Engen Medical School Blog

Engen_Abby.jpgAbby Engen

Medical School:  University of Kentucky
Matriculated:       2013

October 19, 2013

Finished up anatomy a couple weeks ago, and now we’re in our Biochemistry and Genetics block. I’m missing the excitement of dissecting in anatomy now that we have 4 hours of straight lecture every day. I feel pretty good about Biochem and Genetics so far since I’ve taken both in undergrad. It’s a lot less intense studying like I was doing for anatomy, but there’s still tons of material. Taking genetics, biochem, and advanced cell bio at NMU really prepared me well for this block. Right now I’m just brushing up on the material, and learning a little more detail. I’m sure as we get further into the block the information will get a lot harder. We have our first exam in a week, so we’ll see how it goes!

Life outside of medical school is still great! After the anatomy block we had a short fall break, and it felt great to just relax and be a normal person for a bit. I also was able to get out to Baltimore to see my boyfriend. What’s great about the biochem/genetics block is that lectures are easy to just stream on your computer, so it makes my schedule a lot more flexible. The attendance at lectures definitely dropped quite a bit for our entire class once anatomy was over. Medical school is great because you do what works for you best—if you feel like you get more out of lectures when you stream them later in the day, you do it! I still go to class pretty regularly and then stream the lecture if I need to hear certain parts of the lecture again that I didn’t understand.

Feel free to get my contact information from Dr. Lucas if you have any questions about medical school or applying! I’d be happy to help!

September 4, 2013

I’m about half way through my anatomy block right now, and I’m alive and loving medical school! We have class 8am-12pm Monday through Friday, and 2 hours in the afternoon a couple times during the week for Intro to Clinical Medicine. The lectures are a mix of anatomy, embryology, histology, radiology, and clinical correlations. ICM is small group work where we learn how to interview patients, discuss ethics of medicine, and do some simulation activities. I can’t believe all the information that I’m learning right now, but it’s definitely nothing that I can’t handle. I think one of the most important things to figure out is just the best way to go about studying. There is a LOT of information, but we have plenty of time to study after class to get a good handle on it.  

Anatomy lab is amazing! At first I was a little hesitant, but it is so awesome to actually see everything right there in front of you rather than in a textbook. Holding the heart and lungs, and cutting into the kidney were probably the two best things so far! It also helps you really solidify everything what you’re learning in lecture because you can picture where everything is on the cadavers that you’ve looked at. I have anatomy lab about 3 times a week, and then I’ll go into lab twice outside of class for a couple hours to look at the rest of the bodies.

I had my first exam a little over a week ago, and I’m happy with how I did. Some really stupid mistakes, but everyone makes those every now and then! We had a 2 hour written exam from the anatomy, embryology, radiology, and histology from the first 3 weeks, and a 1 hour lab practical. They say we’re pass/fail (with 70% passing), but we’re not truly pass/fail because we still get our grades and we’re ranked at the end of the year unlike other pass/fail schools. That’s one of the things that I don’t really like that much about UKCOM because it adds a little more stress to the exams, but it’s also good because it makes you push yourself to do better the next time.

Another really cool thing we’ve done is teleconference a minimally invasive surgery where they repaired a hiatal hernia. I had never seen a surgery before, and it’s amazing what they can do inside the body without even opening the patient up. Later this week I’ll be doing a small group simulation lab where we’ll be learning intubation and resuscitation.

It’s a lot of work, but there’s still time to do things you love. I’ve been able to go to the local ice rink, go out with friends on the weekend, and visit my boyfriend over Labor Day weekend. It’s all about knowing how to manage your time and know when the right time is to relax and enjoy yourself. For those of you who are going through the application process right now and waiting to hear back from schools, just know that all the stress and hard work is sooo extremely worth it to get in!