John_Schimek.jpgJohn Schimek

Medical School:  Johns Hopkins
Matriculated:  2013

October 1, 2013

Anatomy is over! It was so amazing to be able to dissect a human being, and I’m excited for the memorial service coming up to say thank you to all of them. It’s very strange that it’s over now though. You get used to going in and dissecting everyday so you think that is what the life of a medical student is, but now I have a lot more time on my hands. It feels a lot like undergraduate work now, but we also have a class to learn the physical exam, and that is a lot of fun. So far we’ve learned the musculoskeletal exam, neuro exam, pulmonary exam, and the head and neck exam. So far we’ve only practiced the exams on each other or on standardized patients, but pretty soon we’ll be getting into the hospital and doing them on real patients.

                Like I said last time, life doesn’t have to be on hold while in medical school. This last weekend in particular my girlfriend was visiting and we went to a Packers-Ravens game here in Baltimore, ran my half marathon, and went to a concert (although you shouldn’t expect that every weekend of medical school). The material isn’t too crazy – Northern gave me a really good base of knowledge so all I’m really doing now is brushing up on things I knew before and going into a little more depth. The biggest thing I need to get used to is living in the city. I’m definitely missing the Marquette woods so get out there and enjoy them for me!

September 10, 2013:

I just finished my first anatomy test and I passed! Johns Hopkins is unranked pass/fail so as long as you get over 70% you’re fine. They even give you chances to remediate so most people call it a pass now/pass later system. It REALLY takes the stress out of everything and it doesn’t pay not to collaborate with your classmates. (If you’re looking at medical schools, seriously consider what grading system will serve you best.) Every morning we have an anatomy lecture that either covers the gross anatomy, application of that anatomy, or relevant embryology. Right after that we go to the cadaver lab which is such an amazing experience. You wish you could thank the person who was willing to donate their body to your medical education, because no matter how many atlases or illustrations you look at, the 3D arrangement of everything doesn’t sink in until you can literally hold it in your hands.

Once a week we also have Clinical Foundations of Medicine (CFM) which is our introduction into patient interviews and the physical exam which we do in small groups. Tomorrow I’ll be doing my first interview with a real outpatient so that’s really exciting! I just got my white coat (we won’t be doing our white coat ceremony until the end of the year, but we get ones for clinical experiences to tide us over until then) and wore it while shadowing in a pediatric oncology clinic, and you really feel like an imposter at first. I don’t feel any different than a few months ago and all of the sudden people recognize me as a medical professional in the hallways of a hospital which is when it really hit home – I’m going to be a doctor. It’s a great/scary feeling.

While it is a lot of work, you can still have a life while in medical school. I still go out on the weekends with friends and I’ve had my family and my girlfriend come visit me without feeling like I should be studying. I’m also training for a half marathon so as long as you can manage your time well, its not like you have to put your life on hold for medical school. I’m also participating in some extracurricular activities, like welcoming interviewees and I’m thinking about getting involved in some research. 

Another amazing thing about being here is the caliber of doctors that teach the lectures. Since I first came to Baltimore, I’ve had a lecture from the doctor that invented the defibrillator as well as the doctor that made important anatomical discoveries that revolutionized prostate surgeries to preserve nerves that are important for quality of life after the surgery. We also saw a doctor in the hallway that organized a 16 patient domino kidney transplant surgery. Not sure if any of this means anything to you guys, but its an understatement saying that this is an inspiring place to be. Its true that there is no such thing as a bad medical school, but when you’re applying don’t be afraid to shoot high because I can guarantee you I never would have thought I’d actually be here a year ago. I want to see another NMU grad come to Baltimore! Feel free to ask Dr. Lucas for my email if you have any questions!