The 2018 Soze Media Music Awards (Part I)

Yeah, I know most of these lists are released before 2018 actually ends, but cut me some slack, I’m a busy med student.

All the major music journalism publications have released their lists of the best songs and albums of the year. But mainstream music journalism is pretentious garbage and in my opinion, my thoughts on music are all that matter and everyone else is wrong (I’m JOKING).

I’m going to go on the record and say that 2018 was a down year for music. While the year did deliver on some unforgettable hits, I felt that there was a major lack of top-to-bottom impressive albums. Even worse, the best albums of the year were largely ignored. All the big dogs in music journalism were trying so hard to be cool and hip by anointing average records as classics.  In fact, you won’t find the best album of the year (which I’ll get to) topping any of big name lists.

While the media latched on to lame corporate pop hits and the flannel-clad hipsters tried to act like every run of the mill indie artist was the next big thing, some truly incredible music was released this year if you knew where to look.

(Disclaimer: Please don’t take me too seriously)

Without further adieu, let’s say peace to 2018 and review the year’s music.


Miscellaneous Step 1 Tips

I’m halfway through my third year of med school. I’ve already completed family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics and internal medicine rotations (along with the shelf exams for each). Somehow, I’ve reached a realization that I never saw coming: I miss studying for Step 1. Yep, I said it.

While I have enjoyed third year (for the most part), I really dislike studying for shelf exams. Aside from UWorld, everyone recommends different resources. Online Med Ed is nice, but it makes me miss Boards and Beyond. You have to muster the energy to study after coming home from a long day at the hospital or clinic. And suddenly, residency applications and the match, which once seemed so distant, are now closing in faster than Troy Polamalu chasing down a ball carrier in his prime. The beast of Step 1 has been conquered, but a million other anxieties rear their ugly heads: away rotations, evaluations, letters of recommendation, and so on. In short, you no longer have one “big thing” to focus on, but rather a myriad of small things that you need to attend to.

I miss having that one big thing to focus on. I miss the process. I miss having complete control over my day-to-day routine. So, since I’ve been reminiscing on that journey, I’ve decided to finally publish this post (which I wrote like 5 months ago). Here you’ll find a collection of Step 1 advice that didn’t seem important enough for an entire post. I’ve sorted the advice through the following phases: first year, second year (pre-dedicated), dedicated, test day, and post-test.


How to Honor Your Surgery Rotation: 9 Rules

If you read my End Of Rotation Review of General Surgery (aka a synopsis of my experience), you know that I not only had an excellent educational experience, but I also made some friends along the way. Know that hospitals and institutions vary widely in culture – use any advice I give with extreme discretion. Have situational awareness. Stay out of the way. Don’t do anything stupid. Try to be helpful where you can. And have some fun.

Here are my 9 rules to honoring your general surgery rotation.


1. Be Kind and Respectful to Everyone

The most basic advice on this list, yet often overlooked. On your rotations, you’re not going to be remembered by the number of pimping questions you got right; you’ll be remembered by how you treated others and how you assimilated with the team. No one is below you. Not the nurses. Not the scrub techs. Not the orderlies. They’re all people the same as you.

So use those manners momma taught you. Smile and say good morning, even if you’re tired and don’t want to be there. Show up on Mondays and ask, “how was your weekend?” Simple stuff like that. When they realize you’re a genuine and kind person, they’ll look out for you. The scrub techs will make sure you get a good spot at the table. The nurses will help you in any way they can. The CRNAs/Anesthesiologists might even let you intubate. As a rule going forward, the better you treat others, the better your experience will be.



End of Rotation Review: General Surgery

So as I wrote in my previous, and first, entry to my “End of Rotation Review” series, family medicine was super chill (click here to read it). My attending was very empathetic to the med student experience and ensured that I had a good time during my month with him.

During my last week, he said to me, “are you ready to get your ass kicked by surgery next?” Most med students dread surgery as it’s notoriously known as an arduous, soul-crushing experience. Despite being pretty sure I wanted to go into a surgical field, I was a little bit intimidated. It’s natural. I had shadowed a handful of surgeons in the past few years but only scrubbed once before. As a first year med student fumbling my way through the foreign land of the operating room, I was kicked out of the procedure for breaking sterile field twice. Not my finest hour.

After showing up on my first day dark and early, I waited to meet the educational coordinator person (idk what her title is) who didn’t arrive until forty-five minutes after we had planned. After a brief tour of the O.R.’s, pre-op, PACU, endoscopy suites and all that jazz, I eventually arrived at my attending’s office, sat down and discussed the expectations for the rotation. “Do you know what you want to do yet?”, he asked.

As always, I like to keep my answer to this question relatively vague (i.e. if you’re on pediatrics, hate pediatrics, and would rather quit med school than pursue it as a career, you keep that to yourself and say you’re undecided but interested in what every specialty has to offer). However, it was surgery, and I want to do a surgical subspecialty. I am still remotely considering anesthesia as well. So I conveyed this to him.

He outlined the plan:

“So recently we’ve decided to start doing something different. You’re going to do whatever you want. You are not going to be tied to me or any other attending. You have the freedom to make this rotation yours. If you see something on the schedule that interests you, ask if you can scrub in. You pay so much money for every day you’re here and you have so little time to explore and figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.”

These were his terms. My grade would be determined by comments from surgeons, residents and other staff. As long as I logged enough bread & butter general surgery cases (lap choles, appy, hernias, etc) and worked hard, I was given full freedom to spend my time with whatever specialty, surgeon, and procedures caught my interest.

Again, I struck gold.


10 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Medical Student in Your Life

Do you have a friend, significant other, or family member in medical school? The holidays are right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to spoil the medical student in your life with some thoughtful gifts for all of their hard work. Tis the season.

I’m just like you. The holidays creep up on me faster than a final exam, and I’m consequently sent scurrying to find thoughtful & useful gifts at the last minute. Luckily, whether you’re an outsider looking for the perfect gift for someone traversing the gauntlet of medical school or another med student who wants to reward a friend for helping you out this semester, I’ve got you covered.

Forget medically-related gifts. Gift cards are useful, but lazy. Cash, love & affection are always nice, but if you want to surprise your medical student compadre with a thoughtful present, check out my picks:


Soze’s Fall Playlist (2018)

The two months (or whatever) of the autumn season is probably the only time in the calendar year I can say I’m actually not jealous of those who live in more stable climates.   I mean, just look at those colors – pumpkin orange, marigolds and bright red. It’s beautiful, man. Spooky season. Football and chili. Cozying up with a scary movie. Crisp weather and cool fashion. Ghastly decor and candy that we don’t need. Memories and music. Something about the fall is so introspective, nostalgia-inducing, and eerily atmospheric.

This aint your typica fall playlist full yawn-inducing acoustic indie songs tailored to the Pumpkin Spiced Latte crowd.   Certain songs, albums, and even particular sounds are associated with the crisp cool air of the autumn season.

Here’s a collection of my favorite songs that perfectly capture the fall atmosphere. (click the song titles for a link to each song)


Dogs, man

Another day at the office.

Snooze on the alarm clock as many times as you possibly can. Quick shower. Get dressed. Lace up the oxfords. Burn your tongue on cheap coffee. Fix your tie in the car mirror before walking in.

Another day at the office.

Say good morning to the staff. Make small talk with the attending physician. See some patients. Present them. Get asked, “well what do you think? What should we do?” Trepidly reply. Get it wrong. Feel stupid. Get the next one right. Feel smart. Here’s your cookie for the day.

Another day at the office.

Patient after patient. Well check. Med follow up. Ice and ibuprofen. Antibiotics. You’re fine. Refer to ortho. A day in the family med office. A fine-tuned machine with the health care tyrant’s corporate logo plastered on every wall, white coat, and welcome mat. The TVs in the waiting room no longer play the news; rather a 30-second loop of stale advertising from our overlords.

Lunch time is approaching. See patient in room three. Do the little half-hearted “doctor knock” on the door as you’re opening it. Goooood morning, I’m Jsoze and I’m a third year medical student. I’m just going to ask you a few questions and do a quick exam then we’ll get the real expert in here. Chuckle chuckle. What brings you in today?

She was in her late twenties. I think. Maybe thirty. She was dressed in fashionable clothing. Diamond ring on the left fourth digit. Though well put together, she appeared to have malaise. Perhaps she was ill. She said, I am depressed.

Then tears welled up in her eyes.


End of Rotation Review: Family Medicine

Third year began with the familiar anxiety that accompanies each transition in life. In my case, the transition from sitting in my apartment studying constantly to the clinical environment. It’s truly amazing how in the span of a few weeks away from medicine, you can go from feeling like you know so much during dedicated to feeling like a complete idiot when you show up on day one of your first rotation.

While I’m currently on surgery, I started with family medicine and I thought it’d be a good idea to write a little review of each rotation after completion. I’ll include comments about the rotation, my experience/strategy for studying for shelf exams, as well as memorable quotes and interactions (inspired by the “overheard on X rotation” posts on Reddit).


My Step 1 Experience: What I Did Wrong & What I’d Do Differently

Am I doing this right?

This was a question that I often asked myself while studying for Step 1. With so many different resources, study tools, and stories of success, it can be difficult and confusing to create your own plan. I ultimately reached my goal of scoring over a 250 on Step 1, but there were many doubts along the way.

(Click here to read my how I prepared for USMLE Step 1).

It took endless hours of planning, executing the plan, and spending many days & nights alone hovering over my computer focused on my goal. That said, there are many things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. Ultimately, that’s what all advice on this website is – a collection of knowledge and experience that I would have liked to know a year ago.

In my preparation, I did many things right, but I also did many things wrong. In this post, I’ll reflect on these aspects of my study strategy, and ultimately the year leading up to the big test.

Remember to shape your own plan as you go and modify accordingly. Don’t get resource overload. If you started using one Anki deck and like it, stick with it. Don’t stress about the newer, bigger edition that inevitably comes out while you’re studying. And don’t think you need to use every resource that others use.

Moving on, here’s what I felt I did wrong and what I’d do differently: