IU School of Medicine IUSM Office of Admissions

Paul Andres Salazar

First Year Medical Student

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About Me IUSM Campus:
Indianapolis
Hometown:
Miami, Florida
PreMed Majors:
Biology & Biochemistry, Public Health
Little known fact about me:
Was personally invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to attend the White House Physicians Forum where I Met President Obama and Vice President Biden


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Paul Salazar


Aspire To Inspire

What Is Freedom? 6 Days of Sleep, Beach, and Cerveza!

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on July 19, 2016 @ 2:47 am

Vacation Time!

 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Freedom as the quality or state of being free, the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action….the exact way I felt post step 1! My girlfriend and had booked a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic! A much needed break after two years of medical school, a summer of CT Surgery Internship/research, and crazy USMLE Step 1 studying. This trip was amazing. Also, it was the first time my girlfriend Morgan and I took a trip together.

 Punta Cana

Overall, I have to say that by far the best part of this trip was sleeping hehehe. I had 6 straight days of sleeping at least 8 hours a day! I was amazed at how great a good night sleep felt, specially just being able to knock out and not have to worry about waking up to study. I think the last week of step studying I would have dreams of Step material and I often found myself waking up thinking about the material I had studied the night before. Hence, sleeping without worries was amazing!

Even more amazing however was visiting the DR. One of my hobbies is traveling and learning about different cultures and customs. Hence, taking a trip to this Island in the Caribbean was way too clutch! We stayed at an all inclusive resort which made it all even better: 24 hour access to delicious food, all you can drink, tons of excursion activities, and access to the beach all day everyday! In one of our crazy excursions, I got to milk a cow which took my back to my childhood days in Colombia. We also got to go horseback riding which I love. Growing up in Colombia, out family had horses, cattle, sheep and goats; I was usually the one who cared for the horses, specially the Paso Fino horses, which are a special breed of horses who have a special gate. I totally loved it! We went horseback riding through the mountains and coffee fields of Punta Cana, and later on went on an eco friendly tour visiting old country villages. It was amazing to see primitive villages, experience how a lot of the people live without internet, without cable, some without electricity. Nevertheless, everyone lived happy and in harmony, which to me, was a reminder that having a cell phone, having internet, cable, AC, and even a washer and dryer and all of the comfort in life doesn’t not necessarily equate into happiness.

True Freedom

Therefore, this trip meant a lot to me. Not only was I able to de-stress, enjoy the beach and eat at will, but I was also reminded of what is life, true freedom, and happiness in addition to being reminded of where I came from. This is why one of my biggest passions is traveling. I love the history, the culture, the customs, the people and the experience of living and seeing life…it makes everything seem a little bit better and worth fighting for!


The UMSLE Step 1 Experience…And Life Thereafter

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on @ 1:54 am
#USMLESTEP1

                            #USMLESTEP1

 

21 Days, 16 hours a day, 336 hours and 6000 practice questions later….I can say that I am officially done with Step 1 and MS-2. All in all, studying for this exam, and for MS-2 in general, was perhaps the hardest journey of my life. People always said that the hardest part in the process was getting into medical school…and oh boy are they wrong! I think staying in medical school and working hard, specially second year here at IUSM has been the most challenging journey in my life (and I have gone through a lot of stormy journeys lol).

Nonetheless, once exams were over May 12, I knew I only had 3 weeks to prepare for this exam. I had no idea what to do, I was totally freaking out because everyone always talked about how step 1 defines your life, your future aspirations, and will set you for your career ahead. Hence, the stress was too real. School did not help either. For one, I petition our school administration for an extension, I wanted to switch my vacation month which was last, with my first rotation, family medicine, so that I could have 3 extra weeks to prepared. Deep down I knew that standardized exams had always been challenging for me, I never had a problem passing, but I was never at the top percentile. Hence, I wanted to be able to prepare as much as possible, but administrators shut me down. They said that doing so would be considered favoritism since I was not failing anything and getting good grades in classes….what a bummer. Hence, I took to doing what I only know how to do best in life, work hard and sacrifice all.

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Every day nevertheless was a struggle. Fighting with my bed, pillows, and covers each morning was perhaps the hardest. I was getting about 6-7 hours of sleep on a daily basis but I felt like it was never enough. Each morning my body felt beaten, as if an 18 wheeler had ran me over….twice. I think there was a point halfway through the three weeks where I literally felt like I would not be able to wake up and keep going. It was then and there where I hung on to dear life, to my dreams of becoming a surgeon, a great physician, and reminding myself that no only was I caring the Salazar family on my shoulders, but the entire Hispanic/Latino community in America. On those mornings where i just couldn’t get up, these were the motivators I used, along with praying to God, texting my friends, family and girlfriend for moral support.

Another awesome thing I learned to do was to read motivational quotes each morning. Wether it was a bible verse or a quote my someone, I learned that doing so helped my morale. In effect, these quotes about hard work, motivation, and success pumped me up. I have learned that being positive, speaking positiveness into your life and into existence goes a long way. I think one of the hardest things for us as human beings is being able to re-new our mind. We always let a bad exam score, a bad grade, a bad situation, dictate how we feel long term, but if we learn from those feelings and experiences taking them with a grain of salt, we turn them into a positive.

Thus, this was my way of life for 21 days. Day in and day out, just kept the grind alive. I also have to give thanks to my wonderful girlfriend who would come and cook for me and made sure I took breaks every now and then. In addition, Mike, Andrew, and of course my mom and dad, were there for me. This is where I think having good friends and a great support system makes a huge difference. Sometimes you want to throw in the town, give up, and eff it all but having great friends, significant others and family makes a difference.

QBanks+++++

June 6, 2016, 830 AM….D-Day! I had slept 8 hours, woke up feeling great and ready to rock-n-roll. Most importantly, I think I was more excited to get this exam out of the way. Even though I would have liked more time to prepare, after 21 days I felt like the torture was too much and I was pumped to get it over with. After settling in, checking in and being directed to my exam station, it all began…the most dreaded 8 hour exam with 280 questions standing between me and an Island in the Caribbean. The exam itself went by pretty fast, in fact, I felt like time was just flying. I did 2 sections, took a break, another 2 sections, then lunch, another 2 sections, took a break, and finally the last section. I was amazed at how fast time went. During my practice exams I always had about 5-7 minutes to spare but in the real exam I was barely finishing without any time left to go back and review my marked questions which was a bummer. However, by the time 545pm rolled around I had finally finished. I was officially done, with mixed feelings: I felt overwhelmed, in distraught; I felt I knew a lot of the information yet I felt like I had done horrible…later I found out that all my classmates felt the same and I was relieved hehehe.

Overall, this was a crazy experience. From bringing to end, second year of medical school was hard. It required a lot of work, a lot of effort and sacrifice. We had 10 classmates drop out, 1 lost their life, and many others failed and will be repeating this coming up year. On top, preparing for Step 1 in 3 weeks was even harder. Nonetheless, I have to say hard work pays off. To me, as well as to many of us, nothing has ever come easy nor has it been given to us. Yet, working hard and fighting for your dreams and aspirations can and will take you a long way. Today I am 1/2 MD, but most importantly, I have grown as a person, as a human being, as a student, as a physician in training, as a brother, as a friend, as a son; and I have defeated the odds and nay sayers. God Bless America!

#WontStop#CantStop#AspireToInspire


The End of MS-2: 1/2 MD, Step 1, And The Loss of A Classmate

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on May 14, 2016 @ 6:09 pm

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Today is the day I finished my MS-2 year at IUSM. Im feeling shocked, amazed and burnt. Second year was by far the most challenging year of my medical school career, and indeed, of any school year I have ever had. After 59 exams, I have to say I am burnt out to the max. Most of my friends at other schools said second year was easier than their first year, but here at IU, second year was a make or break year. Since day 1 we were bombarded with tons of info, a lot of busy work, mandatory meetings, medical conferences, mandatory clinics, special training, projects, volunteer work, and a constant reminder about Step 1. Today I feel blessed and grateful that over the last 10 months I have been able to learn so much, overcome a lot of adversity and challenging situations.

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Overall, I have no words to describe this feeling after being done with my MS-2 year. Looking back I can only say that apart from hard work and sacrifices, having the support of my girlfriend and my friends here at IUSM got me through the journey. Unfortunately, this was not the case for one of our classmates who a month ago passed away. Medical school sure is overwhelming, and we are constantly reminded about the importance of constantly studying, preparing for exams, about the importance of Step 1, yet our profession seems to forget that we are also human beings who need physical and social support. Yes, we do have counselors and advisors but all they ever say is to keep pushing, to take a day off and look out for yourself. Nonetheless, as I read the news more and more now days, there is always a doctor/resident/medical student death happening across the country on a monthly basis and it breaks my heart. At times I wish I could have reached out more to my classmate, or have engaged her more in our outside of school activities and all, but I realize that it goes beyond on. We are in an atmosphere where we are constantly reminded that failure is not an option; we have been at the top of our class since undergrad but we fail to realize that in medical school we are with the best of the best.

I have sometimes found myself bummed out. I work hard, I sacrifice sleep, my family, my personal life, to devote myself to studying and being the best medical student I can be. However, sometimes my exam grades don’t show it. Most of my medical school career I have been a mid 80s to low 90s kid, which it isn’t bad, but it can sure bum anyone out when you give it your all and still don’t perform as good as you want. It is even worse when you score below 80 and you start comparing yourself to other who are doing better, and not only that, but you also have advisors and counselors constantly reminding you about the importance of grades etc. Hence, something I have learned is that I can’t listen to these people. Sometimes all advisors and counselors know is numbers and statistics. They also compare people based on numbers and not individuality or background and it is that what can drive a lot of students to end their lives. We are reminded on a daily basis the important of success and how failure is frowned upon and it is that pressure that some people can’t handle. Nevertheless I think this mentality and approach in our medical community is wrong. From my stand point of view, even though failure is not an option, it doesn’t mean you can’t fail or that you are doomed. To me, failure only provides someone with an opportunity for growth; failure provides you can opportunity to learn why it occurred, how you can do better, and most importantly, how can you use that circumstance to do better and not fail again.

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As most of you have read, I come from a different background. Some may call it being “disadvantaged” or as the AAMC calls it, I am “disadvantage and under represented minority”. Yes its true, and yes I have seen how i am challenged on a daily basis in my medical training: I have to study twice as hard as my peers, I need to look to outside resources to grasp a better understanding, and many times I seek help from my classmates or even from professors themselves. Yet, sometimes my grades don’t reflect the vast amount of handwork and sacrifice I put in. Thus, it sure can be disappointing and super stressful. Nevertheless, I have come to realize that grades nor numbers define who you are, specially in medical school. I have realized as stated before, I am among the top 2-3% of all undergrads, and specially here at IU, a lot of my classmates come from a lot of Ivy League schools and top undergrads across the country while I just come from Florida International University. So over the last couple of months, I have come to realize that none of these grades, or ratings or scores matter to me anymore. What truly matters is that I give all my effort, all my sacrifice, and most importantly, that I learn to be a great physician. One of my attending physician recently told me this, “Paul, when you doing a sternotomy to fix a tetralogy of Fallot, your patient doesn’t care whether you got a pass in Anatomy or a High Pass or Honors, what they care is that you know your Anatomy, that you have giving your everything to know and understand the pathophysiology of their case and that you have prepared more than enough that can trust you with heir lives”. It was then and there when I realize that nothing else matters more than giving your all to your education and being the best you can be without letting numbers or rankings or step scores define who you are.

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Last week during my final ICM trauma radiology lecture, one of the best professors I have have, Dr. Gunderman, told us that “the people who make a differences and discoveries to change medicine are not the ones who always get A’s, that just means they can regurgitate back facts from a book”, but that it is the people who are “devoted and work hard to really understand and want to make a difference” that impacts our medical society.

Thus, today, as an uprising MS-3, I am confident that I will not just make a good physician, but a great physician. I have worked so hard and sacrificed so much this past year and even though our school only gives us 3 weeks to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam, I will continue to work harder and sacrifice even more. No matter what the end result of my Step 1 will be, I will not let any number, any grade, or any comment by anyone define who I have become today. I am proud to be where I am at, and I know that i continuously feed my hunger for success and starve my fears.

Winston-Churchill-Quote

To all you guys who ever come across this post, my advice is to continue to work hard, never give up, brush off the negative comments, take things with a grain of salt, and never look bad! I know you mind can tell you to give up, that your tire, your body may feel like it can’t no more, you might be physically, emotionally, and mentally tire, but if you can believe and have faith in yourself, then the best is yet to come! In a few years from now, your hands will hold the life of another human being and that my friends is priceless!

 

PS:

For anyone interested in the epidemic of doctor, residents and med student suicide, Ive provided a great link below! Feel free to share #MakeADifference

http://www.idealmedicalcare.org/blog/how-to-graduate-medical-school-without-killing-yourself/


“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance”

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on March 5, 2016 @ 12:05 am

Perseverance = Success

 

As I approach the end of my second year of medical school, I must say that I have hit the burn out point in my medical school education. The past couple of months have been busy from sunrise to sunset, from the weekdays, to the weekends; it has been months filled with studying for classes 8am-5pm, clinics, volunteer work, research, and most importantly, Step 1 studying. I sometimes wish I could make a day have 36 hours instead of 24. Nonetheless, I keep finding ways to keep myself motivated, to keep going on this journey, and to keep making a difference. Yesterday, as I was looking for motivational words, I came across the post you guys see up above, and it reminded me of my past, present and future. It reminded me that this is a great year for me, for you (yes you!), and for all of us. I sat down for a minute watching sunset and reminiscing on the journey to where I am today.

Getting to this point has not been easy and along the bumpy jumpy journey, there were many times I wanted to give up on my dreams. Many people wish or hope to become doctors, engineers, artists, athletes, etc., but when the tough gets going, or when they hit a bump on the road, they want to call it quits. I for one learned this hard way. After graduating from grad school, I though taking the MCAT and applying to medical school as well as finding my dream job in public health would be easy. I thought, what the heck, I have masters degrees in business and health care policy/management, I can find a great paying job, afford to pay for an mcat prep course, apply to medical school, and get into a great school. Yet, a week later I found myself as newly grad school grad selling shoes at a mall, making minimum wage, and barely being able to pay my cell phone. As the day progressed, I couldn’t understand why, I, an educated man with college degrees could not find a job (it was during the recession of 2008-2010), couldn’t pay my bills, and couldn’t afford to even register for the MCAT.

I quickly became furious at life. I applied to more than 10 jobs on a daily basis, I went for interviews every other day, yet nothing. I quickly found myself depressed, mad, feeling like I was a failure. I just couldn’t understand the higher purpose that I know now. See, being a shoe sales man making minimum wage despite having college degrees, masters degrees and certificates was not a failure, indeed, it was my first attempt in learning. In effect, it was my first attempt in learning to be humble, it was my first attempt in learning to develop people and social skills, it was my first attempt in learning to deal with life, adversity, and persistence. I didn’t know it then, but as the day passed and I got calls from job interviewers saying “No” and “that’s the end”, I quickly learned that their no meant there was a greater, next opportunity ahead and that my effort should never die.

Never Give Up

I will not lie and say it was an easy process, there were a lot of tears, a lot of sleepless nights, and many thoughts that I would never reach my dream of entering medical school. Nonetheless, one of they key lessons I have learned is that every experience in life, whether for better or worse, has a life learning experience. For example, before medical school, i completed a masters degree and a post-abc program to enhance my medical science knowledge and clinical skills, yet despite interviewing at some medical schools, they said “No” to me. And let me tell you something, there is no uglier feeling than being told “No” to your dreams and having them crushed. You sit for a minute reflecting all the hard work, all the money and time spent, all the sacrifices, all the illusions and dreams, and they just simply come crushing down from two simple letters: “NO”. Nevertheless, I learned to embrace “no” as another chance at life, another chance at making things better and working harder, and as my next opportunity.

There was a reason why I did not get into medical school right out of undergrad. For one, I simply was not ready. I did not have to adequate studying skills, studying habits, the right mentality and attitude, despite believing I did. Going through all the ugly experiences before getting here have shaped me into who I am today. Not only that, but I was able to do many great things before coming here. Yeah, it was not easy, no one likes to wait for what they want, but every step along the way is just a simple preparation for triumph. If you ask a boxer why their fights are spaced out so far apart and why they need to train fight after fight, they will tell that they do so because their skills can always be polished, and because each giant is a different process before winning that belt. In my case, I was able to get a job as a health care risk manager where I was able to make a different in underserved communities. I was able to help my family financially for an entire year and ease their financial burden; Furthermore, I was able to help open two clinics in underserved communities of Miami; I was able to meet First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Bidden, and President Obama and discuss the healthcare disparities Latinos face in America; I was able to represent the voice of my people and make a difference for my community. Aside from that, I grew as a person. I learned to be a young business professional, I learned to communicate and express myself differently with the various ethnic and religious groups of our Country; Hence, today, I am able to communicate effectively and adequately with my patients. I learned the true meaning of sympathy and empathy which has helped become a better physician in training.

Be The Difference!

All in all, I can keep going about my experiences on and on and on, but that is not what I want. What I do want is to let you guys know that if you work hard and stay persistent, you will persevere. It is not easy, and many times the easy road will see like the path take ( I had the thought of just giving up and going to medical off shore cross my mind many times). However, know this, the easy path is always only a momentary fix to the problem, a problem which will only become greater down the road, i.e., getting into your dream residency in my case. Therefore, keep your head up! Brush off the negative comments, take in the constructive criticism, stay persistent, and above all, have faith in yourself!

The best….is yet to come!

 

 


“As Iron Sharpens Iron, So Does A Friend Sharpens A Friend”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — DrLuv on January 17, 2016 @ 6:23 pm
Friends For Life!

Friends For Life!

I once heard that true friends were made in hospital wards and in med school….and boy were they right! When I moved to Indy, I moved by myself; no family, no friends, a city where I did not know anything about and knew no one. In fact, I did not even know where the state of Indiana was. I had heard about IU Med but other than that I was a little scared about being alone in a city so far away from home. Nonetheless, I met these two guys, Micheal and Andrew, who I now consider to be my brothers from another mother hehe. We all met even before school started first year back in 2014 (geesh that sound’s like it was yesterday and it has already been almost two years). We volunteered at the annual volunteer day during the week of orientation and boom! We have been best friends since that day.

Andrew has been my study partner as well. Before medical school, I always used to study alone and did things alone, but once I got here, I knew things would be different. Medical school has been an interesting ordeal when it comes to studying and Andrew has been my motivator and partner in crime while Mike has been supporter and my to go person when I panic hehehe. Mike usually likes to study by himself but we constantly text each other every other to keep each other on track. Both of these guys are so smart and have been so helpful these past three semester that I feel so grateful God put them in my life. Apart from school, we usually have guy’s night out every now and then (when school actually gives us a break) where we go out, have a drink, discuss life in general, and have a good Cuban cigar. If not, yes you guess it, we can be found getting food and hitting a hookah house afterwards to kill the itis.

I truly feel blessed to have met these guys. Whenever I have felt lost and depress with school, they have jumped to help me renew my mind. When school has ben tough, both mentally and physically, these guys have been there for me and vice versa. I have learned that it is ok to feel overwhelmed, tired, depressed, lost etc., but what really matters is having great friends, or I should say more like family, to be there for you. For example, from my previous post you can probably tell I hated physiology and clinical neurology/neuroscience because they have been just loaded with lectures and the concepts have been hard. Nonetheless, having these guys to push me, motivated me, encourage me, and study with me meant the world. Indeed, I can say I passed those courses because of their help.

Therefore, I can confidently say that as iron sharpens iron, so does a friend sharpens a friend. We will always have a situation when we will not be at our best or feel our best, but having the right people by your side can make a big difference. Bill Gates once said that you need to surround yourself with people who are like you, people with great goals, a great mind, and who push/inspire you to better and I am lucky I have found these guys. There is also a really great bible story about a paralytic man who is in a shed and happens to hear that Jesus was coming to his town. Nonetheless, even though he was encourage to go see Him, he quickly became discourage as he did not know how to get there. As he shared the story with his two friends, they decided to carry him to where Jesus was. But guess what? When they arrived, there was a multitude of people and there was no way they would could carry him in a shed…that was until one of them thought of an idea: they could carry him to the top of the roof, and then lower him in his shed to where Jesus. Long story short, they did it and the man was able to see Jesus and received his miracle.

Therefore, whether you are spiritual or not, the point of this story is having true friends. Here is a paralytic man who shared his dream/desire with his friends and whether they believed he could receive a miracle or not, they supported him, and they did the impossible to help him accomplish his dream. Hence, I encourage you today to sit back and see who your true friends really are. Are they there for you when you need them the most? Do they support your dreams and goals? Remember, a true friend accepts who you are, but also helps you become who you should be!


3/8 M.D.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on December 16, 2015 @ 2:33 am
#Hustle

#Hustle

After 4 long months of school, I am officially 3/8 M.D. The first half of second year has definitely been the hardest year of school of my entire academic life. Neuroscience/Clinical Neurology, Pharmacology, and Pathology were the headaches of this semester. I do have to admit that there were times when I felt like I could not do it, I felt I wanted to cry and give up; the enormous amount of information/lectures thrown at us on a daily basis was so immense that I felt like a fish without water. Nonetheless, this semester has taught me so much at different levels. I have learned to develop my studying skills, my studying habits, my clinical thinking, and above all, I have learn that you can always worker harder. Just when you think that there is no way you can work any harder, there is always a way to improve. I have also learned that it is ok to seek help. Being a male and coming from a Latino/Hispanic background, I was raised that as a man, you can do everything on your own. And although that might have worked before, medical school is at another level. I have learned to talk to my professors, to my friends, to the deans at IU, and most importantly, to physicians who have gone through the same rigorous training. See, seeking help and realizing that you cannot know it all and do it all is ok. One of the biggest mistakes people make is believing that the hardest part in this journey is just getting into medical school. But realistically, staying in medical school is harder. It takes a lot of work, a lot of dedication and a lot of sacrifice. It is a humbling processes as well as a journey of self discovery.

Therefore, wherever you find yourself in this moment, you have to believe in yourself, but you must also learn to seek help, advise or just even motivation. On the many nights I found myself in distress and worrying about learning so much material which seemed undoable, I reminded myself of why I am doing this, and why am I here. Furthermore, it was remembering all the nights of no sleep in undergrad and grad school, all those days when I didn’t to save money to pay for MCAT and my medical school applications, as well as all the sacrifices my parents have made to help me get here. It was remembering the days when I sold shoes at the mall for $7.25/hr, or when I worked with my dad as an electrician to be able to save money for this journey that helped me push through. Whenever I felt like giving up, those memories of hard work pushed me to give more of myself, to sacrifice sleep, family, friends, and life in general. Therefore, if you are reading this post and you find yourself in a circumstance where you think you just can’t do it, remind yourself of why you are doing this; remind yourself of the sacrifices made and the end goal in mind.

Today, looking back, I have no regrets. The sacrifices have been tough but in the end the feeling of accomplishment has no words to describe it. So for everyone out there, keep pushing, keep fighting the good fight and God will take care of the rest! Enjoy every moment of it and most importantly, love to do what you are doing. If you do things with love and try to understand everything you study instead of memorizing, you will find that studying and learning becomes enjoyable.

Hence, keep strong and fight on! Know that none of us are alone in the journey and that help is always there if you ask! Stay blessed and merry christmas!

 


“Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee”

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on November 17, 2015 @ 4:46 pm
#AspireToInspire

#AspireToInspire

Second round of exams has finally come and gone and boy was it painful. Everyone told us that it was downhill after first block but it sure was a lie haha. We did have less than 120 lectures to study but it was nonetheless a lot of material. I have come to the conclusion now that from here on forth it will never be downhill nor will it be easy. Coming into this second round of exams I was under pressure as my grades from first block were not the best. I felt defeated, lost, overwhelmed, and so un-motivated. Nonetheless, reflecting back in all the struggles and hurdles in my life, i knew that a storm is always momentarily and that when the night seems the darkest, it is because the sun is about to shine in your life. Hence, I did what only a great fighter can do, “float like a butterfly, [and] sting like a bee!”

Muhammad Ali, considered one of the greatest fighters of all time, once said, that “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is un-even”. Thus, I knew that if I wanted to over come my opponents, I needed to conquer fear and give it my all. The last weeks prior to exams I had no life. i literally studied about 19 hrs a day and during exam week, I was sleeping about 2-3 hrs per day. It sounds crazy as most advisors always say that you need rest, sleep, etc. but how can one rest and sleep in peace when you need to win a war? While the enemy is sleeping is when he is most vulnerable, hence I fought the good battle and in the end I came out victorious. I have gotten the best grades I have yet to get in my medical school career. I have learned to conquer fear, I have learned to fall and get back up on my own. I have learned that you can loose a battle but not the war.

My experience so far this year has been extraordinarily unique. Medical school has taught me to be strong, it has shown me my weakness and made vulnerable, yet in doing so, it has allowed me to polish these weakness and has made me stronger than ever. In this same manner, I do have to say that I cannot take full credit. I have had the best study partner, the best friend, and the best brother ever along my side. I have come to realize that your true best friends are made in the halls of medical school and in the wards. Whenever I have felt unmotivated, my friend Andrew has motivated me and pushed me to keep on forth. Hence, today I want to give a big shout out to him. If it wasn’t for his patience in tutoring me in neuroscience, I would not have been able to conquer it. I cannot emphasize how importance it is to have friends who are at your level or above, friends that can make you, shape you and elevate you. For as iron sharpens iron, so does a friend, sharpens a friend!


Finding Myself…Second Year Blues

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on October 17, 2015 @ 6:22 pm
#DreamToBelieve #BelieveToAchieve

#DreamToBelieve #BelieveToAchieve

Two months into second year….and I feel lost in this intense world. The first block of exams has come and gone and I find myself questioning my place in medical school, at IUSM, and questioning how people do it. During second year orientation we were told that second year was a touch and challenging year. Furthermore, we were told that the first block was going to be the most challenging block of the entire year….and boy were they right!

The first block of this year has been filled with non-stop lectures: neurology and neuroscience had 34 lectures, Pathology had 24 and about 8 lab sessions, Pharmacology had 24 lectures and 2 team based learning lectures, Intro to Clinical Medicine had about 12 Lectures, and we had about 8 Physical Diagnosis lectures and patient encounters. To top it off, IUSM added a new electronic health records class which made all worse. It all has felt like being in the midst of a category 4 tornado with no shelter and no where to run. Apart from being constantly bombarded with lectures and busy-work, the mandatory work has been intense. It literally has felt like IUSM set us up for failure; I feel like we never have time to actually study efficiently nor prepare for exams. Even when talking to professors and current MD’s teaching us, they acknowledge the intensity of the load work this block has had, but they still did not nothing about it.

Now as block 1 of exams has passed, I can truly say that I have no idea how I am supposed to become a great doctor. I constantly find myself questioning my capabilities to study, and to study effectively, as well as prepare for Step 1. I feel that no matter how much I attempt to study, the amount of material is overwhelming and too much to handle. Lately I have found myself questioning whether or not I belong here. I feel that I have learned so much yet I know nothing. As I look around however, many classmates seem no to be stressed and enjoying themselves while I feel miserable. All my life I have been used to succeeding in my academics, always being atop of my class in undergrad and in grad school, and now I am just barely surviving, barely hanging on as if not to drown, I feel like a bid in a cage, or better yet, as bird who has had their wings cut off and cannot fly.

I think what makes all even worse is that all the times I have attempted to seek help, all the help that has been given is not suitable for me. Talking to learning specialist has been non-helpful as the advice given is really un-realistic. Sometimes I wonder if they really take into account personal background and life experiences when they sit with you instead of regurgitating tips that have been written in books…but I guess that is out of the question.

As I reflect, I cannot help but think that there is a reason why Hispanics only make up 3% of medical school enrollment and African American make up 8%. Our various struggles, lack of opportunity and access to resources definitely contributes greatly to these numbers. Nevertheless, I refuse to use this as an excuse.I refuse to accept certain hurtles and gaps in my personal life, academics, and life experiences as an excuse to no succeed here, and as a future physician.

Today as I was doing laundry, one of my socks fell behind my washer machine. As I attempted to grab it with a broom stick, I happened to find my college degrees behind it. It was in that moment that I took a look and realized that anything is possible with hard work. As I looked at my BA and BS degrees I remember how my high school college counselor had told me that I shouldn’t apply to The U if I could not afford to pay for college. As I blew the dust from my masters degree, I remember how a counselor told me I wouldn’t get in into the MPH-MBA program. Better yet, re-reading my acceptance letter to IUSM reminded me how I proved wrong my Pre-Med advisor who once told me I did not have the profile of a traditional medical student and advice me to do something else with my life.

As a result, I have been reminded of how far hard work, dedication and most importantly determination, can take you in life. A new light of hope and energy has been lit in my life. I am now more eager than ever to work hard, or work harder I should say. I have never had anything handed to me easy, I have cried, I have lost, but at the end of the day I have been victorious and this new battle at hand will be no different.

Therefore, for anyone out there who finds themselves reading this post and questioning their place, their ability to succeed and come out victorious, just remember who you are. If many have done it before, if I have come along all this way, then there is no reason to doubt. Remember that one must dream to believe, and you must believe to achieve.

“Delight Yourself In The Lord, And He Will Give You The Desires of Your Heart.” ~ Psalms 37:4


American Association for Thoracic Surgery 2015 Summer Surgery Scholar

Filed under: Uncategorized — DrLuv on August 1, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

The Summer Intern Scholarship program in Cardiothoracic Surgery, funded and administered by the AATS Graham Foundation, was established in 2007 to introduce the field of cardiothoracic surgery to medical students in a North American medical school with the goal of broadening their educational experience by providing an opportunity to spend a summer working in an AATS member’s, cardiothoracic surgery department. As an AATS Scholar, I was given the opportunity to work under the mentorship of one of the world’s top leading Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Congenital Heart Surgeon, Dr. John W. Brown, the Harris B Shumacker Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine.

During my 12 week mentorship and training under Dr. Brown, I was educated in the basic anatomy and physiology of the majority of congenital cardiac lesions, and was able to learn the basis of surgical technical proficiency for common, uncomplicated congenital heart defects. Furthermore, Dr. Brown, along with other surgeons at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, introduced me to the essential operative skills required in the field of CT and CHD surgery, as well as allowed me to participate in all aspects of the assessment, management plan formulation, surgery and perioperative care of children and adults with complex congenital heart disease at Riley Children’s Hospital and Methodist Hospital at Indiana University School of Medicine.

This was truly an amazing experience for me. I got to be first assist in 12 surgeries and was second assist in 15 more. Overall, I got to be part of 27 congenital heart surgeries and I have to say this was making point of my life. Coming into medical school I knew I wanted to be a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, nonetheless, I did not know there were so many subspecialties in the field; subspecialties such as cardiovascular surgery, lung and heart transplant surgery, heart failure etc. However, after participating in pediatric and adult congenital heart surgery, I feel that this is what I would love to do for the rest of my life. Working wit kids was an amazing experience, it made all the horrible nightmares of anatomy, physiology and microbiology all worth it hehe.

As this summer comes to an end, I am truly thankful for being chosen as an AATS Summer Surgery Scholar and for being part of IUSM Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, In addition to working under the mentorship of Dr. John W. Brown.

Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgeon in the Making

Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgeon in the Making


The End of First Year…1/4 MD

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — DrLuv on June 29, 2015 @ 4:12 pm
1/4 M.D.

1/4 M.D.

So I have officially finished my first year of medical school. The last year went by so fast and so many things have happened that I cannot believe it’s been a year. This Spring semester was probably the hardest semester of my entire educational career, including graduate school. The amount of information and the intensity of the topics we learned this past semester were really challenging. In fact, mid-way through the semester I had the fear of not being able to make and failing. It is pretty ironic as I have always been a an of faith, a man of hard work and dedication, but this semester just tested my character and faith at a whole different level. There were many nights were I doubted myself, I doubted if I was really meant to be here, if I was meant to be a doctor, I doubted if I would be able to make through the semester and pass my classes. Furthermore, being alone here and away from family and friends just made it all even harder. I had no one to cry to, no one to give me a hug and some words of reassurance.

Nonetheless, I did not give up. I sacrificed my social life, I gave up on the gym, and worked twice as hard as most of my classmates. It was hard indeed, I always had worked hard before and had become used to being the best of my class in grad school and in undergrad, but being in med school is something else. I came to realize that my classmates all come from top colleges and Ivy League schools and that just meant I would have to work twice as hard in order to do great in my classes.

I also turned to my faith. I grew up Christian and it has been my faith that has kept me going through all my adversity. I re-assured myself that God had brought me here to IU, to Indianapolis, to represent my Latino community, my family, and myself. I was here to succeed and not to fail and thus my strength was renewed. I have realized that “As a man thinks, so he is”, thus I quickly learned that I had to re-new my mind day in and day out.

Now I can look back and see how much I have grown as a student, as a friend, as man of faith, and as human being. Medical school is a journey like no other and even though there will be ups and downs, I am blessed to be here, and I am ready for the challenge ahead.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11


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