazy or super specific, just less dessert and bread and more fruits and vegetables, including substituting the typical quick pasta meal with spaghetti squash. This week, I’m planning to make it with pesto. Win.
 
3. The New Normal
This new NBC comedy is basically the first show since Modern Family to make me laugh out loud. It’s about a gay couple, their surrogate mother, and her racist, homophobic grandmother. It’s absolutely hilarious (minus part of one episode in which the couple deals with getting insulted in public, which made me really want to hug my gay best friend).  I burned through all six episodes in a matter of two evenings, though had I started them earlier on the first evening, they wouldn’t have even lasted that long.
 
4. Apple picking. And copious apple consumption thereafter. 
Okay, so really, this one’s all about the apple cider donuts. It’s tied with “all things pumpkin” for “Highlight of Fall.”
 
5. Liver Rounds. 
I recently ran into some classmates on the opposite rotation schedule and was invited to join them for “Liver Rounds” on Fridays; basically the nerdy medical student version of Happy Hour. It’s been so nice to catch up with old friends, exchange stories from the ward, and collect advice on how to approach the ever-intimidating Medicine and Surgery blocks.
 
6. College Hockey.
In an NHL-lockout world, a hockey fan’s gotta take what she can gets.
 
7. Murder Mystery Birthday Parties.

Solving Murders at the Juice Joint!

I’ve had the honor of attending a string of birthday parties in the past couple weeks, but my favorite by far was a murder mystery party with friends from college. It was set in a 1920’s Speakeasy, and I got to dress up like a flapper and play the bold, catty cigarette girl and trade insults with my character’s arch-nemesis. I must admit, I failed at solving the crime (though I would argue it was due to some excellent framing on the part of the guilty party), but it was so much fun and so different from the standard house party.
 
8. Frozen Yogurt.

Pumpkin Pie Froyo with Graham Cracker, Cinnamon Pecans, and Coconut. SO. MUCH. WIN.

This is my indulgence among my “healthy eating,” partially because I absolutely love it, and partially because I typically use it as a means to catch up with one of my closest friends in my class. We’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what flavors are available and planning our trips to coincide with our favorites.
 
9. Great colleagues. 
I lucked out in that I have some awesome classmates on my rotation with me that help to keep me sane and help me to make the most of the rotation. My personal favorite moment, however, had to be on rounds one day when the attending was speaking in a hushed voice to the nurse, and “Call Me Maybe” was playing in the nurses’ station. Without a word, three of us started an impromptu dance party.
Okay, so maybe that story is a had-to-be-there moment, but it’s hands down the best moment I’ve ever had on rounds.
 
10. Amazing friends.
I’m so lucky to have the support of so many amazing people that make the insanities of medical school (and psychiatry rotation) bearable. This past week, I got to catch up with an old friend who I haven’t heard from in a year, my roommate’s birthday served as a reunion with my closest friends’ from school, and I got to spend time with several other friends from college.
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