How to Pack Your Bag – Item # 3

November 28, 2011


*The 4th week of every month,  1st year medical student KeAndrea Titer writes about one of the items that are essential to pack in your bag as you journey  to / through professional school.  Check out her September and October posts.*


The Journey to Medical School: How to Pack Your Bag
Item #3: Attitude of Contentment
I remember the day I got my first acceptance letter to medical school.  Others I knew had already heard back from that particular school  and I semi-patiently waited for the email alerting me that a decision had been made. I was concerned about receiving the “Second Round” of decisions for I thought surely that meant my application and acceptance had been denied. Well, Judgment Day had arrived. I opened up the email, prayed for God’s will to be done, and EAGERLY typed in my password and user name to see what decision had been made. After only reading “Congratulations!” I burst into tears. I cried like a baby for several moments. I was SOOO happy at that moment for it was as if  light from heaven had just shone on me. God had answered my prayers and I thanked Him for His goodness and mercy toward me.
It was easy to be happy in those moments; moments when I saw God’s plan for my life unfolding in front of me. The difficulty came in maintaining a spirit of contentment when it seemed as though God was not listening to my prayers. I would constantly express to God the woes I experienced during the application and waiting processes. I could very easily grumble about the tedious secondary application essays and rejection letters received. I was an ungrateful mess!  I soon became so fed up with my complaints that I decided to just be content despite the adverse situations and requirements I faced.  I packed my medical school bag with an attitude of contentment, knowing that I would need to use it daily.
I wasn’t quite sure how to truly be content; for to me contentment was synonymous to happiness. And I knew waiting to hear back from a school was not what I would consider a happy time! I searched the scriptures and found an attitude-changing verse. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12, he has “…learned the secret of being content in any and every situation; whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” He concludes with this well-known verse found in verse 13, “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!” These verses helped to change my attitude about the application process. I discovered that God would give me the strength to finish those essays, wait patiently for a response from a school, deal with the rejections, and most importantly learn how to be content with my circumstances daily.
 Now as a medical student, an attitude of contentment is an item I frequently pull out of medical school bag. During this roller coaster ride called medical school, I have had plenty of high and low days. There are days when I recognize God’s hand in piecing the concepts together and allowing me to retain difficult information. Then, there are days when I am completely lost in class and can’t seem to focus enough to accomplish 30min of productive studying. Through it all, I have come to hold on to Paul’s words in Philippians 4. God continually gives me the strength daily to handle the joyous and disheartening events in my life. He can and is willing to do the same for you if you only let Him. Will you?
 May God bless and keep you, as I know He will, and grant you an attitude of contentment despite the circumstances you face.
Look out for the next item to be discussed soon. I wish you all the best 
~ KeAndrea “Kiki” Titer

The Bar Has Been Raised

November 15, 2011

Considering  professional school??

Well, it may be time to step your game up, as more and more qualified students are submitting applications for medical school (and the same is likely to be true for pharmacy and dental school). During this past application season, the AAMC reported a 2.6% increase in the number of first time applicants.  With them, these applicants brought a higher average MCAT score (29) and  higher average GPA (3.5)  Keep in mind, that these numbers refer to APPLICANTS, not ACCEPTED students, which basically means stiffer competition when decision making time comes around.  There are still far fewer seats in medical school classes than there are applicants. <—understatement of the year.

This post isn’t meant to scare or intimidate you; its to motivate you – to keep improving, keep being better, and keep pushing forward towards achieving your dream!   The plans God has in place to prosper you can’t be retracted, but it is your responsibility to do your part to live out those plans.

If you need tips, advice, or just a little motivation as your prepare for professional school, don’t hesitate to drop us a line and let us know how we can help.  You can leave us a comment after this post, or write on our facebook wall.


Hooray!!! Over 1000 views!!!!

November 8, 2011

So, for the past week, as my mind has been fried and ready for vacation, my current distraction has been trolling the stats for the HealthOU blogsite.  🙂  Last week I checked and there were almost 900 views, and now, rather than read about listeriosis for tomorrow I checked and ….(drum roll please) 1008!!!  And in just over 2 months! I’m so excited even more than I thought I would be.  This project is a “baby” of mine and I am thankful to have an audience that appreciates or at least reads the posts.  My hope is that I will be given the appropriate platform to advise and mentor motivated pre-professional students and that I’ll do an effective job.

Until then, please continue to check out our posts and please please please let us know if there’s anything you wanna know more about or how HealthOU can help you specifically on your journey to success.  Also, special thanks and appreciation to Natacha Pierre and KeAndrea Titer who blog once a month and bring their personal perspectives to the project.

Thanks and happy reading  (now back to work, to keep bringing you valuable info, and reading about listeria somewhere in there)


10,000 Hours to Greatness

November 6, 2011

“Do not be wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3: 7-8

They say it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to master anything.  That’s about 417 days, assuming one practices 24/7.  Assuming not, then it’s about 2 years worth of practicing diligently.

Maybe that’s why medical school is divided into two parts that are 2 years each.

1st two years: Basic Sciences.  2nd two years: Clinical rotations.

So far, I’ve completed the gruesome first two years, and I’m sure that I’ve logged in at least 10,000 hours of poring over books, notes, PowerPoint’s, wiki, pubmed, etc.

My $300 office chair was completely peeled at the arms and seat by the time basic sciences were over.

I went through at least 3 or 4 sets of pens, mechanical pencils and highlighters.

I replaced the light bulb on my desk lamp twice.

I went through two laptops and filled up two mega-external hard drives and a few flash drives to boot.

Sleeping an average of 4-5 hours was par for the course, and therefore I couldn’t live without my “Clear Eyes.”

My body was so used to facing anxiety every 3 weeks for block exams that the constant pounding of my heart and my sweaty palms has grown to become soothing…a part of me, so to speak.

The separation between my family and friends became more than geographical and my lack of a social life was palpable.

And holidays? A moot point.

In short, welcome to medical school.

And yet, although I’ll never want to go through this again…I served my time, quite literally…I definitely know that every second was worth it, because now, after 10,000 hours, I’ve become an expert…at STUDYING!!

Last month, I briefly mentioned in anecdote about witnessing colleagues, and even some friends being dismissed from the medical program because of one failure too many.  The reason is never simple, and it varies as widely as the type of students that get dismissed.  It has NOTHING to do with intelligence or aptitude.  Medical school is not for the geniuses of the world.  It’s for the tenacious souls of the world.

And yet, some very tenacious souls get dismissed anyway.

One thread I find that links it all is their study habits.  Not the amount of hours they spend studying, but the quality of studying that is done in each hour.  And hence, that is where I focused my advice giving when my friends came to me for help.

This month’s post isn’t about listing the best ways to study.  Not only is that information readily available on the web to tailor the type of learner you are, but more so, it is a de facto trial-and-error…for EACH class.

Rather, I would like to encourage you to ask God to reveal to you that most efficient way TO study.  It makes the difference between landing on that moon, star, or somebody’s roof.  It makes the difference between retention for the exam or retention for your future patients. It matters!

If you’re going to be logging in thousands and thousands of hours doing anything, don’t you want to be sure you’re doing it as efficiently as possible?

It is a gruesome process and can be very frustrating, and you may get burned-out every couple months or so.  However, your discipline will pay off… for STEP 1 and more importantly, for the wards.  And even more importantly still, for God’s glory.

Hyacinth Norris commented on my last post and said these words which I whole heartily agree with: “By merely passing, to whom are you giving glory?”

Good luck on your journey to GREATNESS.

~~If you have trouble coming up with a good study plan for school, send me a message and I’ll be glad to help.~~


Got plans for the summer?

November 3, 2011


The application season for the Summer Medical/ Dental Education Program recently opened  on November 1.  The SMDEP  program is an amazing FREE program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 1988.   It was previously known as the Minority Medical Education Program (MMEP).  It’s an intensive 6 week medical school preparatory program offered at 12 sites all over the US – from Washington D.C .to Washington State. It was created in an attempt to increase the number of highly qualified medical school applicants from minority groups that were underrepresented in medicine—primarily African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians.  Over the years, the program has broadened its initial focus on specific minority groups to include students who were from rural areas, economically disadvantaged, and came from groups that have historically received substandard health care regardless of their racial or ethnic background.

Program Features

  • exposure to clinical settings
  • academic enrichment ( classes in basic anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, medical writing, math)
  • one on one meeting with academic deans for career counsellin and development
  • mock interviews
  • seminars on strategies for successful application to medical / dental school 
  • great friendships and networking opportunities 🙂  ( This is my personal one.  I was lucky enough to do this program as a sophomore and  definitely enjoyed the experience.  It was comforting and motivating to be around a group of focused people with similar goals and interests, and today I’m lucky to still be in contact and have a good relationship with my roommates from the program – who are now an Ob/Gyn resident in Houston and a dentist in New York)

Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible for SMDEP, an applicant must:

  • be currently enrolled as a freshman or sophomore in college;
  • have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5;
  • be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa; and
  • not have previously participated in SMDEP.

To see other factors that are considered in the admissions process and to apply, please visit:

 The APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MARCH 1, but applying early is encouraged as each SMDEP site makes its admissions decisions on a “first come, first served” basis, therefore applying as early as possible increases your chance of being selected at your designated program site(s).  

Have a  great weekend, be sure to take some time to check out the SMDEP program and start thinking of your plans for the summer.  Lots of program applications open around this time of year.  A list of summer programs is in the works.